Library Day in the Life 8

I had high hopes for blogging my conference experiences each day this week, then ending the week with a post for Library Day in the Life. However, my library life was so busy, I only managed the one conference post. Hopefully I’ll do some catch up over the weekend!

This week was particularly busy because I returned to work after six workdays away (10 total days!) between ALA Midwinter and the Horizon retreat. This week was less about new projects and more about catching up. I mostly have my feet on the ground for my job at this point, so next week hopefully I’ll catch up on the things I need to do for my professional associations. As for Library Day in the Life, here are the major accomplishments of the week:

Catch up from Midwinter

Monday was relatively unscheduled. I always attempt to have my first day back be a relatively light one in terms of meetings, and was lucky enough to make that happen this go around. With a relatively light schedule, I managed to get through my email inbox… but not all my tasks. I did, however, have enough time to list and prioritize tasks in the course of the week, so I’m about ready to hit the ground running on that.


My credit-based class met twice this week. I am experimenting with a “flipped classroom” in which students get through content before coming to class and we use the class to do the work that would normally be homework. It’s an experiment that I’m excited about because it allows me to repurpose content from my online class, is based on strong pedagogical theory, will allow me to work more closely with my students, and will show me things that could be improved in both the online content and the assignments. However, it’s an experiment, and meant that classes were much more intense for me than they normally would be. I also had to grade a quiz and two homework assignments this week.

Candidates on Campus

We are currently in the process of hiring people for a few key positions. We had candidates on campus for jobs and I listened to a few presentations. Nothing else really appropriate to say here, except that I always enjoy those presentations and hearing from people in the field.

Teaching Surveys

I am in the final stages of interviewing everyone who is involved with instruction in my library as part of my position as Head of Instruction. I’m doing this to get a sense of what is working well, what people would like, what visions they have for the program, and to capture issues I might not be aware of. I’ve been at this process for six months, and that it has taken so long to get to the final individuals is a clear indicator of just how busy we all are. In the end, I will have interviewed 25 people, about half the library, which shows just how integrated our instruction program is. I expected to pick up several assignments along the way as well as project ideas, but instead I’ve been struck at some of the common themes that have come up in how people think about instruction in their larger role, so I’m sensing that I’ll need to focus on voicing those themes in the near future.


And as with any library week, there were many one-off things that came up. We had a Reference and Instruction team meeting and an assessment meeting where we worked on our LibQual implementation, I participated in a biweekly faculty book club that’s working through a book on critical thinking, I did an hour on the  reference desk, there was a lot of email to respond to, I put out a few fires, I shared information from various meetings with people who could act on the information, I purchased materials for one of my departments, and spent time planning presentations for next week. You know, typical library work.

Day Off

The most unusual thing this week was the day I took off with John. We’d noted that with the little one around, we rarely get long blocks of time to hangout or chat like we used to have on a daily basis, so we’re experimenting with taking a day of time off every month or so to just spend the time together. It was really good! It gave us the chance to catch up on what was going on with each others’ work, things we’d been thinking about, and gave us a chance to go to some of the places we really enjoyed visiting in the past that aren’t too toddler friendly. It was a good experiment and I think we’ll keep it up.

Now that it’s the weekend, I’m really getting down to business on two presentations I am giving this week: one to faculty and one to the Board of Visitors, about our online class. Look for those slides on SlideShare soon!

So, it was a really good week, and I made some good progress on things, but the task list grew by more tasks than I removed, so I have my work cut out for me next week!

My name is Lauren Pressley. This is where I think out loud, document what I'm doing, and share the things that I like. I'm the Director for Learning Environments at Virginia Tech University Libraries and author of a few books. This blog focuses on libraries, education, information, & the internet. When not at work or blogging, I spend most of my time with John and our son, Leif.

2 thoughts on “Library Day in the Life 8

  1. I feel like I don’t get as much of a chance to catch up with you these days, so it’s highly interesting to read what you’ve been up to this week :-)

  2. I’m using the inverted classroom technique for my semester-long class and I love it, even though it’s so much more prep. For today, I had my students watch some video clips and read some Web pages on a topic in advance (I’d planned to actually create and record a coherent lecture, but the best laid plans). Then I got to spend the whole class period having them do hands-on activities which applied the content they’d read. It worked fabulously.

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