By Meredith Farkas | July 26, 2011
I figured that since I’ve changed jobs from the last time I did Library Day in the Life, I’d participate this time around to give people a sense of what a Head of Instructional Services does at a large urban university. After writing this up, I realize that this day was no more typical for me than any other. Each week, each day, is so different from the next. I may be immersed in a project, immersed in meetings, immersed in teaching and training, etc. I’m not sure that I will (or want to) cover my entire week, but if I think it would be useful to people wondering about this kind of work, I will.
6:20-7:20: Woke up, ate breakfast, woke up my son, took a shower, packed my lunch and I and the munchkin headed to Portland.
7:40: took Reed to his school, had a quick bit of cuddle time and then drove in to work.
I didn’t have any meetings until noon, so I was in major GTD mode:
- Checked and responded to email
- Wrote a letter of recommendation for a former employee who is applying for ALA Emerging Leaders cohort. I can’t think of too many people better suited for a program like that.
- Worked on creating a position description for an instructional design/learning technologies/instructional technologies librarian. This is a position that I hope will be created, but it will require sacrificing a currently unfilled 1/2 time position from another unit and a big shift in plans, which I’m not sure will be possible. Still, my supervisor was open to the idea and suggested I create a description and he’d run it by the UL. Given the demand from the liaisons for the creation of online learning objects, this would be a huge boon for my unit. Fingers crossed!
- Worked on the draft of our library instruction program learning outcomes for the Outcomes Task Force meeting this afternoon.
- Spoke to Head of Public Services, Gen Ed Coordinator and Distance Learning Librarian about the position I want to create to see what thoughts they might have. Got some good talking points from the Gen Ed coordinator for why this position would be so valuable.
- Talked with Head of Public Services about the impact a possible AAUP strike would have on instructional services. Hopefully we’ll never need our strike plan, but it’s good to have one.
- Talked with the distance learning librarian about creating a prioritization process for learning object creation. Each librarian seems to want us to create learning objects, but our focus needs to be on those that are general (i.e. can be used by a larger pool of people) or will be embedded in a specific class or classes.
- Got an email from Megan Oakleaf about RAILS and looked into our institution participating. I’ve been wanting to do rubric assessment of information literacy using Freshman and Sophomore Inquiry portfolios, so this would be an ideal way to make that happen with the support of a noted expert in this area.
- Tried to figure out why sharing a Google Doc with a Google Group did not put the document into each group member’s Google Docs. Gave up and just shared it with each individual in the group.
- Talked with a colleague on the outcomes task force about the structure and format of outcomes
- Did a quick scan of my RSS feeds and marked as unread things I want to read when I actually have time.
- Ate a burrito and set up a meeting for next week with the new director of the Center for Online Learning and our distance learning librarian to discuss possible collaboration in the instructional design process. I couldn’t be more thrilled with who they hired for that position as he really has a strong desire to partner with the library at many different levels.
Noon – tenure track librarians meeting – we have a group of tenure track librarians who meet monthly to discuss issues related to tenure and support each other. I’ve only gone to four meetings so far, but I wish that there were tenured librarians who also attended. It’s hard to get advice when everyone is in the same boat; some might be further along, but none of us have received tenure yet.
1pm – Outcomes task force meeting – I’m leading a task force that is creating learning outcomes for the library’s instruction program. These outcomes will inform our instruction and assessment work and will give the entire instruction team something specific to work toward. We’re at that annoying place where we’ve done the brainstorming and now are just critiquing each other’s ideas and wordsmithing things. We all have very different viewpoints on outcomes, so there were a lot of disagreements, but we’re also a pretty reasonable group, so we resolved most of them.
2pm – Drop-in instruction task force meeting – the library has had a small and under-marketed program of voluntary general library instruction workshops (called drop-ins) for years that has been run by one librarian. Attendance has been poor and the program was so unsupported that the powers that be took his workshop calendar off the website last year! In my first week when I first heard about this program, I knew I wanted to revitalize it. We have a large population of distance learners, students taking hybrid classes, and students who simply don’t want to take a bus or pay for parking in order to attend a non-required library instruction session. I’m leading a team with 3 other librarians to bring the bulk of our classes online (through Elluminate), target the times that we offer sessions to the weeks when students receive their research assignments (weeks 3-5) and when they’re almost due (week 9), offer more classes on evenings and weekends, and market to faculty and support staff who work with at-risk students (advisers, the tutoring center, international student programs, etc.). We’re all really excited about the project and I think it’s going to be great for our outreach efforts.
3pm – Reference desk shift – The first half of the shift was slow so I looked at my colleague’s draft survey for prioritizing learning object creation and worked on this post. Then all of a sudden it was crazy busy with chats, phone calls and people at the desk.
4pm – Talked to my supervisor about when “the crush” tended to be in Fall at the reference desk so that we could schedule our library research workshops for those times. Answered a few emails and packed up at 4:30 to go pick up Reed. Noticed that I had a pretty ucky headache as I was walking to the parking garage that I fervently hoped was not a migraine.
4:30-8:30pm – Picked up Reed from school and found my child so covered in dirt that he looked like he had a deep brown tan. Thanks for hugging me when I was wearing a nice white shirt, buddy! Cleaned him off at home and took my migraine medicine since by that time, the pain in my skull and visual disturbances made it abundantly clear that this was a migraine. Collapsed on the couch with Reed while he watched Curious George as Adam had to go out to run an errand. Then read to Reed in his room for 45 minutes and put him to bed.
8:30-10:00pm – Got ready for bed, then fired up the laptop and commented on student blog posts written this weekend in my Web 2.0 class for SJSU Felt really crappy from the migraine and the medicine for the migraine, so I turned off the light and closed my eyes.