A Day in the Life of an Adult Services and Outreach Coordinator!

a-day-in-the6My name is Caroline, and I’m the Adult Services and Outreach Coordinator. I like to arrive early, because that’s my nature, and then I typically spend the first hour performing opening duties, like emptying the blue return box, checking in materials, and putting returned DVDs away. I usually have emails to follow up on, and might spend a few minutes returning phone calls or making appointments.

Then, I spend the rest of the morning planning for my programs. That might involve scanning Pinterest to find great craft ideas, trying out those ideas, doing research on Google for programs and displays, and I also make posters for upcoming programs.

After lunch, I’ll prepare for any programs I might have in the afternoon or evening,  and then work on the circulation desk for an hour circulating materials, answering reference questions, making book suggestions, and helping with research. It can very busy!

You might not realize it, but we make visits to home bound patrons to deliver books. It’s not just about dropping off materials–it usually involves spending a little time with them, as we might be one of their only visitors that week. And once I return from my deliveries, I spend the next two hours doing one-on-one tech tutoring. This service is so popular with our patrons, we often book several weeks in advance. I answer questions about whatever device they would like to learn about, and we spend time learning specific skills during their hour-long session.

Sometimes, I have evening or weekend programs, which means I need to spend about 45 minutes setting up and making sure everything is ready. Being prepared means the program will run well, and everyone will have fun, or be informed.

It’s an interesting position, and every day brings something new!

You can find out more about our staff and what we do all day by coming back tomorrow.



A Day in the Life of a Library Assistant, Part 2

3My name is Judi, and I’m a Library Assistant. I’m here typically 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 days each week, so my days are usually packed with things I need to get done in that time. We do much more than just circulate books on the front desk; there are many tasks that have to get done in order for our books to circulate properly, and I do a number of things each week.

My full days of work usually include searching for books that patrons have put on hold from home. There can be anywhere from 1- 20 holds that I have to search for, process, and put on the shelf so that our patrons can pick them up once we open. If they don’t use email for notification, I will put those aside to be called later in the evening. We search for holds twice a day, so this can be a very time-consuming part of my job.

While we don’t normally notify people of recently overdue books, there are always a number of books that have reached the overdue status of several weeks or more, and those patrons need to be notified. We run a report that tells us which books are long overdue, at which point, I’ll do a search to make sure they haven’t just been missed on our shelves. Any that I don’t find will stay on our report, and I’ll send bills in the mail to those patrons. Often, people just need a reminder to return something.

Interlibrary loan is a popular service in libraries these days, and we have a good turnover of books we loan out and books we borrow. It can take a while to package up these books to get ready for the courier, depending on how busy we are at the circulation desk. If books aren’t on our courier route, we have to get these ready to mail, which requires a bit more work, and eventually, a visit to the post office.

Once a week, we get new books delivered to the library that we’ve purchased. After they are processed, these books will come to me to add spine labels, get covered, and stamped. Then, they’re ready to go out to people who have placed holds on them. I am also in charge of processing paperbacks for our shelves.

I’m the Health and Safety rep for our library, and that requires me to attend meetings, take special training courses, do monthly inspections, and prepare reports. When things are running smoothly, it’s a pretty straight-forward job that I enjoy.

We do a lot of outreach to the community, which entails packaging up books to take to seniors’ residences, removing books from our collection and packing boxes to send the books away to Better World Books to be redistributed, and more.

Of course, none of these things take precedence over helping patrons find books, answering the phones, registering new members, or answering reference questions. We love our patrons (I especially LOVE the babies), and enjoy the constant variety found in each day. It’s always exciting!


A Day in the Life of a Library Assistant, Part 1

a-day-in-the5As part of Ontario Public Library Week, we are profiling our staff, and all of the great things they do each day to keep our library running smoothly. You can come back tomorrow to find out what else goes on at the Carleton Place Public Library on a daily basis.

My name is Sheila, and I am a Library Assistant. While there are two library assistants in our library, we both do a variety of different things. The majority of my day is spent serving patrons, and preparing materials for circulation. I work with a holds list each day, collecting books that are on hold for people, and removing expired holds so that our shelves aren’t overflowing. I also request materials through interlibrary loan, and collect and prepare out-going interlibrary loans requests for shipment to other libraries across Ontario, as well as returns. In the evenings, I’ll notify patrons of holds that are available for pick up.

Another big part of my job is managing our magazine subscriptions, and keeping our issues current on the shelves. This is a big job that requires a constant review of expiration dates, cataloging new magazines, discarding old ones, and also preparing them to go out to patrons.

Along with magazines, I help to process new DVDs, audiobooks, and books to get them ready to go on the shelves, or out to patrons. This might require me to cover books, do spine labels, or data entry for those new materials. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get these ready for our patrons!

At the end of each month, I enter statistics so that we can keep track of program attendance, and more throughout the year. I also update the video display that you see when you walk into the library. I make sure patrons know about upcoming programs, new books, and special library events. Stop by and say hello the next time you drop in!



A Day in the Life of a Materials Processor

4My name is Maren, and I am the Materials Processor at the Carleton Place Public Library. Tuesdays are typically my busiest days, and usually the most structured, so I’ll tell you what I do on those days.

I arrive in the morning, large coffee in hand, and get the circulation desk up and running. Meriah and I tend to split the opening duties, so I either count the float or bring in books from the return box. Some mornings, the blue box is so full, it takes both of us to check in all of the items.

After the opening duties, I start on Interlibrary loans. First, I begin with books that other libraries are requesting from us. Some days, I might have 2 requests, but other days I can have as many as 30. I search the titles to see if they are available, and if they are, I go to our shelves and pull them.

Once those requests are satisfied, I work on processing the interlibrary loan books that have been returned or need to go out. The books coming in from other libraries are delivered in bins and need to be unpackaged. I’ll check out those books to our patrons and put them on the holds/call shelf.

Next comes the best part–new books! Meriah typically checks the shipping list to see if we received all of our new titles while I work on the interlibrary loans. This is also the point in my day where I take a tiny break and drool (figuratively, of course) over the new books and add titles to my ever growing to-be-read list. Once that task is complete, I’ll pull out the ones that have holds on them so that they are catalogued first.

After lunch, another large coffee in hand, I’ll hop on the circulation desk when the library opens. In between checking in/checking out items for patrons, I work on fulfilling interlibrary loan requests that our patrons have made from the day before. This typically includes book club requests, which can take up quite a bit of time as I’m requesting somewhere between 4-15 copies, depending on the book club.

At some point during the day, I’ll go back to cataloging the rest of the new books. This can often take the rest of the week to complete if the shipment is large. And if for some reason I finish all that in a day (phew!), I work on some of the odd jobs that fall on my desk, like replacing audiobook cases, or cleaning DVDs that are scratched. There is never a dull moment!

Check back tomorrow for more about our staff!


A Day in the Life of a Public Librarian

a-day-in-the4My name is Meriah, and I am the Manager of Library Services at the Carleton Place Public Library. One of the things I love about my job is that while I have general tasks to do each week, every day is different for me.  As a public librarian, I find I wear many hats- I could be involved in facilities management, ordering supplies, tech support, human resource management, and program coordinating, all in one day.  I am certainly never bored!

A typical Tuesday could look like this:

  • Paying bills (one hour).  Dry but necessary!
  • Receiving the shipment of new library books.  This takes about 45 minutes, and is one of my favourite jobs at the library.  Opening the box is like Christmas morning, because you never know what treasures could be inside.  This is also a very practical task for me, because it allows me to touch every book that comes into our library.  By going through each title, I have a better idea of what items are in our collection.
  • Tuesday mornings I tend to have some uninterrupted quiet time, and I try to spend it on any special projects I am currently working on.  Recently I have been spending time on gathering information for the creation of our library’s first Strategic Plan.  This means I might be making a survey, creating meeting minutes, or information gathering.
  • Afternoons are a bit of a free-for all, and are when things get interesting!  Once we open at 1:30, I could be preparing for a Library Board meeting, which includes compiling monthly statistics, preparing financial statements, creating agendas, and information gathering.  However, I often find myself doing two or more things at once.  For example, while I’m working on Board meeting prep, a patron may come in with a question about setting up OverDrive, which could take anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes to troubleshoot.  Then a staff member may have a question about a strange thing they are noticing with our library catalogue.  This may require me to get in touch with our tech support to find out what’s going on.  Hopefully I get the Board meeting documents done, because I will usually spend the last 45 minutes to an hour of the day on the Circulation desk, helping patrons find books and answering questions.
  • When I have a few minutes, I like to look at book blogs and our OverDrive site to find out about upcoming releases or new eBooks we have in our collection.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to read about another staff member!


A Day in the Life of a Children’s Librarian

a-day-in-the3My name is Heidi, and I’m the Children’s Librarian at the Carleton Place Public Library. My days are quite busy, and usually very diverse, but always fun. I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical day for me, but it often covers tasks that deal with children, programming, and working with the general public. It’s a creative position that allows me to do a variety of things and always be challenged.


I usually start my day by following up on emails, social media posts, or phone messages. While this usually takes only a few minutes, sometimes it can require coordinating a meeting or class visit via phone call, which might take a little longer. After that, I might prep a blog post, set a program announcement to post on Facebook, and do an Instagram post. I usually spend about 30 – 45 minutes a day on posts, designing posters and following up on social media.

Since my workday begins at 9am, we aren’t open to the public. But that doesn’t mean I have nothing to do. When we’re not open, I’ll often do program preparation, work on artwork or crafts for storytime or a special event, visit schools or daycares to do special storytimes/or talk about upcoming reading programs, weed the children’s collection, or I might have a class visit here at the library. Did you know we have several schools that bring their classes to the library on a regular basis? I usually check their books in, read a chapter from a book to the group, help them search for new books, and then check the books out. There can be anywhere from 14 – 35 students here at one time, so it’s busy for that hour or so!

The last hour of the morning might be taken up with clean up or prep for a program. I run anywhere from 4 – 7 programs a week, so it requires some work, setting up supplies, chairs, and tables. Right now, I’m in the middle of running a six-week creativity course for adults, weekly storytime and babytime, a monthly Teen Book Club, and preparation for National Novel Writing Month with our library Writer’s group. If I have nothing to prepare for that day, I will work on new displays or bulletin boards, or plan for upcoming months.

After lunch, I might have a program to run. This is usually about 1 – 2 hours long, can involve children or adults, and might be a special event, or a regular, weekly session. After each program, there is clean up required, and then I’ll work on the front desk. I usually work the front desk anywhere from 1 – 3 hours a day. This involves checking in books, helping patrons to find things, checking out their materials, answering the phone, recommending books, photocopying, and booking computers. If you come to the front desk when we first open, you’ll probably see many of us bustling around–it’s a busy hour on the desk most days. And on a Saturday, the one staff member working a shift is on the desk the entire day, along with student pages. Desk work is a BIG part of all of our schedules.

While I work on the front desk, I always have a task to work on as well. It might be collecting statistics for the week/month, prepping crafts, setting up reports for volunteer students, preparing reports about programs that have finished, photocopying items, or working on blog posts. I might also be preparing for an upcoming meeting, organizing my to-do lists for the month ahead, or helping summer students or volunteers with their tasks. During October, I’m writing daily emails to go out to our writers for November, planning Christmas activities for the library, and I’m already working on programs that I won’t run until 2017. I’m usually about four to six months ahead all the time. (Yes, by the time Christmas rolls around, I’ve been working on Valentine’s Day and March Break activities for a few weeks already!)

The rest of the afternoon always requires flexibility. While I might sit at my desk to work on something, often a knock on the door next to me might mean I go out to help someone find a book, chat about a visit to a school, or talk up a program. Or a patron might require help printing something or connecting to the internet on their own device, which can take a few minutes or much longer. By the time I go home at the end of the day, I’m looking forward to some quiet time, and rest in order to do it all again the next day.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a post about one of our other staff members!


Ontario Public Library Week!

oplwNext week is Ontario Public Library Week, and we’re excited to celebrate! Drop by the Carleton Place Public Library anytime next week for fun decorations, fascinating library trivia, a giant colouring page for the kids, Facebook and blog posts about our staff, and much more!  It’s going to be a wonderful week to celebrate everything libraries do for our communities.

One of our goals is to get people talking about libraries. We’d love it if you’d share the photo below in your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), and tag three friends. Tell them why getting a library card is the best decision they’ll make all day, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #OPLW.  We can’t wait to see why YOU think the library is great!