By Meredith Farkas | January 25, 2010
This week’s “days in the life” are very different from the ones I did back in July. In July, I was still in the midst of maternity leave and was working only half-time. I was taking care of a three-month-old child and often felt so overwhelmed by that responsibility that I was having trouble finding a work/life balance that preserved my sanity. Now, I really feel like I’ve found the right balance for my life and feel much more comfortable in my role as working mom.
On Mondays, I work from 1pm until 9:30pm as I have the evening reference shift. This was the first Monday that we’ve ever put Reed in daycare; until now, I’ve watched him until 12:30 and Adam had him the rest of the day. Losing a day of work-time just wasn’t working anymore for Adam, and with my Web 2.0 class starting tomorrow, I’m going to be a lot busier too. Reed is a very high-energy, social boy, so daycare really suits him and he’s always happy to be there. I went to visit Reed on my way to work and absolutely did not want to leave his daycare. I go through phases where I appreciate having productive adult time away from him and phases where I can’t stand not hugging him all day long. Lately I’ve been in the latter phase of mommyhood.
Since I took Friday off last week to spend my husband’s birthday with him, I came back to a mountain of emails. I first answered emails that I could get through quickly and flagged those that required more thoughtful attention. I’ve been bugging faculty in my liaison areas to request books for purchase and it’s finally paying off, so I passed a big bunch of paper and electronic acquisitions requests on to our Acquisitions Associate who orders books. There are certain programs still that aren’t purchasing much, and the way it’s set up in the School of Social Sciences, if psychology (or another department) doesn’t spend their money, the rest of the faculty in the other social science areas can spend it (as opposed to me spending it on psychology books). This worries me because I feel like we’re doing a poor job developing the collection in certain areas, but I can’t just take the reins on this when faculty have always controlled the book funds.
I then went next door and talked to the Distance Learning Librarian about a new online program being proposed by the school of graduate studies since we just received the proposal for it in our Inbox this weekend. We both question whether we can adequately support the program. I feel strongly that some programs should still be taught face-to-face because of the dearth of online resources in those areas. This is definitely one of them. We’ve been asked to create an estimate of how much it will cost for the library to support this program, and we know our figure will be far more than they will be willing to support. I wrote an email to the faculty member proposing the new online program asking for some clarifications on his proposal so that we can get a better idea about the program’s potential resource needs.
Went downstairs to talk to the Head of Digital Initiatives about some feedback I got from a faculty member on our WorldCat Local pilot project. We just started a pilot project using WorldCat Local as our default catalog search interface. I’m pretty curious to see how people respond to it.
I also talked to him about getting some quotes on the databases we think we’d need in order to be able to support the proposed online program. I then worked on a list of online databases to get quotes on for this new program (looked at Universities that have respected programs in this area for ideas). The list quickly became ridiculously large, so I will ask the professor proposing the program to narrow it down to what he thinks would be useful.
I took a look at new University Customer Service draft policy and saw how it compared to the reference guidelines we’re working on. Fortunately, they seem to complement each other quite well, and the University-wide policy gives me a few ideas for additions to our policy. Realized that we don’t have a signature file for our reference email account, which might be nice for providing info on the additional ways that students can get in contact with us and/or at what times we staff each. I email our Head of Reference about the idea.
Ate a quick dinner and checked my RSS feeds in Google Reader. Chatted with Adam on the phone for a few minutes and got sad when I heard Reed giggling in the background. I hate Mondays because by the time I come home, he’s already asleep.
Worked on slides for a brown-bag lunch presentation I’m giving tomorrow on using Drupal in education for the School of Graduate Studies. I’m not 100% sure if I’ll even use the slides or if I’ll just talk and show them my Drupal classroom live online – it really depends on the audience.
Got on the reference desk and signed into the reference email accounts and Meebo. Had a question at the desk from a student looking for historical map resources. Had trouble finding exactly what he was looking for, but gave him some suggestions that might prove fruitful. Realize that we don’t have many really good historic atlases and make a note to see what I might purchase in that area.
Answered a few basic questions during the next three hours, but it was really slow, which I hate since reference questions energize me. I spent most of the time finishing a blog post I’d started at home and going through a large pile of CHOICE Cards. I have a small liaison fund that I can spend and I try to focus my purchasing on areas that are underrepresented by faculty purchasing and/or are areas where I know students are doing a lot of research. As a result, I tend to wait until the last minute to spend a lot of my money since I don’t know which areas faculty are going to do purchasing in. I’m sure our Acquisitions Associate just loves me.
At 9:15, it’s nearly time to leave. Always sad to come home and not be able to give my little guy a hug, but I’ll probably end up hanging out with him at 1am when he decides he’s hungry. Ah, the life of a working mother!