I’ve completed my first week as a full-time librarian 🙂 And a busy week it was! In the first 10 minutes of my first shift we had a tour bus arrive with students from Japan. Right away, not only did I have to handle a swarm of reference questions, but also the cultural issues that arise with ESL patrons. During a couple reference interviews I simply could not understand what the patrons were asking due to the language barrier. This is such an awkward situation, albeit one that happens frequently in a public library. How I learned to handle this situation is to simply ask the patron to write their question down. I’d say, “Can you please write it down- that way I can make sure to find exactly what you’re looking for.” This seems to work well- I don’t feel bad (or look like a moron) for not understanding the question, and they don’t feel bad (hopefully!) for not being able to communicate their question. The last thing I’d want is for the patron to leave the reference desk feeling discouraged and unwilling to ask for additional help, so I try to reassure them that they are welcome to ask for help, despite the language barrier.
So that’s how I spent my first morning.
The rest of the week I became oriented with the library, met all my co-workers, settled in my (fab!) office, and was assigned my duties. My responsibilities so far include working at the adult information desk (although one morning a week I work in the children’s department); developing/conducting two internet classes and one basic computer skills class; timesheets; scheduling, and proctoring exams. Also, a few of my co-workers will be conducting a program for seniors with information on eBooks, eReaders, and other online resources (Zinio, consumer health etc.), as well as a discussion of their favourite books. I happily agreed to be part of this program. I’m not sure which part I’ll be in charge of, as the program is still in the works. Most likely I’ll focus on eReaders/eBooks since I just created a program on eReaders in November.
So that was my first week; it was somewhat overwhelming but very satisfying and enjoyable. I ♥ being a librarian, and I’m excited to see what week two has in store for me!