I knew today wasn’t going to go well as soon as I saw the timetable. Due to late nights, meetings and other shenanigans I was down to supervise from 10:30-12, 1-2:30 and then on the Helpdesk from 2:30-4. I also had to help with the banking, as the usual person was on the late night. So essentially, I had an hour sat at my own desk. My feelings about this are best expressed by the following emoticon 😡 *
Friday’s are annoyingly one of my busiest days as I have two jobs to do that often take up large amounts of time. Since I’ve already described what supervising shifts are like and you’re probably not interested in hearing any more about the banking, I’ll tell you a bit more about these two tasks instead.
The first is the Integrated Student Support timetable. All four of our LRCs have “Pods” (see picture) or small private rooms that can be booked by other departments to run student support activities from. These range from careers sessions to health centre drop ins, maths assistance to entrepreneurship advice, English language development to help with managing spending. The Met police regularly drop in to give safety advice and I’ve just confirmed a regular booking for the local Citizens Advice Bureau. With 10 bookable spaces across the campuses and 15-20 regular providers, coordinating the timetable occasionally has me tearing my hair out. I’m forced to leave doing the weekly timetable until the Friday before because I am usually receiving emails about booking, cancelling or rescheduling sessions right up to Friday afternoon, so it’s never final until these stop trickling in**. I’m the only person who works on this, so I have developed my own system of dealing with it; I have a master timetable of all recurring bookings then I categorise all emails I receive into an ISS folder so that I can work through them in one go on Friday morning and publish the timetable in the afternoon. The biggest mistake I can make is double booking a session, but most of the time nobody knows I’ve made a mistake except me and I can quietly fix it! Much as doing the timetable annoys me, I’m happy to admit that the ISS sessions that run in the LRCs are very good for us and very popular with the students. Nevertheless, I’m still hoping to pass the job on to someone else next year…
My other regular Friday desk is dealing with second line customer service support. We have a central service desk that handles all IT and library enquiries that are received by phone and email. Anything that can’t be dealt with immediately by the Assistants who work there (either because they don’t know the answer or don’t have the authority to resolve the issue) is entered into our call management software and assigned to second line support. We have a timetable for this, with everyone doing half day a week and Friday morning is mine. So I have to log onto the system in the morning and resolve any queries that come in during my session. Sometimes it’s very quiet, sometimes it’s not and sometimes the person who was supposed to do it the day before didn’t get chance to do it, so there’s a backlog to get through. None of us particularly enjoy doing this as most of the calls could have been resolved instantly of the student had just come to the Helpdesk, but sometimes there are very funny emails, so at least we stay entertained***
So my day essentially consisted of supervising, doing the Helpdesk, finalising the ISS timetable and banking. I also managed to get some more invoicing work done and delegated some related tasks to people working at the weekend**** Needless to say, I didn’t have a lunch break. And even then I would have managed to leave for the weekend satisfied and with a sense of accomplishment if I hadn’t received an email at 3pm that made me go all hulk librarian. Thankfully I was able to vent most of my rage on twitter and I got rid of the rest via the medium of a good run in the cold when I got home.
So that was Friday, and that was Library Day in the Life round 8! I hope somebody out there found it interesting, I’ve certainly enjoyed doing it. I’m planning one final post reflecting on what the week has taught me and then the blog will probably go quiet again until the next time I have a rant that I cannot contain!
*actually they’d be better expressed by an audio file of me screaming, but that would be too much effort.
**I have tried to train people to email me earlier, but since I haven’t managed to train half of them to even email me when they’re not coming to their booking, it’s a bit of a pointless fight.
***the most recent one was a student complaining that he couldn’t return his very overdue books as they were very heavy, so could we possibly send a van around to collect them?
***delegating is the best part of line managing. Doing appraisals is the worst.