Going down the one person library rabbit hole

My only other co-worker is transferring to another hospital at the end of the month so I will soon becoming a truly one person library, hopefully only temporary but it could be permanent. In any case, at least for a few months I’ll be on my own.

Now I need to figure out how to organize my workday to cover two set of job duties. I have so many questions. Do I sit at the reference desk every day, or do I split my day between the reference desk and my office? I’m not full time. Do I work 4 8 hours days and one 4 hour day, or do I spread my hours evenly over 5 days?

Then comes the fun stuff – prioritizing my work. Figuring out how to balance ILLs, searches, technical issues, renewals and other library administrative tasks. Oh, and I forgot to mention the library is moving. Every task is a priority but some have more visible results than others.

Hopefully this will be a temporary situation but on the off chance it isn’t I’ll be documenting my journeys down this rabbit hole. Any comments or thoughts are more than welcome!

3 thoughts on “Going down the one person library rabbit hole”

  1. Pace yourself. Establish your hours first. I’d have set Ref hours, but you’ll find that the more fluid you are, the easier things are (eventually), so don’t be rigid about those hours. Prioritize. Make To Do lists and cross off as you go. Rely on Docline, but don’t agonize if for a while you are unable to fill ILLs–as many or as fast. You’re one person. Limit your committee participation to the key ones that provide you with opportunities to advocate for your patrons and the library (like CME, Nursing Magnet, IRB or whatever). Do the best you can. Good luck!

  2. Ask yourself about those “sacred cows.” Do you need a reference desk? Perhaps you should make a sign directing people to your office, and if it’s asked about, explain that with the loss of the other person, adjustments must be made. Regarding your hours- can you look back and see a pattern? When do questions come in? Is there a lull on Friday afternoons, that you could either take the time off — or use it to get lots done, uninterrupted? Wishing you all the best. As a solo, I understand 🙂

  3. As a solo librarian for 24 years, these are some things I’ve learned: Get in early and do research first when the Internet is fastest; walk around and be visible; always carry an iPad, tablet or notebook; take a lunch break (not at your desk!); forget prioritizing because now everything is important – just work through it all; eliminate or say no; automate as much as you can; maintain a robust, easy to navigate website (it is 24/7, you are not);invest time and effort in what is most significant for your users. Enjoy each day! 🙂

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