It’s…been a day!
So yesterday and tonight were spent working on two assignments for my Reference Services class. That, itself, has been a ride. I’m glad I took this class, even if I don’t end up working in Reference. Right now we’re finishing an Ethics unit, and I turned in a paper based on an (awesome) interview with someone who helps run a large urban library.
Tomorrow looks like it will be full of studying for my Database class, and my Political Advocacy class. If you count this as the early morning of the 22nd (I have about 23 hours left), I only have about six more days to turn in everything for the latter, so I better hop to it. After this week is over, though, I won’t have to deal with that one class anymore, and I can focus on the other three. (Nice thing: I haven’t had to use Accommodations yet! And I’m in 10 units! In a Master’s program!)
I should, though, catch up on the group work that I’m dealing with: I put it off on Tuesday and Wednesday to get what was due (technically) last night, done. Now it’s early Thursday morning and I’m wondering what to do with myself, given that I didn’t take medication until about 12 AM. I doubt I’ll even get tired until about 1:30 AM.
I also just realized that after my Advocacy class ends, I then have two weeks free from having to go in to work…unless I volunteer to be on-call. Should I? Or should I just concentrate on catching up and working ahead in my classes…? (I don’t think I can answer that, now.)
Well, like I was saying, work today was — well, hectic. I was only on desk for an hour, but I was running around to keep up with everything, by the end. I also helped seriously knock out a backup of carts-to-be-shelved (the lineup was full when I got there, and nearly empty when I left. [That’s what happens when I’m not on desk!]).
The problem is running around so fast that I get confused as to what I’m doing or where the extra receipt came from and why it was there and did I hand out something else (I figured it out after I slowed down and gradually remembered what happened. I had to let the adrenaline rush go a little bit, though). I was trying to complete processing of an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) cart by the end of my shift, in addition to keeping the return bins clear and helping patrons sign up for cards and checking out materials…when I should have just left a little of the ILL cart for the next person, and not stressed so much.
But I’m so totally not hating my career choice, now. 🙂 What’s weird is the difference between the humanities-and-research-oriented side of my curriculum (Library Science), and the technical side (Information Science). I’m very sure they’re using different parts of my brain. What I haven’t been sure about, is where I’m going.
…Though thinking back, I’m certain I wanted to be a Web Designer and/or Web Developer (though this was before I was feeling so good about public service). I just haven’t decided to take the MySQL class, yet, or the other two small tech courses I can fit in. If I do all of it, my Summer is going to be packed. On top of that, it’s only a start. It will be a foundation, but not anything in which I believe I’d be able to be immediately employed. There is the opportunity to work in the Virtual Library; we’re just not sure if it’s located too far away (ironically).
Right now, the vast majority of my job experience has been in Public Libraries, along with some Academic work (I was briefly a Student Assistant, acting as an Editor for course texts). I think that ethically and values-wise, Public Libraries are a fit; but interacting with people so heavily is new to me. It wasn’t until I spoke with someone high up in Reference somewhere else, that I realized that customer service and public service wasn’t just part of his job; it was the focus of his job. (I also didn’t realize how many people in the Library field are genuinely accepting and kind!)
That is, my experience as a Library Aide is atypical for my branch. Most of the jobs of most of the people I work with, heavily involve dealing with people; and I’m just sheltered from most of it because I’m support staff and in a relatively junior position. They have to do Outreach, Advocacy, Programming, and Marketing. For the public-facing part of my job, I’m just tasked with Circulation.
I deal with the athletic stuff (lifting, sorting) and the stuff that requires high mobility (crouching, reaching) and high accuracy (everything needs high accuracy), with limited responsibility to staff a public desk. But the Clerks deal with the public more than I do; so do the Library Assistants and Librarians. The only other position at my branch is Head Librarian, and even she does staff Reference.
So I’ve been trying to get more comfortable with dealing with the public, and have been reaching back for help when I need it (like when I forget a rarely-used policy, as happened today). Now that I know that my time on desk is quality time in which I’m acclimating for a higher position, I’m not so upset about it, anymore.
I’ve also realized that my workplace…doesn’t work as well as I think many would wish. But that doesn’t mean that all libraries are dysfunctional or that the entire system is corrupt (as has been suggested to me). And it doesn’t mean that I’ll never get tough enough to deal with routine interpersonal problems. We do the best we can, you know? I’m just seeing patterns now that I hadn’t seen, before, and it’s informing my process.
I’m also learning a lot in my classes, and that is also helping.
I should probably get going so I can get up sometime before 11, tomorrow. 🙂 I was concerned on Monday about being able to get all this done by the end of Wednesday, but it seems I overestimated the time it would take for me to get things done. I also probably underestimated my ability to write to a deadline…