It’s all about the conversation…and when to stop

This week has been a ‘noisy’ week – a week filled with meetings, conversations and discussions.  Mostly valuable and worthwhile, some even enjoyable in a work context, but nevertheless a lot of interactions.
Team meetings with teams, catch up meetings with Supervisors, catch up meetings with line managers, Resources and Facilities meetings, project meetings about refurbishments.
Meetings about communications.
Ad hoc discussions about library systems, about IT helpdesk systems, about repairs to ceilings, about training .
PDR meetings – discussing how staff feel about their progress and development – what they would like to do in the future, about what works and doesn’t work.
Conversations with students.
External events at other universities with discussions about new systems and what we need to develop in the future to provide excellent customer service for our students.
The conversations in passing with staff in my team or other teams, conversations as staff drop by my office and its open door.
Telephone calls and conversations.  Email conversations.  Social media conversations.
And then finally today, a day without planned meetings and quietly closing my office door and stopping to think what needs doing…and settling down to do it.
It’s easy to say that it’s important to manage your time and your calendar, and to plan effectively and have a task list and be productive and stop doing some things and prioritise.  But in reality, unless we are at the top of the management structure in our organisation, our calendars seem to have a life of their own.  Also as we all have to work in a more flexible and reactive way, it’s important to shuffle things around and fit in when we can.
For me in my role, I have quite a wide and varied remit.  I’m involved in joint initiatives and projects and liaising with different teams.  My team is responsible for front line, first line services and dealing with customers and their enquiries.  It is why I like my job.
But it is important to find some time to concentrate and I have to make a conscious effort to do this because I’m efficient at multi-tasking (if there is such a thing) and rapid task changing and skimming across the surface of what needs doing.  I’m solution driven so my default way of working is to look at a situation and find the quickest, most straightforward way of resolving it.  But is this the most productive and efficient way – or the best way for me as far as my thinking and reflecting is concerned?  Probably not…so it is work in progress to find more of those quiet Fridays to change the way I work and take a step back from the conversations.

doordoordoordoordoordoordoor

 

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December update

December update – we’re nearly there at the end of semester.
Last day of exams is 16th December so that is the final day for students.
Then we have a week of ‘normal’ working up until Friday 23rd December.

So, things that have been happening:

Monitoring of the study spaces

Managing the Learning Commons

Staffing – new posts for Customer Services Assistant and Customer Services Supervisor

IT Helpdesk documentation and procedures updated

ELISA visits and ACLIP programme

CSE networking

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Communications, staffing, training…

Communications Group meeting – for November we need to promote some library related events such as Book Week Scotland, raise awareness of new books and resources ‘Resource of the week’? Create content for the digital displays especially in the Learning Commons and look at content for ‘You said, we did’ posters etc.

Staffing – evening and weekend staffing is sorted out now although we still have a vacancy for lunchtime cover at the Learning Commons.  There are also some secondments that have required documentation submitting and there is a possible vacancy coming up.

On going training on the usual things including the Library Management System and the IT related tasks that Service Desk staff need to carry out.  Plus some university wide online training on information security and governance etc.

Stock relegation (weeding) is continuing at a pace, mainly due to my prompting and the fact that we have a full complement of staff at weekends now.

fridaylibrary

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Autumn

The library building, while needing some updating and improving, is a great place and is always busy with students.  One of the best things about it is it’s location on campus amid beautiful gardens and grounds.

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Semester 1 so far

We’re now at the end of October and at the end of week 7.   The time goes incredibly quickly without a chance to think about what is happening.

The beginning of semester went well especially with the opening of our Learning Commons.  This is a space in the main part of the university that is being managed by Information Services and staffed on a daily basis by the Customer Services Team.  It is part of the library but at a separate location – no books but study spaces of various types including group areas and rooms. It looks really great and is popular.

We’re there from 11.00am – 4.00pm to answer enquiries in the same way as we do at the Library Service Desk.

hwu_0123

The new Library Management System is working well although, as expected,we have had lots of configuration tweaks to make after going live and also on-going training for staff.  It’s a matter of everyone getting used to it and using new procedures (not trying to replicate previous practices!).  The evening and weekend staff have had to do a lot of learning on the job but we’re all getting there.

 

 

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Manic Monday…

Monday, a packed day of meetings and things to sort out

  • Weekly catch up meeting with Service Desk Supervisors including rotas and procedures for the new Learning Commons
  • Meeting with the security firm who provide coverage in the library building during 24/7 opening which starts from the beginning of semester through to mid-December
  • Discussion regarding Alma (Library Management Platform training) for Customer Services Team and related teams before the beginning of semester
  • Meeting regarding communication of developments with the Library Management platform – relevant and timely communication for users, staff and students, and also for Information Services staff
  • Meeting of operational board of Learning Commons
  • Pre-handover meeting for project board of Library Management Platform
  • And then…after 5 o’clock, catch up with Evening Librarian Supervisors and shortlisting for Customer Services Team vacancies
  • 8 o’clock – library closed and home time 🙂
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Monday – no meetings…

A Monday and no meetings so a chance to catch up on tasks
1. Social media – quick check of twitter feed and Facebook page.  I do have alerts for them set up so shouldn’t miss anything but I don’t post to them over weekends.  Added some quick posts and checked for anything interesting.  Scheduled some posts about the power hour sessions that are coming up this week (Information Services training sessions).
2. Sent emails to various people in my team to suggest some training opportunities that are available and signed up for a couple of sessions myself
3. Checked up on the IT Helpdesk temp that we have working for us at the moment – had a chat with him to make sure he is ok with everything and knows who to ask if he needs support.  Chased up a few outstanding requests.  Sorted forms.
4. Authorised holidays and checked the HR system for sickness and absence records
5. Emails…
6. Wrote up the notes from the Service Improvement Group meeting that I chaired last week.  Had a think about how we are going to tackle the next stage of the changes that need to be implemented. Circulated notes, actions and suggested next steps.  Need to put a date through for a meeting.
7.  Talked to the Information Assistants about the tasks and activities they are up to and the tasks that I would like them to do.  Asked them about shelving and how we are keeping a record of work flow.
8.  Confirmed details of a visit to Uni of Edinburgh library for some of the Library Assistants
9. Wrote up some PDRs from last week with review statements and confirmed objectives for forward job plans
10.  Liaised with Subject Librarian and Resource Manager about a user enquiry that was taking up lots of resource and time
11. Helped on the Library IT Helpdesk as there was a queue as I was passing – mainly password issues and also staff wanting to change email set-up on mobile devices due to change to O365
12. Emails…
13. Talked to evening staff as they began their evening shift as Evening librarian not here and updated them on things that have happened during the day

The good thing about days when I don’t have meetings is that I can make a bit of time to talk to staff and just generally be about the place to see what’s happening.  It works well for me on a Monday as it gives me a chance to sort problems out at the beginning of the week and set tasks and get feedback.

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