Friday, July 31, 2009

My Library Day : July 31, 2009

This was really an interesting project! I have been enjoying reading a day in the life of librarians. Mine is routine mostly, but with challenges every single day.

Here was my day, Friday, July 31, 2009. I found it quite difficult to record exact time frame for things I did during the 8-hour for work plus 1 hour for lunch.
  • Woke up at 5:30 am, spent 20 minutes preparing breakfast and lunch for my son and husband, and headed for gym. It is my daily routine to workout in gym for one hour before going to work. During the one-hour workout I watched TV feeding my brain with national and local headlines or news.
  • Work started at 8 am when staffed the Reference Desk for one hour. It was quiet this morning. I quickly checked Ask a Librarian email account and my work email to see if there were things that needed immediate responses.
  • Posted a library tip to the library blog for our scientific editor, who once in a while sent out Library Tips to the campus via email. Whenever he posts a tip, I would repeat the tip in the library's blog.
  • Logged in the library's Twitter account to view followers' tweets and posted tweets to the library's Twitter account.
  • Answered two email questions from Ask a Librarian email account. One requested research help and the other was about off-campus log-in problem.
  • At 9 am, telephone meeting with LISTEN project coordinator and my supervisor about BOLT (Brief Online Learning Tutorials) we developed for LISTEN modules. 10% of my time devotes to this grant project since July 2007.
  • Right after the BOLT meeting, two nursing students came for help with their group project. I spent 40 minutes with them searching PubMed and showing them how to limit searches and retrieved full text articles.
  • During my one-hour lunch break (11-12 pm), I stepped out the library and took a nice 20-minute walk. After the heavy rain and tornado sweeping through some areas of the city last nigh, it turned out to be a beautiful day.
  • My second shift at the Reference Desk was from 12 - 1pm. I was able to use this hour preparing budget report for the SC/MLA '09 Local Arrangement Committee meeting as I am the conference treasurer. The meeting was held from 2-3:30 pm.
  • I spent 30 minutes going through my RSS feeds briefly and bookmarked interesting information to my delicious page, and saved some favorite articles to my EverNote site.
  • Spent one hour on my social web profile to maintain a professional appearance on the social Web. Two people subscribed to my FriendFeed, three people requested to follow me on Twitter, one person added me as a contact in, one Facebook friend made two comments on my wall.
  • At 5 pm, I finished my 3rd shift at the Desk and went home.
What I enjoy most is everyday is not the same.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Google Voice SMS -- Libraries

I've been playing with Google Voice since I received the invitation to pick my GV number.

Awesome things I like about GV:
  1. Use GV SMS. When people text me back, I can receive their text messages either from my cell phone or my GV interface.
  2. Forward my home phone to my GV number and choose to listen to voice messages or view them in my email right from my computer.
  3. Transcribe voice messages left at my home phone to text messages and email messages and deliver them either to my cellphone or GV interface.
I still consider myself a beginner of using GV and there are more GV features for further exploration and experience.

While I was testing GV SMS, one thought came to my mind: can libraries use this feature to provide SMS reference service? We can call it Text a Librarian. Thinking about this I immediately sent a request to get a GV number for the library.

I can almost see how Text a Librarian comes live:

Patrons send text messages to the library's GV number from their cellphone, desktop, and laptops. Librarians login libraries' Google Voice account and answer questions using GV interface like the way they were using Instant Message.

Note that pick a GV number carefully. If you want to change your GV number later, you will be charged $10 for the change fee.