So, What Do You Do?

As I was contemplating what to write my blog post about I found myself looking over my computer and out into the lab (I have a pretty sweet view), thinking about those that I work with and how they really make my job enjoyable. Then my thoughts wandered to my job and what I do. As you know, when you meet new people small talk often gets you to the question “so what do you do?” Often I say that I work in a library in the Preservation Department. This often requires a bit more of an explanation, so I usually give a simple answer – we fix damaged books. And depending on who the person is, I might go a little deeper.

My view of the lab
My view of the lab

My official title is Preservation Assistant. I know what you all are thinking – what the heck does that mean? It means I do a little of this and a little of that, and no two days are the same. A good portion of my job requires a computer. I am in charge of ordering supplies for the lab from various vendors. Most of the time, I can look back at our inventory spreadsheet to see where we had ordered something from in the past, but sometimes it could be a new item that requires me to do some searching online for the best vendor. Along with this comes taking care of our department’s budget. Gotta keep those numbers in line! My talents don’t reside on that side of my brain, so I am thankful our budget is in Excel which does the math for me. Along those lines, I also make sure our department’s electronic stat sheet is running smoothly as well as enter in our student’s stats as well as monitoring our student hours. I also make replacement pages for books that are missing pages, which often requires me to submit requests for copies or an actual book from our ILL department and either photocopy or scan the pages when they arrive. I also aid our Digital Initiatives department in the production of images for some of our special pages on the Digital Collections website.

One of my other duties is checking our building’s data loggers on a regular basis and monitoring the changes in temperature and humidity. We are currently using Smart Reader 2 dataloggers and eClimate Notebook, although we hope to move to wireless data loggers in the near future. I am also known as the Bug Lady since I monitor the IPM pheremone traps throughout the library and at our library storage building – have to keep those critters under control!

As for work out in our lab, I am the go-to person when an item needs to be matted (I really like to mat things even though strangely it makes me a nervous wreck). I also use our CoLibri book covering system to cover certain books for Special Collections as well as general collections books that have unique bindings and/or cutouts on the cover.

That is just a quick glance at some of my duties as Preservation Assistant. It’s quite the hodge-podge of duties, but I really enjoy the variety. I look forward to coming to work nearly every day (I will admit that the super cold temps we are having right now make me want to just snuggle in bed) and being around my coworkers and seeing what the day has in store.

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