Bobbi Newman, the Librarian By Day started a thing a while back called Library Day in the Life. It’s a good idea, not just for librarians, but any occupation really. I mean, how many people actually know what someone else does all day when they’re earning their living? It can be an interesting look into a world you don’t know much about except the most general aspects.

0708001859aNow then, before I kick this thing off, I guess I should explain who and what I am. I’m Dan, and I’m a Circ guy. Specifically I’m a Circulation Supervisor, or at least that’s what it says on my business cards. I work in Queen Creek, AZ which is a small, but growing, town in the far southeast part of the Valley of the Sun. I’m a tech geek, and the on site computer nerd for fixing, troubleshooting, and dealing with any technology problems that pop up. It works out well because IT is based up in Phoenix, which is a good half hour to forty-five minute drive away. If something breaks and I can fix it, then that’s better than waiting for an IT tech to make the trip.

We have a pretty advanced Circulation Department utilizing RFID to check things in and out. We deploy four 3M V Series self checkout machines and run a self check-in and sorting system manufactured by FKI Logistex. We’re the third busiest branch in the system, outpacing even one of the larger Regional libraries up north. At any given time, 42% of our collection is checked out. What this works out to is that we basically check out and check in our entire library every month. So the tech not only helps, but it matters too.

There is no typical day, but I picked Monday, July 26, 2010 as my day to log. I didn’t take down the time I did this stuff, but I am presenting it in chronological order. I left out some of the more mundane tasks of my day that are performed by most anyone working in Circ. So you can bet that many an item was checked out, many fines were paid, and I helped quite a few people. Think of this as a highlight reel.

  • kidgames_1920Got up at 5:15 and headed downstairs to my kitchen. Made a bowl of cereal, pulled up Google Reader on my laptop, and started leafing through my feeds. I’d love to say I was reading library related feeds, but the truth is I head straight for my web comics first thing in the morning. I adore Penny Arcade, Least I Could Do, and Questionable Content. In all, I read around 40 web comics on any given day.

  • After the comics I pulled up my other feeds. I have a pretty busy blog, so I’m always looking for cool, interesting, funny, or geeky content. In all, I go through a couple hundred feeds every morning.

  • Checked my Gmail and chatted with a beautiful librarian friend in Georgia. Finally I signed off, put my dishes in the sink, and headed upstairs to shower, shave, and otherwise dress for work.

  • Gathered up the various crap I take to work with me. Among this stuff is my laptop, iPod Touch, notebook, one or two books, extra hard drive, video camera, and other geek stuff.

  • Hopped in the car and flipped on the radio. Went straight to NPR because Phoenix area radio sucks in the morning. Besides, I wanted to hear the news.

  • Stopped by a Circle K and got coffee. That’ll have been my third cup that morning.

  • Arrived at work after a twenty minute drive. I commute in the opposite direction of traffic since most people who live in Queen Creek actually work elsewhere. So as I’m coming to town, everyone else is leaving. I get the same thing at night, so I rarely have to deal with any traffic issues.

  • Oh look! The air conditioner is broken… in Arizona… in July. Yeah, this won’t be fun. It’s already around 90 in the library but I’m told they are working furiously on it.

  • 0728001427Checked the day’s schedule and hit the check in room. The check in and sorting machine was down. (We call it Frank, I call it “the robot.”) I fixed that, reset it, and things were okay. Started processing stuff that the machine couldn’t deal with which usually means stuff bound for other branches or on hold.

  • Pulled unclaimed holds. This is the stuff that people put on hold, but don’t pick up after it comes in. We charge folks US$2.00 if they don’t pick their stuff up. They get seven days after it comes in to do that, so it’s not like we don’t give them any time.

  • Front desk the first hour. The doors make a loud click as the auto-lock disengages and tells us we’re open. Library temperature is hovering around 90 degrees F.

  • First patron is a Nigerian lady who needs computer help and help navigating the USCIS website. Gave her a hand with that and helped her set up an appointment. Wished her luck because god knows this is an arduous process.

  • After I got off the desk I had a free hour so I got to work on Dr. Gonzo Recommends, the new and upcoming items newsletter I write for our library. It’s gonna be four pages this time around, and I wanted it done by Tuesday because, for some reason, I just started releasing them on Tuesday.

  • As I worked on it, it occurred to me that it might be fun to do something like this newsletter as a web show. I hit up Twitter and FriendFeed to see if there was any interest. There was, so I made a few notes and started some preliminary planning to see how feasible this would be.

  • Had lunch with my boss who is totally awesome. My co-worker and friend is a chef and he brought me home made gumbo that he’d made the night before. There are more delicious things in this world, but you’d have to really search around to find them.

  • The air conditioning is supposedly fixed, but it’s not going to dip lower than 80 degrees in this library until tomorrow. We’re limping along on one compressor, which is like a dual engine plane flying along on one engine. Sure it can be done, but it’s sure not optimal. At least it’s cooler and we’ll survive the day.

  • Helped a non-county person get a map of the county so, when they move, they can move to this county and not be a non-county person anymore. Yes, I do this on a regular basis.

  • I’m part of the Virtual Display committee which selects items for display on the website. Each month there’s a theme and we pick different items to show online and generate interest in the theme. This time I’m pulling non-fiction titles for a “Frozen North” theme. I find eight titles which meet the needs rather nicely and file them in the committee’s spreadsheet. I believe that theme will go live in October.

  • It’s almost time to go home. I remember that the car needs gas and, after today’s interior heat wave, I want a big ass Pepsi from the fountain. Just across and down the street is a great fill up and go spot, so I head over and purchase fluids for the auto and for myself.

  • Called home to inform family that there are certain things in this world that are constant and one of them is that I am not cooking tonight. The lady says to pick up a pizza and I all but squeal my tires on the way to Little Caesar’s.

  • Get home to be greeted by a bouncing boy, a naked little girl who’s still potty training, and my lovely wife. Pizza is served and it feels good to eat.

  • RedDeadRedemption Multi Edit029After tossing the leftover ‘za in the fridge I decide that I need to go horseback riding and shoot stuff. Thankfully, I just recently snagged a copy of Red Dead Redemption for the PlayStation 3 and that’ll prevent me from doing such things in real life. After a few seconds of loading and waiting, I’m a cowboy… but on a real horse I ride. I’m not currently wanted, dead or alive. But we’ll see what comes up as I play. Sometimes, ya gotta gun down a lawman. Things happen.

  • Played for a while but stopped to put the kids to bed. Kissed them goodnight, got them water, shut their doors. Then I realized that I was pretty tired myself. Went back downstairs, saved my game, and shut off the PS3.

  • Put a couple things away in the kitchen and headed upstairs to bed. Read some more of a book on the history of the Knights Templar, shut off the light, and finally fell asleep.