I was on a plane recently with a few librarians coming from a library conference, and the flight attendant expressed how much she would enjoy being a librarian because she would love to sit at her desk all day and read. We all laughed together in unison and politely told her, “Sorry, but we don’t do that!”
As a matter of fact, I can’t remember the last time I sat down and read an entire book. I have some memory of it but I do believe it was in graduate school and I have to admit that even that was a bit of a blur.
This conversation got me thinking about how much people know about librarianship and what we actually do daily. So here is a day in the life of an academic librarian for all of you who wonder what we do or maybe you’re interested in being a librarian. This one's for you!
9 a.m. Department Meetings
- Catch up with colleagues about their projects and share insight about our department needs. We also have weekly meetings on reference and social media; that's how we keep up with the best ways to help you.
10:30- Library Instruction
- Teach classes to help you understand what resources we have in the library and how to effectively do your research using these resources! I'm the liaison for the School of Education, so I introduce graduate students to research databases in education like ERIC.
- Lunch with a colleague is a great way to relax. With so much to do, I don't stray far for lunch. Luckily there are so many places in Charles Village.
- Consult with faculty about research needs and answer research related questions. Right now the faculty are very interested in how to evaluate the impact of their research, so I've been introducing them to the world of Scholarly Metrics.
- Respond to student e-mails and phone calls for research help. These questions can run the gamut from "how do I find a copy of this article," to "I'm researching the latest trends in working with students in my social studies class whose first language isn't English."
2 p.m. Collection Development
- Librarians work hard to research and purchase materials (books, databases, videos, etc.) for students and faculty. We also have to make sure we don't go over our budget! My faculty like to have their books in electronic form, so if there's a choice, I choose the e-book every time.
3 p.m.-5 p.m. Research Consultation Office
- Spend time in the reference office answering student and faculty research questions from various disciplines. This helps me keep current with areas outside of education. Need to ask a question but can't make it to MSEL? Check out our Ask a Librarian service!
So, now that you know a little bit about academic librarianship, would you say that we sit at our desk all day and read? I'll let you decide! To learn more about the types of projects librarians work on, check out College and Research Libraries News, a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a national organization that lots of academic librarians belong to. Oh, wait--that's another interesting thing I do--go to conferences. But that's for another post!