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Advice for the New Systems Librarian – A Day in the Life

Daily business calendar

On this third installment of my series aimed at new systems librarians (if you missed the first two posts, you can read them here and here), I thought it would be fun to provide a “day in the life” of one of my days. (At this writing, I have been in my role as systems librarian for 18 months). It is the summer semester, so the library is a little quieter. A quieter library means more opportunity to tackle the big and small tasks.

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.: I settle into my office and check e-mails. I check my work e-mail and our systems e-mail. A database issue came up, and I am thankful someone pointed it out to me. Off-campus users could not access the database, so I test and confirm this is true, and then I contact the database vendor.

9:15 – 10:00 a.m.: I receive a call from a student looking for citation assistance (all librarians in my library provide reference). The call was quick, but I got the student’s e-mail and followed up with helpful links on how to cite sources. After the call, I make some minor edits to our website and troubleshoot a broken link issue in our catalog.

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.: The student I e-mailed has e-mailed me back, so I take a few minutes to respond to her e-mail.

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.: I manage my library’s social media presence. I take 15 minutes to check in and post anything relevant (Pro tip: If you manage social media, create an editorial calendar to keep content organized!).

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: We recently acquired new eBooks, so I do work in our knowledge base to link the books and test the links. (I do this in OCLC’s WorldShare Collection Manager.)

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Lunch!

12:30 – 1:00 p.m.: I am back to troubleshooting the database issue from earlier. I had yet to hear from the vendor, so I decide to do a little more exploring about the issue. Users could access the database on campus without issue, and it dawned on me to check out the admin side of the database to see if IP addresses were correct. I discovered that our off campus IP address was missing (How did that happen?!). I added the IP address, checked to see if access was restored, and it was! I take this win and contact the vendor to let them know what I did and to make sure the address does not go away again. (I periodically get confirmation from the IT department that all IP addresses are correct.)

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.: I return to my eBook linking project. The project also requires putting a note on each record to show the funding source for the books, which is why this project takes a little longer than I anticipate.

2:00 – 2:15 p.m.: I take a break to respond to e-mails that need attention.

2:15 – 3:00 p.m.: I continue my break from the eBook linking project, so I pivot to work on a training session I am hosting for our staff. At least once a year I host a session on common access issues and how to guide users through them. I also take the time to update our staff LibGuide of how to troubleshoot those issues.  

3:00 – 3:15 p.m.: I visit another department to discuss a collection development project I am working on. I am grateful I get the opportunity to do some collection development – it is a great way to build relationships with other faculty and administrators on campus.

3:15 – 4:00 p.m.: I do one more check of e-mails, check in on social media and schedule posts for later in the week, and I prepare for the next day.

No two days are alike. As a department of one, my responsibilities are many and varied. That is what I like about this position: There is plenty of variety and opportunity to learn new things.

Seasoned and novice systems librarians: What “hats” do you wear in your role?

Image: Business Calendar & Schedule by Steve Mueller is licensed under CC BY 2.0.