Tuesday 31 January 2012

Library Day in the Life - day two

This is day two of my week for the Library Day in the Life Project, Round 8.

Today was my other Monday of the week - the day that I start my job in the English Cataloguing Department. It can be quite a challenge having two jobs in two departments and I sometimes feel like I have to take off my Tower Project head off on a Monday night and put on my English Cataloguing one!

Today began like every other day in English Cataloguing with some reshelving. I'm sure this is a task familiar to many librarians! I quite enjoy starting my day this way since it usually doesn't require too much thinking and so proves a nice way to ease into the day. Also, since most of my job is behind the scenes, it provides my main contact with readers. I always get quite a sense of satisfaction when I can help them find what they want. Only a couple of queries today.

The English Cataloguing Department works on three week long rotations and my team has just started the so-called 'Fast Track' cycle. This is exactly what the name implies. Since Cambridge is a Legal Deposit library we have a huge intake of English language material and it's necessary to process this as fast as possible. The fast track cycle involves less original cataloguing and more copy cataloguing - hence the fast part of the title.

The morning started with a batch of continuations which were left over from the end of last week. These are essentially books which had already had a classmark assigned and so just need to be catalogued before being passed to the catalogue. Usually the senior members of staff assign a classmark to material once it has been catalogued but continuations are part of a series so already come with a classmark. Today's batch included some slightly more complicated AV material which took a little while to sort out but I got it done in the end.

Next up was copy cataloguing of some bought material. Since we receive most of our material on Legal Deposit this mainly consists of American and European material and the selection can be quite varied! Today I came across a book about using Zotero in libraries that might be worth a read later...

Unfortunately the afternoon brought a power cut and an unexpected system downtime. Although this was disruptive it gave me a chance to catch up on some other work. I went to the stacks to fetch some books that I need to double check the details of, which always takes more time than I think it will! Next up was some entering. Each book is manually entered into a handwritten log where it is assigned a unique running number. This might seem like a slow process but it helps to keep an accurate shelf list. These are all jobs that I will finish off tomorrow when (hopefully) the computer system will be up again!

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