Day in the life of a MLIS student. #librarydayinthelife

Back in July, a slew of librarians wrote about their experiences covering one day (or some cases, several days) of their day to day life as a librarian. And by slew, I mean dozens and judging by the PbWorks page, maybe hundreds? Not only were the blogs collected into PbWorks, but they were also tweeted and reshared on Twitter with the hashtag, #librarydayinthelife.
The point of this exercise was to illustrate how wildly different the tasks and jobs were from a plethora of librarians and library staff, clearly showing that while the MLIS degree to some extent can be pretty generic, what is expected of us really varies on the location and job title we are given. And if this little exercise doesn’t showcase that we as a profession are beyond the bun-glasses-orthopedic shoes stereotype and the flexibility of the job really IS there, then I don’t know if anything really will.
With all of that being said, I wanted to desperately put my two cents in but at the time, didn’t think my life as a grad student then would prove to be that totally useful. Since the fall semester has started (and erm, is actually almost ending), I thought that now would be a good time to contribute.
My background: I don’t think I’m a typical student in that I’m also involved with lots of extracurricular activities outside of my classwork, with some of it mostly relating to my job and some do not. I’m currently taking a full load of classes, work 20 hours a week at the graduate library reference desk, work part-time for a professor as her social media specialist (hours vary), am involved in several organizations, also sit on a committee, and am working on my archival practicum. I live about 15 miles away from school, which also throws upto 30 minutes each way of travel time. Also, my weeks tend to fluctuate: Either I have all meetings and stuff inbetween work and classes or it is empty for me to do homework in. Sometimes there is a nice balance, but not always.
Tuesday, November 17

  • 07:15 – 08:15 AM: Up, mainlining coffee and getting stuff together for the day. Leave the house at about 8:15ish to stop and get my daily Slurpee and drive down Woodward to Wayne State.
  • 09:00 AM – 1:00 PM: Reference desk. What I can get done during this time period varies depending on how many questions are coming at me per hour. Today was an especially busy day with averages of about 10 questions per hour, nearly double of previous weeks averages for this time frame. I do face to face and telephone reference, most of it quick or ready-reference, with the¬†occasional¬†extended reference thrown in. Reference questions tend to be directional (aka quick), computer help, book search, or being asked for help on writing papers. I’m also typically logged in online via gTalk and Twitter and do homework when it’s really slow.
  • 01:00 – 02:00 PM: Lunch break, read homework while I ate.
  • 02:00 – 3:00 PM: Meeting with a professor about an upcoming large project that is due in December. I researching a local historical society and why (or why not) they are important not only to the community but to the archival profession. After that was done, we spent the rest of the time gossiping about music and MLIS accreditation.
  • 03:00 – 04:30 PM: Virtual reference committee bi-weekly meeting. One of the senior librarians put together a staff meeting committee, with me being the only grad student, to research and explore alternatives to our existing VR software, Docutek. I was tasked with looking at IM alternatives, testing Trillian Astra and looking to the power of Twitter and GoogleWave to finding out what other people are using. I reported back and based upon my research, they will be testing out LibraryH3lp.
  • 04:30 – 05:30 PM: Coffee with my friend Lauren. Lauren applied for an on-campus GSA position (graduate student assistant, a position I currently hold) and we were dissecting the interview before we headed to class.
  • 05:30 – 8:15 PM: Intro to archives class, held every Tuesday. We had a speaker on Records Management come in and spoke for the entire class period.
  • 09:15 – 12:00 AM: Went home and did several errands on my way home. Once I got home and out of my “oppressive clothes”1, posted weekly discussion summary to Blackboard for my online class, discussed the VR meeting with my fiance and then settled on the couch for a few hours with dinner, House and The Big Bang Theory.

Wednesday, November 18

  • 07:15 – 08:15 AM: Same as the day before: mainlining coffee, showering and getting dressed to head out. I get to leave a few minutes early, which is always a bonus.
  • 09:00 AM – 03:30 PM: My long day for reference desk pimping. Spent most of my downtime trying to hack stuff together for lib schooled., which was failing. The relief librarians were nearly 30 minutes late (I was to leave at 3pm). Only planned on spending a few hours working on my website but ended up getting sucked into spending most of my time at the desk on it. I caught up on some email, prepped stuff for the student chapter Progressive Librarians’ Guild meeting scheduled for tonight.
  • 03:30 – 05:45 PM: Planned on working on homework for the week but wanted to finish this entry. Continued to do prep work for the PLG meeting tonight. Did some quality web browsing. Caught up on more emails.
  • 06:00 – 07:00 PM: Meeting with my advisor on course selection for next semester.
  • 07:00 – 09:00 PM: PLG student monthly meeting. I’m the v-p and with the president having been MIA (deservedly so) due to her recent marriage, things have been a tad crazy.
  • 09:00 PM – 12:00 AM: Head home, decompress from another 12+ hour day, get out of my oppressive clothes1 and sleep. Only to start over all again tomorrow.

1. Meaning I got into yoga pants and a tshirt.