"A library doesn't need windows. A library is a window." – Stewart Brand

Jul 31, 2009

Finally, circ!

I've gotten some experience with the ILS system in use here (Millennium, in case anyone cares ;) ) via my work on the reference desk, which involves a lot of renewing, checking patron records, putting things on hold, etc. -- all of which is done through the Millennium interface. But even though I've been here for a couple of months, I still hadn't actually been trained in how to check things in and out! Tomorrow I'll be spending the day at a branch library, where basically my whole time will be spent in circulation, so on Wednesday I finally got some circ training. It was a lot of fun, and in some ways even more fast-paced than reference! I only have a basic understanding, but it's enough to get me through tomorrow -- I'll just refer people who want new cards or who have really complicated issues to the more experienced staff.

The branch library is apparently going to be pretty intense -- I'm told I will be on my feet and constantly doing something from 9:30-5 straight, except for my lunch break. It will also be a challenge because there are a huge number of immigrant Chinese who come from all over to that branch on Saturdays, due to its high-quality Chinese language collection, and I honestly am not that good with accents. I always feel really bad when I have to ask someone to repeat himself or herself because I couldn't interpret his/her accent well. And I think a crowded, high-pressure situation will probably make things a bit worse. But I'll never improve if I don't get practice!

Today was actually a good warmup -- I was on desk for two hours and never had a chance to breathe (including one twenty-minute session with a gentleman who wanted to log into his e-mail and download and print some photos someone had sent him but who couldn't correctly do a single-click with the mouse... I got good practice being patient and calm with that one -- and I think I did fairly well, considering my level of frazzledness at the time), and in the middle of the day some repairmen set the fire alarm off THREE times, once just before my second desk shift and then twice more during the shift! If I could keep my poise intact through all that, I have confidence I'll do all right tomorrow.

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