Librarian week in the life, part 1

Twice a year, Bobbi Newman (Librarian By Day) organizes the Library Day in the Life project. This week marks the first time that I’ve participated. I’ve been active on Twitter (@BindObs#libday8), and I’ve been logging more-detailed daily projects in a notebook. I was going to post these notes at the end of the week, but I have so much written down already that I thought I’d break it up into two entries.

I haven’t seen many other preservation librarians or conservators participating in this project, so I’m hoping that this might actually help other students (or prospective students) in the field. Fellow preservationists/conservators, please pass this along!


  • 6:30 am: Started my day. Did “the usual”—which amounts to handling my E-mail and doing some copyediting for my publishing job (20 hours per week, and my primary means of financial support while I’m in school), and then catching up on social media, RSS feeds, and personal E-mail. In addition to that, this morning I also finished my weekly discussion board posting for my Technology for Information Professionals class and did some reading about computer networks for the same.
  • 9:30 am: My internship at Harvard Business School (Baker Library) begins. By 9:40, I’m working on some surface cleaning of silver-gelatin photographs (only got to the documentation—i.e., photographing the “before treatment” state), in an effort to fill some time while waiting for the conservator I’m working with, Priscilla Anderson.
  • 10:00 am: I expect to be working on paper repairs all day, but there’s a sudden need to show off some collection items to potential donors, so instead the day will be devoted to cradles and mounting. I get a mandatory lesson on board-shear use, mount three photographs, and start on a cradle for a book. The latter is a different construction than I’d worked with previously, so it requires a little thought, and I’m not given strict guidance. (I actually appreciate that! Sometimes the best way to learn is by trial and error, and it’s good practice to have to look at an example and figure out how it was constructed.)
  • 1:15 pm: I finally remember that I should eat. I catch up on Twitter a bit during the break.
  • 1:45 pm: Back to the cradle I was working on this morning.
  • 2:15 pm: I’ve finished the cradle, clean up the workspace, and do some more work on the surface cleaning project. There are more cradles to make, but I don’t have the books yet.
  • 2:30 pm: Time to go home! As usual, I listen to podcasts on the bus ride/walk. Today’s choices:  a Radiolab short and Stuff You Should Know.
  • 3:45 pm: I’m back home, and I’ve been away from my work (publishing) E-mail all day, so it’s time for more of that. I catch up and do some more copyediting.
  • 5:00 pm: I take some time to turn my notes from the day into the above text. Blogging is a fairly regular part of my schedule, although not as regular as I’d like when classes are in session.
  • 5:30 pm: Back to copyediting, now that the fun stuff is taken care of.
  • 8:30 pm: Time to focus on classes again. I get some reading done, with the TV on in the background. This is what passes for quality time with my fiancé these days.
  • 11:00 pm: Bed! Zzz…

Long story short: It was a long day! This is what most weekdays are like for me, though, as you’ll see. I work two part-time jobs and one internship and am taking two classes, so it’s essential that I stay on top of things and make the most of my time (while still allowing some time for myself, of course!).


  • 6:30 am: The day begins with the usual (see above). I also get some reading done for my Visual Communication class.
  • 9:30 am: I also intern at Baker Library on Tuesdays. Today we’re continuing preparation for donor meetings, so I have two more book cradles to make. This project ends up taking up most of the morning.
  • 10:30 am: I shadow a meeting the head conservator has with the manuscripts librarian. Listening in on these sorts of things helps me get a better picture of how items come into conservation, what sorts of damage they come in with, and how decisions on how to proceed get made.
  • 11:15 am: Back to the cradles.
  • 1:00 pm: Lunch! While eating, I take a few minutes to catch up on my RSS feeds and read a page or two more for Visual Communication.
  • 1:30 pm: Back to the conservation lab.
  • 2:00 pm: I’ve finished with the cradles, but still have some time to kill. So, I work on the surface cleaning project some more.
  • 3:15 pm: I’ve arrived back home (left the lab at 2:30 pm), so it’s back to the publishing work. I work on some proof corrections, make some final changes on another paper before typesetting, and start preparing a new manuscript for editing.
  • 6:30 pm: I finally manage to get started on the rest of my reading for Wednesday’s class. After that, I resume researching Google’s PageRank for an assignment in my Thursday class. That one’s not due for a while, but I’ve learned that when I can get something simple done ahead of the deadline, it makes my life that much easier later in the term when everything is due all at once. And, finally, I take a few minutes to consider a list of interview questions I’ll be answering for a fellow blogger; it’s a while before I’ll need to answer them, but I always find it helpful to have things rolling around in the back of my mind. (But more on that development in April!)
  • 10:45 pm: Sleepy times.

So that’s how things look for the first two days of the Library Day in the Life project. Look out for the second edition at the end of the week.

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