A day in the life

I’ll try to do this all week… but we’ll see.  Work may trump blogging, but I’ll try.

A bit of background: I am a faculty-status academic librarian with the title Collection Development Coordinator and Technical Services Team Leader, at SUNY Potsdam in far upstate New York.  I am a year away from tenure, and so I have a series of responsibilities that take me outside the library, literally and figuratively, as I build a portfolio of accomplishments that will lead me to both promotion and tenure.  I coordinate the collection management project work of six faculty librarians, and I am on the supervisory team for five clerical employees in our Technical Services department.  My library is also closed for the summer due to construction, so I am working from home part of the time.

Today is Monday, which is a work-from-home day for me during our summer of construction. I got up, twirled my hair up into pigtail knots, put on shorts and a tshirt. (It’s hot.  Why get cute for the cats and the laptop?) Then I sorted the dirty laundry, folded the clean laundry, and started a new load while I put away the clean dishes, put water on for tea, and listened to an interesting NCPR story on using garbage for ethanol production.  (How many people actually do a lot of work before and after they go to work? I have a whole rant about work and life balance, and how the time we spend at work isn’t all the time we spend working, so we can’t use all our energy there… but that’d be a major digression.)  Then I watched a bit of TV news with my husband while I ate my cereal.  I was in my home office by nine.

  • 9-9:40: Checked email, voice mail, and online social sites.  Signed into Meebo.  Picked out my morning tunes (Sheryl Crow, The Globe Sessions). Replied to several campus colleagues via email re: lost books, staff schedule changes, and data requests from other campus offices.  Checked calendar, input personal appointments, checked staff in/out time for the week, and updated to-do lists for the week.  Returned a call to a local school district wanting a reference for a newly-minted MLS whose internship I had supervised.  Began this post.
  • 9:45: Began work on moving content from our subject pages from the current library website to LibGuides.  I started my first page — English — during our “everyone show up and let’s work on these together” session, and we seem, after two of those sessions, to all be on the same page.  That page is metaphorically entitled “Move the current content ASAP to accommodate the campus CMS change, make ’em perfect later”.  I need to finish moving the content from English, and then do Communication and Education, and check in with other reference colleagues who are helping out with Juvenile Literature and Business.
  • 10:00: Switched to Erasure, as I needed more energy given the scope of the links yet to be moved to LibGuides.
  • 10:35: Switch to Bend it Like Beckham soundtrack. I have started over twice on the box for links to online encyclopedias, but I think I’ve figured out how I want it to look/perform.  I also am utterly confident that I’ll be changing this sometime this semester.  Took five minute break to make weekend plans via IM with sister-in-law.
  • 10:50: Began IMing with colleague about lost-book replacement process, and using the staff wiki for procedure management.  Have finished building page/tab/box structure for all sections of English page; am beginning to endlessly populate lists with links.
  • 11:15: Continuing to make progress on linkdump. Switched to rap/R&B mix. Cats flee from office.
  • 11:40: Finish transferring links from first half of English page, as well as Encyclopedias page. Check in with Twitter and FriendFeed and email.  Replied to faculty requesting information on ordering books for fall semester, updated email distribution lists with new list of Department Chairs.
  • Noon: break for lunch and shower.  Ate lunch at desk while IMing with friend in TN wanting to know about a NY library association, then a bit of chatting.
  • 12:53: Finished lunch (black bean and corn burritos) while starting work (still on rap/R&B) on Faculty Senate tasks for fall.  I’m the incoming secretary, and so I needed to create new document templates for agendas, resolutions, sign-in sheets, etc, with the correct academic year and elected positions listed.  I also created blank minutes files for each meeting so that I can simply open the correct file and begin typing to record minutes at the meeting, and ensure some sort of consistent file naming convention.  Then I sent a follow-up email to the former secretary, and an email to the incoming chair, and made a note in my to-do list to check in on Wednesday re: getting editorial access to the website. In the midst, IMed with a coworker about some of the quirks of Meebo.
  • 2:00: Back to the English LibGuides page.
  • 3:15: Put IM to away and gather belongings to go to chiropractor appointment.
  • 4:10: Back to work (with Natalie Merchant, Ophelia, as soundtrack) on the English LibGuides page.  So… close…
  • 5:29: Natalie Merchant ends, and I realize I’ve put in another hour.  And I’ve mostly finished English, started mocking up Communication’s page, and now it’s past 5.  I checked my email one last time, read and revised a draft memo from my boss, read a reply from the faculty senate chair, and … I’m done.

So I hit ‘publish’.


  1. Your “day in the life of” posts and your long to-do lists with things crossed off posts make me feel tired and inadequate. They also motivate me to get moving on stuff that I’m procrastinating about.


  2. Aww, don’t feel inadequate. I promise I feel tired, too, all the time. And right now I’m just obsessed with GETTING STUFF DONE, because the semester is sort of looming around the next bend, and I’m feeling extremely far behind. So this is something of an abnormal week to chronicle, aside from all the other abnormalities of my current work environment!


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