The days go by so fast now! I’ve been working at the MI Library for a month, and I do like what I do. Basically, I do what all librarians do (technically I am a library assistant, but most people assume if you work at a library, you are a librarian). I check materials in and out, set up new borrower accounts, shelve materials, and answer questions. I really enjoy helping the patrons find the information they need, and I am learning about all sorts of interesting intelligence sources.
Let me tell you a bit about the library where I work:
Our official name is the CW2 Christopher G. Nason Military Intelligence Library.
Almost 150,000 patrons used the library in 2008–a busy day will have 800+ people through our doors. We have Over 40,000 items, with our primary subjects being the Middle East, Terrorism, Military Science, and Intelligence. We have 50 computers, WiFi access, Cable News access, a Foreign Language Center Annex, Videos, Music, and Video Games, and free coffee and popcorn. Patrons can eat, talk, and bring their weapons in. We are not a quiet space!
Some days I feel I work at Blockbuster, because all I do is check out DVDs, but others are satisfying, like when a soldier needs to do a country risk briefing, and I help him find information about Vietnam or wherever. We all have projects to work on, and right now I am working on a few. My first one is creating a database of the documentary videos we have, searchable by subject. That way when someone says “I need a movie on Afghanistan…” we have a list to consult. I am also doing something similar with our small fiction collection, so we can search something by genre- such as mystery or sci fi. I also just came up with a project, tying in a final project for one of my classes- creating a tutorial. I don’t have eveything settled yet, but I’ll create a tutorial to help people search for information in the library.
Really, the only part I don’t like is the cleaning, and we are working on getting a cleaning crew in after we close. I think this better all around, if more money, because then we can help patrons right until we close, instead of having them not wanting to bother us cause we are vacuuming, etc. We just started a survey with the patrons, and it seems most of them love us, even though they would like MORE hours. We just aren’t staffed for that I think, Right now we are open 90 hours a week Mon-Thurs 6am-8:30 pm, Fri 6am-6pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. The local public library is only open Sunday – Monday Noon – 5:00 pm , Tuesday – Wednesday- Thursday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm and Friday – Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.
I wish I could show everyone the neat sources I’m finding, but lots of them you have to be on a .gov computer to access, or prove you are part of the intelligence community. Our training at the library is weekly “homework”, last week we were each given a different source to use, to find out information on if Israel should be worried about Iran. I was able to find an article from a banned-in-the-US Hezbollah news station (one that is proudly biased), with an interview that showed that yes, Israel should be concerned with Iran. It was neat to be able to access this stuff, although scary to read what was said.
So, yeah, like the job. I am usually very tired when I get home, so I won’t post much until my school is over with (and I”l be a Librarian with a capital L)