Practicum Days 3&4:Periodicals/Reference

I’m beginning to hit my stride and my milestones. Of the 70 hours I am to do at Beit Berl, I’ve finished 26.5, and I’ve progressed to the point where I’m not only allowed to do real work, but I’ve been left in charge of a reading room on more than one occasion.

After finishing my day in Cataloging I was to follow the progress of the books into the general reading room, but the head of reader services (who also works part-time in the cataloging department. Can you say dream job?) was not at her extension when the library director wanted to set up the next step of my practicum, so I was sent to the periodicals reading room instead. It was probably best all around, as one of the periodicals librarians was going to be out one day and another day was going to be fully engaged in at her second task, inter-library loans (everyone at the library seems to have two roles), so I got to fill in for her as second chair at the periodicals reference desk.

After a short introduction to the catalogs and the way to use them in reader services I was off, helping students during peak hours. There were two students I helped over the course of an hour or more, helping them make sense of the references their lecturer gave them, find the periodicals, access the e-journals, print and photocopy, even find books on the topics they were researching. It was a great feeling when they thanked me sincerely. I rarely get thanked working as a solo librarian.

Other things I got to do over the two days I worked periodicals:

  • Compare a print journal and its electronic version to see if the two were identical so that the print holding could be removed from the collection. Found that of the 5 issues, 2 had significant amounts of copy missing from the electronic version and so recommended that those issues of the print holding be kept.
  • Built an Excel sheet to replace a destroyed Access database to keep track of periodicals sent to the bindery.
  • Researched a report for the library director on distance reference services in Israel and overseas.
  • Researched a difficult reference question which was referred to the distance service because it took hours to find any results, and I had to use databases which are not on the Beit Berl library’s website list.  (See my day in Acquisitions for thoughts about going outside LibraryLand resources.)

I also read a lot of training materials, watched and discussed a lot of administrative duties, and ghosted a training session for students. In that training session I saw the two students from way up at the top of this post and I made sure they had found everything they needed the week before and encouraged them to come by any time they had an information need the library could fill. They remembered me and thanked me again.

When I met with the library director she wasn’t entirely certain how I’d fill the rest of my 70 hours, but I’ve already been asked to come back to periodicals for at least one more day so the ILL librarian can take care of end-of-year business. I’ll take that as a compliment.

Today, I conquered periodicals. Tomorrow, the world (or at least the main reading room — one of their librarians is on vacation so I’ll fill in for her as I did in periodicals).

Dates: December 11 & December 18, 2011
Hours: 8 hours each day, 16 hours total

Total hours to date: 26 hours, 40 minutes

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