Saturday, October 29, 2005

Today in reference

I worked the desk today. The librarians here use a sign-up sheet to divvy up the weekends; each of us usually ends up with two per quarter--not bad. During the week, we each work about four two-hour shifts and spend the rest of our time on the million other things we do. Working on the desk for eight hours is such a change of pace and is kind of refreshing. I have a lot of respect for public librarians, many of whom work eight hours of public service every day and do all their collection development and programming prep between patrons. And they have to be ready to answer just about any kind of question imaginable and be able to do reader's advisory. That's pretty impressive, both in terms of skills and stamina. Reference is physically and mentally exhausting and I don't know that I could do it all day, every day. I like the mix of public service, collaborating with colleagues, and working on my own. That's not to say that helping people isn't fun when I'm doing it, though. Here's a little taste of what people wanted to do today:

find statistics on which countries have highest number of scientists and engineers
crop and resize images
create PowerPoint presenation
find morbidity rates for children with severe illnesses and disabilities
format APA citations
double space text in MS Word
find origin of American folktales
find image of Barry Diller
distinguish between newspaper and journal articles
figure out what a database is
scan a photo
find copier/ATM/bathroom/printer/nearest coffee/etc
see when a file was created
find books on religion
read an LC call number
read online news in spanish
check out laptops
put a book on hold/renew books
make and publish a webpage
attach a document to an email message
find salary info on business executives
which nearby libraries own the print journal Columbia,
find course e-reserves
save documents to CD-R
empty (computer) recycle bin
make a hanging indent
find info on healthcare and ethnolinguistic communities
make a graph in Excel
find opposing viewpoints on United Nations peacekeeping missions

There were plenty of other requests, but I won't bore you with the details. It was a busy day that just flew by. Saturdays tend to be slower than Sundays, when we're open a little later in the evening. Midterms seem to have increased demand.

In work-related news, it looks like I'll start a new temporary job right as my current one ends. I'm in the middle of interviews and more applications for permanent position, so this should fill the gap nicely. More details when I have them.

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