A Week in the Life of a Cataloguing Librarian

While trying to think of something to write for the past couple of days, I kept stumbling over all of the different projects, innovations and activities not only going on in my own department, but in the cataloguing profession.  So, I began to think about a regular work week for a cataloguing librarian and all of the activities I’m lucky enough to be involved in as part of my “role” as a cataloguer.

When you attend library school – and in this regard, I am targeting those who attend a graduate program – cataloguing is only seen as a class full of rules, acronyms and a sentence of working behind the scenes to “hide away” from the public.  How wrong is that perception!

For the past month, I’ve been working on a tutorial for our new catalogue.  But, rather than the usual pdf document, I decided to make it more dynamic and “live” by creating it on pbworks.  This allows me to immediately update changes or enhancements, add additional sections to the tutorial and provide access on a long-term basis, without sending out emails asking staff to throw out one old pdf and to replace it with a new one – only for that to be outdated within a short period of time.

This tutorial required a crash course in html, as well as the creation of jpgs from captured screen images.  While I had a little experience in this area, it helped me brush up on my skills.

Just yesterday, I had a phone onversation with Chad Smith regarding the creation of mobile apps for library catalogues.  Our conversation spanned from the changes in the user landscape, targeting specific users, the different between smartphone use and desktop computer use to APIs and Drupal!

When I look at my calendar and the upcoming events, I see that on Friday I’m hosting a current library school student for a job shadow experience and then, on Monday, participating in Readers’ Services training for new staff.

And, of course, on an ongoing basis, I’m cataloguing, keeping current on the latest trends, making decisions that affect long-term and short-term access issues, and attending meetings on a variety of library issues.

For many of you cataloguers, your schedule likely reflects mine in its diversity, activities, excitement and learning curves.  I love the challenges of this profession and how different each one of my days can be.  While I find the routine of cataloguing soothing, especially during a stressful time, I enjoy the challenges and changing nature of what it is to be a cataloguer.

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