What Do Librarians Do All Day?
by Jennifer Inglis, Director
This is the latest post in our series about what we do all day at the Lynnfield Public Library (sadly, it’s not read all day!). Director Jen Inglis is always busy, but back in February she took a little time to give you a peek at a typical day for her.
There is a lot of “behind the scenes” work that goes on in the Library. My two greatest priorities are 1) working with my team to 2) provide excellent service to the public. All of the work that I do goes directly to support these efforts.
On a given day, my schedule might look like this:
9:00 – 10:00: Get the day started. Arrive, say hello to staff, check mail (snail and email), identify top “to dos” for the day, respond to any pressing issues.
10:00 – 11:00: Work on reports. Much of my work revolves around reports. These include formal monthly reports to the Board of Library Trustees, but can also be reports for the state or federal government, reports for the town, or for other organizations.
11:00 – 12:00: Build partnerships. A good portion of my work (and that of the Library as a whole) is to be an integral part of the community, and one way to do this is by building relationships with organizations and departments across the town. Two recent efforts include working on a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program series with A Healthy Lynnfield and Lynnfield for Love, or doing a community service project with Rotary that directly impacts people in the area.
12 – 12:30: More email!
12:30 – 1:00: Wandering/Surveying. It’s easy to get caught up in the “desk job” part of my work, so I try to make sure I take some time each day to just wander through the Library. When we have patrons here, it’s fun to see people using the computers, looking at displays, or attending programs, and I like to check in and see what’s going on. Sometimes this wandering is to address a building-related issue, and most of the time it’s to check in briefly with staff.
1:00 – 2:00: Lunch. I am pro lunch breaks. Sometimes I eat at my desk, but I try to get out of the building and give myself an actual break. Before the pandemic, I was often having lunch at an area restaurant. I can’t wait to be able to do that again! Most of the time now I eat in my car while I’m listening to an audiobook or podcast.
2:00 – 3:30: Work with staff. We are so lucky to have an awesome team of people working at the Library, and I try to spend time each day with them. Sometimes it’s having a formal meeting with the department heads, where we review initiatives and concerns from each of our perspectives. COVID-19 takes up much of our time right now, but we’re also often talking about programming, technology upgrades, processes and procedures, and training. Most days I’m able to have more general and fluid conversations with whomever is working, and I try hard to be approachable. There is a lot of laughter among this team, too.
3:30 – 4:30: Administrative tasks. These might include small but important tasks like reviewing and signing invoices, but also larger projects like budget prep and planning for budget presentations.
4:30 – 6:30: Break time!
6:30 – 8:30: Meetings. Depending on the week, I might have one or two evening meetings, ranging from a monthly Board of Library Trustees or Friends of the Lynnfield Library meeting to a budget hearing with the Finance Committee or Selectboard. I also host some programs, and participate in others, sometimes with my daughter. In addition, some of the partnerships mentioned earlier have evening conversations to make sure they’re accessible to people who work a daytime schedule.
I don’t spend as much time as I used to interacting directly with patrons (because of the nature of my work, not because of the pandemic!), but each of these pieces of my daily work life provide resources to my staff so they can do their jobs well, make connections so that different groups across the town see us as a valuable partner, and so the patrons who use our services have a welcoming experience.
Anything surprise you? Send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll be part of my daily email ritual!