Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shifting from the Stacks to Circulation

Even though I enjoyed working at the Circulation desk this past summer on a trial basis in that department, I still thought I would miss working on the Student Task Force once I left there for good. One reason I believed that is because I felt I would be stuck behind the Circulation desk as I assumed I wouldn't be spending that much time elsewhere. But as time has gone on, I've come to change my mind.

I'm sure part of it is that two of the shifts I work are in the evenings, so I get a chance to do book pick-up which is one of the things I enjoyed doing while on the Student Task Force. Even though I have the same basic tasks I do every shift, no day is ever the same. Some evenings, it can be incredibly quiet but others times, things can be quite busy or go haywire. I have found there does seem to be the most activity during the shift that I work 12 noon-5pm which makes sense, since according to statistics that's when we have the most people coming in and out of the library.

It's really nice that part of my job is being able to interact with and actually help people more now. Before when I was on the Student Task Force, I could help people but on a very limited basis. In spite of that, I can say that working on the Student Task Force was very helpful in making the transition from working in that department to Circulation an easier one. Pretty much everything I did on the Student Task Force, I do in the Circulation department. From re-shelving, shelf reading, cleaning/straightening up, book pick-up, sorting and taking books to the storage shelves and last but definitely not least, customer service.

One thing I don't miss is that I would be on my feet pretty much the entire time I was on my shift while I was still on the Student Task Force. That's not the case with working the Circulation desk which my feet thank me continously for!

Things I have learned or have become better at since working at the Circulation desk:
  • Boolean searches
  • Overcoming my fear of dealing with people who I have trouble hearing
  • Services/materials that are available to students-calculators, headphones, the wide range of reserve textbooks and more
  • Better familiarity of the campus
  • Problem patrons
  • Setting up display cases

So yes, sometimes I do miss being among the stacks but not nearly as much I thought I would. I love my new position behind the Circulation desk as I can apply what I've been learning in the various classes in the Library Technology program in more depth with my every day work experiences here.


Anonymous said...

I like your reflections! Your experience on the Library Task Force supplemented your new position at Circulation, I'm sure, even in subtle ways. It is interesting to me how the Library Task Force and the Circulation staff's duties work in tandem for the flow of Library items. Yet, the only chance we really get to interact is when periodicals need to be scanned or when we see each other in the sorting stacks.

Catherine Chambers said...

Hi, Evelyn! Thanks for your presentation to 101 yesterday! By way of feedback, I like reading your posts on your experiences vs. the techie stuff, which is interesting, but maybe not all that relevant to actual lib. tech students currently in the program. "Real life" experiences and tips, tribulations, etc. would bring me back to the blog more regularly. Also, maybe some controversial issues to generate comments? Thanks for taking on the task of the blog -- look forward to reading more in the future! :)

Gena said...

Catherine, thank you for your comments and suggestions.

It really helps to have folks in the program say what they want and need in the blog.

One of the challenges is that it is hard to find working library assistants who have an on-going blog. PCC LibTech is one of the few active blogs that addresses the issues and concepts that library workers might face.

I will take up the search to see if there are new library technicians/assistants who are sharing their working experiences with those in the program.

I just have a teeny, tiny little quibble about the tech stuff in the blog. I try to make sure that there is a library/information related reason for a post.

For example: You might not need to know about language translation websites in your class.

But if you are doing Ready Reference at a public library and you need to type out a short passage in Farsi to communicate a concept you can find it in the archives.

Thank you again and keep those ideas and suggestions coming.