The second in our series of New Professionals stories is a ‘Day in the Life’ post from Mary Murray a Library Assistant in the CCAM Art Library of Galway Mayo Institute of Technology in the West of Ireland. If you would like to contribute to this series, please get in touch – drop us a line here

I’ve been meaning to do a day in the life for a while now but wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested. However it is only when you break down what you do each day you realise what skills you are using, acquiring and where you could improve.

09.00 I arrive at work and have 15 mins to myself before we open the library. This gives me a chance to set up, turn on lights, photocopiers, heating etc. and catch up on emails. I like to open every email I get because that way I don’t miss out on anything.


09.30 The morning is the best time for me to carry out any CPD related activities. This involves checking Twitter and various websites such as the Library Association of Ireland and CILIP. I’ve signed up to table of contents alerts from some LIS related journals and these come through my email so I quickly glance through any that interest me. If I’m completely honest I hate reading a full article. I would rather watch a video or listen to a podcast on new library developments than read. I’m one of the moderators on the “Rudai23” Team which is Ireland’s answer the “23 Things” course. I have a total of 20 blogs to monitor and I keep an eye on posts, tweets, while participating in the course itself.


10.30 Usually the post arrives around this time. We get daily newspapers for our staff and students to read along with any inter branch loans. We are one of four libraries within the Institute so there are a lot of items going forward and back between campuses. I send emails to inform people that their books are available to be collected. Most days we get in journals in print format. This is a great opportunity to check our subscriptions and refer any queries onto our serials librarian. I always check our online access to the specific journal at this point to make sure all links are working.


11.00 Coffee – Hello… I’m an information professional – I need caffeine!!!


11.15 The rest of the morning is spent dealing with various queries, we have the old method of scanning barcodes and stamping the date which I like – it makes me feel old school! Depending on the student, some queries can be more complicated than others. Often times, students know how to look up the catalogue and search but they may not know of a specific database that will apply to their research topic. Advanced Information Skills that I gained from my MLIS have really stood to me here. Some students may need assistance with Moodle -the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE))-  used here and while others may want assistance on how to sharpen the image on the picture they want to photocopy.


12.30 – 1.30 Lunch


1.30 After lunch can be quite busy. My colleague goes on her lunch after me so I may have to do the desk on my own. This is the student’s lunch time also so they often come in and try and get some work done. Books that come back often need to be repaired due to overuse. I often leave a few aside and when I get a chance I will repair them with book glue and relabel them and return to the shelves.


3.00 We’ve only recently introduced LibGuides to our library and I’m responsible for the Art & Design page. This gives me the opportunity to feel like a real subject librarian! A good deal of time is spent looking at other art library’s libguides to get ideas. In keeping in line with the template given, I regularly hunt for relevant websites, updates on exhibitions in the area and any other relevant information that I think students might be interested in.


4.00 Today I cleaned my desk…. not very interesting but it was a good opportunity for me go start organising my CPD. I have a folder of certificates for conference attendences, correspondences etc. and a folder for general day to day things I need to keep. This actually took a long time but it is important to keep on top of things.


4.30 Depending on the time of year I will assist in the cataloguing of the Institutes exam papers and make them available in the library website. This allows me to keep in touch with my friend MARC!!!!!… I haven’t catalogued since my previous position so it’s nice to do some every now and again.


5.30 – 6.00 Home time – depending on the rota. Any tasks left to do I try and finish but usually leave until the morning. One last glance at the email and then I head off!!!


Mary Murray



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