A Day in the Life….English Faculty Library 03.02.15

8:45am – Lock my bike up and let myself into the library, the library doesn’t open until 9 but the staff all come in a little earlier to open up properly.

8:50am – Banking! Every day I reconcile the float and put the till out.

9:00am – Another daily duty – I check the lapse list and pull items off our hold shelf to go back to the BSF, scanning them through Aleph and packing them into crates.

9:30am – I am responsible for the first reader count of the day (fortunately for me it is usually the smallest count!)

9:32am – If I have any important emails (I rarely have important emails) I will probably start responding to them at this point. Today I used this time to process some DVDs and check in journals on  ALEPH.

10:15am – Today I also covered a box in craft paper…. the EFL are preparing to launch a ‘love your library’ competition to celebrate National  Libraries Day. The box will be for competition entries. Sometimes you end up doing things you don’t really expect a librarian would do!

10:30am – COFFEE TIME. The EFL is usually well stocked with biscuits, nothing but one sad stale jam doughnut from last week knocking about today. Tragedy. I made do with a vegan fruit bar thing. It wasn’t the same.

11:00am – Back to work time! I spent a bit of time looking at the EFL Twitter and Facebook pages to see how our National Libraries Day posts are faring. I also packaged up some books to send back to their correct libraries – almost every day we get at least one college book returned to us, usually cleverly hidden within a pile of our books. I’m still unsure as to whether this is a deliberate ploy by the students (I mean they are a clever bunch) or if they are just a tad forgetful at times. Either way it gives me an excuse to stretch my legs and say hi to the porters.

11:30am – Stack requests! I knew I was forgetting something…. I head down to fetch up our delivery of books requested from the BSF. Two crates today which is pretty standard for the EFL. Some libraries get far more! I scan the books through ALEPH and arrange them on the BSF requests shelf in alphabetical order.

12:00pm – Lunch time…. I ate a very depressing salad which was pretty wilted. I brought this from home though so do not take it as a reflection of the trainee experience! I decided to go for a walk as it has been snowing lately (so it looks pretty outside) and I thought I’d make myself useful by popping to Tesco in town to replenish the biscuit supply ahead of afternoon tea break. I also picked up some chocolates to bribe students to act as an incentive for the competition I mentioned earlier.

12:50pm – I ate two cheese-strings I forgot I left in the fridge and immediately felt a sense of self loathing and regret.

1:00pm – It was my desk duty, so between then and 3pm I was at the circulation desk helping with reader enquiries, issuing and returning books and organising shelving trolleys. Common queries include students requesting materials from our Stacks, help with printing and help to find books.

1:07pm – Settled on the desk I open up a spreadsheet I’m working on. One of my current projects is to take stock of the journals holdings in Stack One, as we will have to clear our out stacks to make way for some planned building works. I have to make a spreadsheet which lists all the journals kept in Stack one and a record of how much space they take up on the shelves. This will help us toward making decisions about stock to withdraw.

1:18pm – One of the porters dropped the post off, it is part of my job to sort through it all. when I initially started I found it really weird opening post addressed to other people but now I don’t mind – unless an item says ‘confidential’ the majority of our post tends to be invoices, new periodicals or advertisements from publishers about new books.

1:47pm – Started writing this blog post…

2:14pm – Noticed a full returns trolley so sorted it out ready for the afternoon shelvers.

3:00pm – Desk shift over! Kevin, our afternoon library assistant always covers the desk between 3 and 5. I took the post back into the office to finish sorting through it.

3:30pm – Tea time. Time for a hard earned biscuit. I had to make the difficult choice between a custard cream or a chocolate digestive. Oh, the struggle.

4:00pm – Back to work for the last hour of the day. I usually use this time to do something technical, like process a few books or periodicals. I looked despairingly at my journals spreadsheet, but decided 4pm wasn’t a good time to go downstairs and start measuring things, so stuck to processing. This involves stamping books, adding their shelfmarks on ALEPH and adding them to our LibraryThing account.

4:50pm – It was practically the end of the day, at this point I usually write up a to do list for tomorrow, finish up any task I’m doing as I can’t stand leaving things unfinished. I may pop out to the issue desk and help decant books left around the library onto reshelving trolleys but i’m not always needed for this.

5:00pm – As it is term time, I didn’t need to do any of the closing up duties as we stay open until 7pm. Those of us not working the evening left, locking the door and putting up the sign to say to enter through the porter’s lodge after 5pm. Home time!


This is an overview of a day in the EFL! Generally I do most of the tasks mentioned every day, although no two days are exactly the same! Once we had a book returned by a pilot in the post who had found it on his plane, and another time we had a strange man walk into the library to hand over some very odd handwritten poetry (we don’t have swipe access like other libraries) so it’s certainly never boring!

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