Sunday, October 11, 2009

What is in My Librarian Tool Kit?

It is Sunday, a typical day of rest for most folks. But, I'm at work like many others working a service desk... The main thought of the blog post "What is in Your Librarian Tool Kit" by Jassmyn West got me thinking about mine. What follows are a few Sunday afternoon thoughts while at a service desk...
1) Patience.

Somedays, it is a lot of 'hand holding' such as helping people print documents. Today, it was how to change the font type, spacing, and sizing of text. The amount of traditional reference questions while on the face to face reference desk were limited to a book on costumes and the rules of basketball. There was also the inevitable: where is the bathroom and water fountain and several others...

2) Sense of What People Want.

It so much easier to help happy people, even when they are after something not easily findable. It is the grumpy ones that want "free money" and want it right now that are the challenge. Today, I was working with a patron helping her find info on halloween customes. Shortly into it, a second patron approached. I asked the second patron if he had quick question. This relatively quick two sentence conversation caused Patron one to retort. "That's not a quick question with a huff." I appologized and said I'll be with patron two in a few minutes... There is no way to keep everyone pracitically happy.

3) Sense of Understanding Information.

Thru practice, it takes me less to time formulate a search stragegy and find desired information or whether or not something is available. I would like to think it is an improved skill set of mine, but it also helps to have great resources available at my fingertips to draw upon.

4) Being Flexible.

Functionally, I spend more time on programs, outreach and giving talks then I did years ago and it is even approaching the time/intensity as one of my core work responsibilities. More outreach with less in-reach and staff development. My given priorities shift and change just like the goals of an organization. It pays to stay flexible. No one makes money as a buggy wip specialist any more or making card catalog cards on a large scale. Jobs change over time...

5) Applying What I Learn

Thank you Roy Tenant, Lorcan Dempsey, Stephen Abram, Jessamyn West and many others who blog about content taught at library conferences. Some of the most pracitical tips, tricks and tidbits come from talking shop with others around a meal about what is new in the library world at conferences. I'm so glad you guys take time to share your knowlege in blogs and other avenues....

Thankfully there are staff classes and occasionaly State Library training that comes to town. I'm having a blast learning about some open source library software and hope someday to develop a small home grown application I'm learning to write in a production environment. Lately, what I have been doing outside of work -- an exploratory library software project -- is keeping me challenged and inspired at work; and it has been a good sounding board by listening to the needs of people, and for me doing routine things like working service desks.