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Library related events, questions and links: My professional life on a page

Library Day in the Life – Wednesday

So… today started off OK, relatively calmly… my train was on time which is always a good start. Was trying to mug up on statistics but the chap next to me was talking a lot on the phone, so that made it tricky concentrating.

My working day began with a read through of the FT. We don’t have this online so we still read it and send photocopies of articles to the lawyers. I maintain that this cannot be done effectively without a cup of tea to accompany the task. It generally takes about 45 minutes to get the articles copied and sent out.

Once I’d done that and washed the ink off my fingers I started a conversation about the upcoming trainees’ legal research sessions. In previous years we’ve run a two-hour class with them designed to introduce new starters to the library, our print and online holdings. Now we’re in a new building we don’t have the space to do that, and as we’re trying to integrate our presentations more with the rest of the induction, this is changing. Rather a lot of to-ing and fro-ing happened this morning as the PSL booked to co-present has pulled out. I’m meeting our head of L&D tomorrow to finalise our plans. That contretemps took nearly an hour to resolve. Later on in the morning, I gave two new paralegals a quick overview of the functions available on Bloomberg. This just covered some of the basics of navigating around the system and a few of the topics for which Bloomberg is useful. Then on to run my daily vessel and news searches. I squeezed in a brief email conversation about the next BIALL MSC meeting and the salary survey for 2010.

Next stop lunch, when I drafted an entry for the SLA Europe blog on last night’s quiz alongside sending a few PhD related emails, and a dash to the shops for life’s essentials (bread and milk: for without tea and toast how do we function in the morning?)

Back on the enquiry desk this afternoon and a bunch of very interesting questions. First, to see if some conference proceedings  were available for one trainee. I enjoy this kind of question as it gives me a chance to flex non-legal research muscles, even though I couldn’t find what I had been asked for I am confident I had left done everything save emailing the authors and asking. An associate came along in person with a query about finding out the solvency status of overseas companies; she stayed at the desk and we went through the available options together. Another journal request meant requesting a volume back from off-site store; that will arrive tomorrow morning. There was an interesting discussion about conflicts when the fourth lawyer this week asked questions about a particular company; we discussed what we should do in this situation with our conflicts manager. As a result I learned a bit more about how we manage client conflict, meaning, is it possible for one firm to act for both sides in a dispute? Over the course of the afternoon I answered many more enquiries with only the briefest interlude for other things. Let’s just say I enjoyed the large lump of fruit cake I scoffed at about 4pm.

I spent most of the afternoon playing catch up trying to work, record time before forgetting the details of a query and respond in a timely fashion to the incoming queries. There was definitely a shipping focus to the work I did today. But by 5.30 I had answered all the questions posed, recorded most of my time and noted what was still outstanding. I made a sharp exit at 5.35; milled around at Liverpool Street and was enjoying a well earned gin and tonic at Batty Towers at 7.15pm.

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Filed under: Personal narrative, , , ,

Library Day in the Life – Tuesday

This will be a short entry as I only really did three things of note:

1) I prepared the firm’s daily update; to the general agreement of the team and a passing paralegal it’s the dullest update in a long time. I thought Wednesday was the no-news day!

2) I spent the rest of the day mostly doing number crunching on the various stats we have from various database providers. All seem to measure and record slightly different metrics in slightly different ways; it takes some time to pull useful and comparable information from the data we get sent.

3) I went to the SLA Europe Winter Warmer quiz and joined the spectacularly losing team. Reports from TFPL, and SLA Europe have now been published.

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Library day in the life – round 4: Monday

I am Senior Research Librarian for the London office of the US law firm Reed Smith.

For once, my Monday morning train was bang on time and I was in the office just after 9am. It’s my session on the enquiry desk this morning so once my tea was brewing I logged in at the desk. We have an actual separate desk in the library where people do come and ask questions. It’s about three metres from my allocated desk so generally people do just come to me when there’s no-one in the official hot seat.

Checked through the emails in our inbox and queries in the web-based request system too. Dealt first with an urgent query sent late on Friday evening asking for a definition around the status of the Channel Islands. I remembered a similar query from a while back so I searched for that as starter. It wasn’t quite the same, but finding the answer did 50% of the thinking for me. Once that was out of the way I cleared up a few easier requests for cases and journal articles.

On Friday I had helped with a last minute request for authorities for a bundle. One of the case citations seemed to have caused the trainee some consternation. This morning I drafted a brief email to him mentioning the online Cardiff Index; that we have Justcite and the library’s catalogue to help locate which series we have via online access. Since it took a fair amount of my time too on Friday I also needed to ask for a client/ matter number against which I can record my time .We record our time on the same system the lawyers use.

Following on from this I revisited the schedule we have for the new trainee lawyers who start next week; I arrange library inductions and training on our databases for them all. I do this in conjunction with our Learning & Development team to try to integrate the library sessions into the induction rather than being seen as an optional extra. Just as I had begun to think about wording for the calendar invitations the phone rang; and I was then involved for half an hour making sure a database add-in was working for one of the firm’s partners. That meant working with the IT team and luckily I spoke with someone who knew about the circumstances of the original installation.

More tea and a few more quick answers sent and I was into the final half hour of the morning. The phone stayed quiet and the emails dried up giving me a chance to update the time and enquiry records for the day so far. At 1.30 I handed over to my colleague and escaped.

I try to fit a short run in twice a week; I generally reckon that I can run for 20 minutes and still fit in changing, showering and eating lunch. Today I ran a mile at a fast pace (well, for me, anyway, a bit less than 9 minutes) and took a slow jog/ walk back to the office.

Back at my desk I ran through the daily checks I do for various people – updating vessel locations; assessing new alerts; searches of websites not elsewhere indexed. Then I had a fun meeting with our IT trainer who showed me how the interactive whiteboard in the training room works; most of the database sessions are going to be held there so I reckoned it was time I got to grips with it so we could use it if we wanted to.

Just as I once again returned to my desk a request for information from the business development team arrived. My manager and I split this between us and I ran a couple of litigation searches, saving the results in various formats so my colleague could see the available options to drill down through the data. Another quick update for my time entry and it was nearing  4pm. I briefly thought about database usage statistics but decided it iwas a bit far on the day to start number crunching, but a good time to try again with the preparation for the trainees’ session. I was a good way through this by 5.45pm when I stopped work on the day job and turned my attention to an imminent session with fellow CLIG members Neil Stewart and Olwen Walker. Both came over to the office here and Neil demonstrated some of the features of the website; principally allowing us to send out messages to our members. This took until 6.30 or so when I packed up and headed home via Liverpool Street.

Arrived home at about 8:15; had an unexpected trip to my parents to collect a spare key after I broke one of mine in the lock… no idea how… and did a few little jobs about the flat. A quick sit down to catch up with the Daily Show from Friday and that was about it for the day.

Filed under: Personal narrative,

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