Week 4: A short one

So this is a short week for me.  In fact, it’s already over!  I’m heading to Orlando tomorrow to attend the ALA Annual Conference.  I’ll be attending as part of the Student to Staff program, which sends on student each from about 40 library schools nationwide to the annual conference.  I’ll be working with the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, or ALCTS, and attending events in my spare time.  Hopefully I’ll learn a lot and be able to bring some of what I’ve learned back to my job.

My week with the academic library wasn’t cut short, although it will be next week.  But this week I worked some more on cataloging.  I really think I’m getting the hang of it now.  The library just got in a bunch of books on business (the school will be adding a business major in the near future) so I’ve been cataloging those, mostly on my own.  I kind of like it.  Once you get in a rhythm, it’s pretty easy going and fairly enjoyable.  There were two books that could not be found in OCLC, meaning we would have to create an original catalog entry for them.  Becky went over original cataloging procedures with me and told me that we would work on them some more next week.

Jacqueline also sent me a PowerPoint presentation that she and Becky had been working on.  It was an orientation to the library’s psychology resources and is designed to help students in psychology classes with their research.  Jacqueline and Becky are going to record dialogue for it and post it online.  Jacqueline wanted me to look it over and revise it to incorporate a narrative about two students looking for resources.  I worked on that a good bit, and I think I managed to make some decent revisions.  It should turn out well.

I was only over at the public library for one day, so I didn’t have time to do a whole lot there.  There will obviously be no computer class this week, since I’ll be out of town.  I did do a little work on my class for next week, which focuses on internet and email basics.  I also started looking through the resources that I do have for appropriate reference books.  One of the books I ordered came in, so I looked through that a little, but I didn’t have time to do much.  I’ll really get into it next week.  Right now I’m focused on getting ready for the conference.  Maybe I’ll post about it if I have time.  If not, then you’ll know I was busy!

The first class and the end of the third week

Well, the rest of the week at the public library went about as smoothly as could be expected.  I did a good deal of preparing for the first computer class.  There was already a PowerPoint presentation that one of the previous interns had prepared, so I had a bit of a template to go by; I just had to make a few changes and adjust it how I saw fit.  I won’t be so lucky for the remaining classes though.  Those won’t have pre-made presentations; I’ll have to come up with them from scratch!  I still wanted to really make sure I had the presentation down, though.  If I’m going to teach people about computers, I have to make sure I know the material really well myself.

Aside from preparing for the class, I had to come up with a list of bibliographies to use for finding reference and nonfiction resources.  I mainly searched for sources that had recommended and core books for small or medium-sized rural libraries.  I found one good ebook that we had access to through GALILEO, and some more that we could easily order through PINES.  I don’t think I’ve talked about PINES yet, have I?  Well, allow me to do so!  PINES stands for Public Information Network for Electronic Services and it connects most of the library systems in Georgia.  Patrons can request any item from a PINES-connected library (which is most of them in the state) and have it delivered for free.  It’s really cool, and I was not aware that such a system existed.  I don’t know if there are other states that have similar systems or if Georgia is unique, but it’s certainly a great idea.  Anyway, I was able to order some books via PINES that should help me in selecting the materials.

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Ok, now on to the computer class!  I wasn’t sure exactly how many people to expect.  Only three had signed up, but the class could accommodate as many as ten, so I set up all ten computers just in case (you can see some of them in the picture above).  The computers are quite nice:  large HP laptops that I connected external keyboards and mice to, so they’d more closely resemble the desktops available in the library.  I figured the patrons could follow along with my presentation while also trying out different things on the computers.

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried about having too many people in the class, as only two showed up.  However, they seemed to get a lot out of the class, and I enjoyed teaching them.  The class lasted about an hour, which is pretty much how I’d planned it, so it worked out well.  The people that came to the class expressed interest in attending future classes, so that was good.  Maybe more people will show up for the future classes, but if they don’t, that’s ok.  I’ll do my best to teach the people that do come, and give them some good one-on-one interaction.

Third week’s the charm!

Ok, now I’ve started to settle into a bit of a routine.  I come in to the library in the morning, head back to my space at the reference desk, and see what Becky has for me to do.  Becky’s been great in helping me out with things.  A year ago she was actually in pretty much the exact position I am now.  She was an MLIS candidate at USM, just like I am, and was working in the exact same internship I am.  Now, a year later, she has a job as a librarian at South Georgia State.  It’s nice to see how internship experience can work for your career.  It’s also nice to have someone who knows exactly what I’m going through and can help me out.

We started off the week selecting art resources for inclusion in the library’s collection.  Apparently the library has the opportunity to obtain a number of free art books as part of a program, so Becky and I went through a list of them online and selected some that we thought would be appropriate for the library.  Some of them were pretty out there (as modern art can be), but we found some good ones.

I also started learning a new skill: cataloging!  Yolanda started showing me how to go about cataloging materials using OCLC Connexion and Voyager Cataloging software.  She printed out a handy little sheet telling me what to do, which was nice because I could never remember everything otherwise.  Some of the stuff she showed me I remembered from my cataloging class, but most of it was pretty new.  Really, the procedure is pretty simple.  When we get a new book, we find the correct edition in OCLC (the Online Computer Library Center) and import the MARC record to Voyager.  Then we make the necessary changes to adapt it to our library.  There are a lot of steps, though, and a lot of specific things that we have to do to properly catalog the item.  After learning these procedures Yolanda gave me three books to catalog.  I think I did ok, although there were a few things I messed up.  Nothing that couldn’t be quickly fixed, though.  I think I may actually end up enjoying cataloging once I get the hang of it.

Over at the public library I got to work on putting together my computer class.  The first one is just going to be on computer basics:  the parts of the computer, using a mouse and keyboard, opening and closing programs, etc.  Mark mentioned that a lot of the people who have come to these classes in the past have barely used computers before, so I might have my work cut out for me in explaining things to them.  I’m ok with that, though!  Computer literacy is a something that most people can’t afford not to have nowadays, so I’m happy to help them as much as I can.  I also came up with a schedule for the rest of the classes.  I’ll be touching on internet and email basics, social media, Microsoft Word, and including a practice lab for people to work on the skills they’ve learned in the classes.  I’ll also be repeating the computer basics class for anyone who missed it the first time.  I’m a bit nervous, but we’ll see how it goes!  It should be great experience if nothing else.

Learning the ropes at the public library

In what may be described as a “trial by fire,” I was thrust into duty at the public library this week.  I quickly learned that things are quite different at the public library than they are at the academic library.  Summer is the slowest time of year at the academic library because most of the students are gone.  Such is not the case at the public library!  Summer is probably their busiest season, with kids being off from school and summer reading activities in full effect.  I helped out a lot at the circulation desk, probably more than I normally would have because an employee had called out sick.  I learned a lot from Sandra and Paige, the two employees I stuck with most of the time.  The system wasn’t too difficult to learn; I had used a similar system in my years working at banks.  You look up a patron and all of their info comes up, including how many books they’ve checked out, any requests or holds they’ve placed, and whether or not they have outstanding fines.  I really just had to learn where to click to get to things.

Sandra showed me around and pointed out where everything went and what materials we had to lend out.  The library isn’t huge, but it’s not tiny either.  It’s got a nice children’s section that was pretty busy most of the time I was there.  There are also a good number of computers for patrons to use; those were quite popular.  Most of my time at the desk was spent either checking out books or ringing up patrons who needed to print (printing costs 20 cents per page).  I think I got a handle on things pretty quickly, although I kept forgetting to deactivate the security strips on the books.  Two or three times people had the alarm go off because I hadn’t “bumped” the books on the deactivation contraption.  They were nice about it, though.

On Friday I helped Paige shelve materials.  This gave me a good opportunity to see how the library was laid out.  The fiction section is divided into genres:  romance, thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi, etc.  The new books are kept separate for about a year after they’re released.  Everything seemed to be laid out pretty well.  I think I’d be able to find materials quite easily if I were a patron.

So, that concluded my first week at the public library and my second week overall.  Normally I would be teaching the technology class on Fridays, but I got the first week off to prepare.  We’ll see how that goes next week!

Week 2, and day 1 at the public library

I got my first taste of the circulation desk this week!  There is certainly a lot to learn.  I went over procedures for checking books in and out, doing interlibrary loans, and requesting materials through GIL Express, which is a service that allows all libraries in the University System of Georgia to efficiently share materials.  Yolanda, who I didn’t meet last week because she was out of town, helped me through everything.  It was a bit overwhelming, but I kind of enjoyed it.  The main challenge was learning where things are in the system and how to operate the software.  I learned how to use Voyager Circulation and OCLC WorldShare, which I’m sure will eventually come in handy.  I also learned something interesting about the library:  they are switching everything over to another system next year!  So, I’m learning how to use software that the library is actually going to stop using within the year.  Oh, well.  It won’t really affect me that much, though.  Yolanda and Jacqueline, on the other hand, are going to have to be doing a lot of work over the summer to learn how to use the new system and prepare for implementing it.

On Monday I helped Becky teach a library orientation class for a group of undergrads.  It was very similar to some of the classes I taught as a grad assistant at USM, so I was fairly comfortable with the material.  Most of the class was focused on showing the students how to find relevant research materials, do internet searches using Boolean operators, and evaluate sources.  I was still a little nervous just because it was a new class and I wasn’t 100% familiar with the presentation, but I think I did ok.  The students took a short quiz after the presentation and we compiled their answers on Tuesday.  It was a nice introduction to library instruction and evaluation.

I also started working on collection development a little bit.  Jacqueline eventually wants me to help in selecting resources for the library’s reference collection, but this week I just started choosing a few general resources from Choice magazines, a periodical that lists and rates academic library resources.  Jacqueline also had me look over a Web site for GRE prep.  I then began collecting resources related to grad school prep to potentially use in a new LibGuide.  I’m not sure if we’ll end up having enough to create a new LibGuide or if it will end up as part of an existing one, so we’ll see.

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On Wednesday I spent my morning at the academic library and then, after a break for lunch, headed over to the public library around 1:00.   There I met the director of the Douglas-Coffee County branch of the Satilla Regional Public Library System, Mark Cole.  We had spoken over the phone a couple of times, but this was the first time I had met him in person.  He laid out the things I would be doing at the public library over the summer.  My main tasks would be teaching a technology class to library patrons every Friday and selecting resources for inclusion in the library’s reference collection.  Mark mentioned that he was in the process of applying for a grant that would give the library $125,000 for new materials, some of which would be used to revamp the reference collection.  So, I had to select a number of bibliographies of reference materials and start looking.  That was most of what I did on Wednesday.  That, and take a quick tutorial and quiz on the Dewey Decimal System, which I didn’t have much trouble with.

It sounds like it will be a busy summer, but I am certainly looking forward to it!

Second day!

My first week on the job wasn’t very long:  only two days, since I got here Tuesday night and the library is closed on Fridays during the summer.  So, I figured it was appropriate to document my first two days, after which I will be switching to a two-a-week posting schedule (one recapping my work at the college, the other at the public library).

Anyway, I really started getting into stuff on Thursday.  I went over the library’s Web site and took a few library-related tutorials to help familiarize me with everything.  I also familiarized myself with GALILEO, which stands for Georgia Library Learning Online.  It’s a large online library that provides institutions with access to a number of scholarly databases and other online resources.  It’s very similar to MAGNOLIA in Mississippi and seems easy enough to use.  I also completed a research scavenger hunt, in which I had to find answers to different research questions using the library’s resources.  It wasn’t too difficult, thanks in part to the things I learned in my reference class at USM.  There was also a quick quiz on Library of Congress Classification, which I managed to do pretty well on.  Thanks again, USM education!

After getting through all of that, Jacqueline showed me a couple of assessments that she had done on the library.  They were in the form of answers to a questionnaire given to students and faculty regarding the library and its resources.  The first was regarding the library’s Biology resources and their ability to meet users’ needs.  The other one was about the library in general and its ability to meet the students’ needs with its environment, staff, and resources.  The library performed well in both assessments, but there were still issues that needed to be addressed.  A couple of new databases were added as a result of the Biology assessment, and some areas of the library were designated “quiet spaces” in response to some students’ complaints about noise in the other assessment.  It was nice to see how library assessment is conducted.

Overall, it was a busy and productive first week.  Based on how my first two days went, I can tell that I’m going to learn a lot this summer.

 

 

 

First day!

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Today was my first day working at the William S. Smith Library at South Georgia State College.  I was afraid that it might be a couple of days before I got to start working (it depended on how long it took to do my background check), but thankfully everything got taken care of and I was able to start the day after I got here.  Travel and move-in went quite smoothly as well, so I’m thankful for that.

Today mostly consisted of touring the library and going over some basic procedures.  The library is similar to other academic libraries I’ve been in before, although it is a good bit smaller.  South Georgia State only has an enrollment of about 2,600 students and is in the process of transitioning from a two-year institution to a four-year college.  Right now the only four-year degrees it offers are in nursing and biology, although it will be adding a business degree in the near future.  So, it makes sense that the library is small, but it seems to include everything the students should need.

As I am here during the Summer, the traffic should be quite low.  There are no students living on campus right now and only a few enrolled in Summer classes, so the library is not likely to be very busy while I’m here.  This is somewhat unfortunate, since I won’t be able to see things in full swing, but it is nice that I’ll have plenty of time to learn things and work on projects at a reasonable pace.  Right now I don’t exactly know what I’ll be working on during my time here, but I’m sure I’ll find out more in the next few days.

I was able to meet most of the staff of the library today, although not everyone was here.  I met Jacqueline Vickers, the Library Director, and Becky Bickford (a USM grad!), the Information Services Librarian.  They seem to be the ones I’ll be working with the most.  I also met Delectia, the Cataloging Assistant, and Charles and Haley, two assistants who work in the evening.  Everyone seems extremely friendly and I’m sure it will be a pleasure to work with them all.