Thursday, May 31, 2007

Subbing tonight at a different library from the one where I normally work. A very nice change. It's just a few hours, but to see how things work in branch libraries every once in a while is good for me. I used to work in branches before I moved to the main library, and I appreciate both in so many ways.


-In a branch, you are often the only one working at the desk. At the main library, you can "ring" for back-up help and another staff person will come to assist you.

-In a branch, the area is smaller, only one desk/point-of-service, so you are overseeing the entire library and doing everything anyone asks of you. At the main library, I am just a circulation desk worker and don't answer reference questions or place items on request for patrons.

-In a branch, if something goes wrong (from the toilet overflowing to an angry, screaming patron), you are the decision maker for solving the problem. At the main library, there's always a supervisor to make those decisions.

There are benefits to both positions. Branch staff have autonomy, but main library staff have quantity. To call in sick at the main library means the schedule might be tight--to do so in a branch might mean finding a substitute last minute. To not get a break at the main library would mean you get an extra break the next day, but to not get one in a branch (due to lack of staff) is a normal thing.

Out of break time for now!

1 comment:

Simon said...

That post reminds me of working Customer Service back at "the store." If I was the last person working, often from 9 to close, it meant no break, no leaving for any reason, no one else to help customers (even if it meant spendint 15 minutes to do a money transfer while people waited to rent movies)...ok, time to get out of the past. That was years ago!


Anyway, great post, Beth. Glad to hear the pool is up and running too!