library day in the life 7.1

I am the Librarian for Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the Librarian for Anthropology, Archaeology, and Religion, based in the Young Research Library at UCLA. This week, I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life Project because:

  1. It seems like a fun thing to do.
  2. I don’t have enough things to do. (Not!)
  3. I’m trying to be do more creative things, including blogging (even if it is about work).
  4. People just have no idea what librarians do. (Sometimes, even I don’t know what is I do, though whatever it is sure keeps me busy much more than 40 hours a week.)

Okay, that seems like a really boring way to start a post; I feel like I’m introducing myself at a meeting or conference. But the instructions say I should do that and, since this if my first time doing this, I should probably follow instructions. (Though, of course, nothing’s really going to happen to me if I don’t.)

Here’s the approximate breakdown of my day:

  • 2.5 hours – prepping for and participating in search committee meeting
  • 3.5 hours – LC CAPSEA country profiles review
  • 1.25 hours – monthly (though it happens more like quarterly–not that I’m complaining) meeting with supervisor
  • .50 hour – sign up for libday7, set up new Twitter account for libday7 (@librariansdream), skim tweets
  • .50 hour – APALA work: add wiki users and submit 2013 Program Committee budget
  • 1.25 hours – check emails, FB (throughout the day); eat snack & lunch (both while working)

Some of this work requires explanation, or at least I want to provide more information:

Search committees: Most librarians, especially in huge academic libraries like mine, participate in search committees, i.e., the committees in charge of selecting librarians, library staff, etc. (Search committee work includes: going through applications; narrowing down candidates; creating lists of questions for candidates and references; scheduling and conducting references; scheduling and conducting day-long interviews; writing recommendation of who to hire.)

I’m in a search committee for a librarian position. This is the second time I’ve been on a search committee in the last year. This particular search is more complicated, time-consuming, and drawn out than the other.

LC CAPSEA: The UCLA Library has excellent area studies collections. Many of the area studies librarians develop their collections with the help of the Library of Congress’ cooperative acquisitions programs (CAPs). Basically, the Library of Congress, through its overseas offices, acquire publications for participating institutions on a cost-recovery basis.

As the Southeast Asian Studies librarian, I work with CAP-Southeast Asia. The main office is in Jakarta, Indonesia, with satellite offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Bangkok, Thailand, and Manila, Philippines. They collect materials in various formats (e.g., monos, serials, A/V, ephemera) and languages (e.g., English, Southeast Asian languages, other Western languages, Chinese), according to your country profiles and/or your selections on monthly circulars. They collect for all 11 Southeast Asian countries (Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam).

Every year, I have to review and modify my country profiles because costs keep going up while our budgets keep getting cut. Even though we self-select (through circulars) for a few of the countries, we still have to do country profiles for these countries, as this will determine how much LC will charge us, since we have to pay them upfront for the upcoming fiscal year. (Their fiscal year begins in October, which is why we’re doing this now.) If we go over what’s in our LC account, then they send us a supplemental bill.

Since I started this job just over 3 years ago, I’ve been trying to do some kind of equitable distribution across the 11 countries (before, we weren’t getting anything for some countries at all), based on a tier system that I devised (i.e., Tier 1 countries get more money, but all countries have a base amount). With the rising costs and budget cuts, it’s inevitable that some topics get cut out of our profiles. I have to weigh things like this when I’m going through these profiles. Today, I was only able to go through 5 country profiles (guess you know what you’ll be reading about tomorrow).

That’s probably more information than you want, but maybe you’ll be interested, especially the CAPSEA stuff. There are, after all, only about a dozen SEA librarians in the country (collection development librarians, that is), so this information is not necessarily out there.


The highlight of my day actually came at the very beginning. When I was signing up for Library Day in the Life, I skimmed through the list of participants, and there are two that are my friends (at least on FB). The first, Leo Lo, wasn’t a surprise because he’s pretty active in social networking and 2.0 kinds of stuff, and I knew that about him.

The second, however, was a big and pleasant surprise. Áine Lynch is a librarian at the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown in Dublin, Ireland. I met her in May when I went on a photography holiday in the Andalucía region of Spain; she was my housemate for that entire week. The two of us shared a 3-bedroom, 2-bath apartment in Torrox Pueblo. I was really tickled by the fact that I ended up with another librarian for a housemate. (For the record, we were the only librarians in that group of about 20 photographers and painters.)

Anyway, when I was looking at the list of participants, I was shocked and excited to see her name. I guess I didn’t really think of this project as being international in scope. But I was also thrilled to see that she has a library-related blog, Gutenberg’s View, which I skimmed through this morning. I have to say that I was impressed by what little I read; her writing style is engaging — informative, but fun and concise (unlike this post!). Even though we spent a whole week together, we were focusing on learning photography and taking pictures and didn’t really talk as much about librarianship. So, I’m glad to see this side of her. So, thanks, Library Day in the Life!


This post is really long, and it’s almost midnight (it’s taking me 2 1/2 hours to write this!). I just want to say that I’m glad that my email was surprisingly light today so that I was able to do a lot of what I set out to do today. Oftentimes, I feel like all I do is read emails and do associated work, so I’m glad today wasn’t like that. I’m also glad that this project is happening this week because it actually gets to highlight what I do as an area studies librarian (and this isn’t always the case). Since I think I may be the only area studies librarian participating in this project, it’s good to represent in that way.



  1. Hi Jade, what a great post! It's really cool to read about what you do because it's so different from our little library. That's a big area you cover – SE Asia, Pacific Is, Aus & NZ. Yikes! Even in sunny LA that's a really long day! Look forward to reading more 🙂

  2. Thanks, Aine. I can't seem to write as concisely as you. I prefer to read your entries. They're much more upbeat. 🙂

  3. I just discovered your blog, and have enjoyed glancing over your library day in a life posts. I work on the receiving and copy cataloging end of the LC monographs from South Asia (among many other things!), so I know a little bit about where you're coming from on that end. Because of my work with the South Asian materials, I served on the search committee last year for the Librarian for South Asia position at my library, and it was an interesting process!

  4. Thanks for visiting, Lesley. Are you at Duke? I think your South Asian Librarian also does Southeast Asia. Met him for the first time at the Southeast Asian meetings at the Association for Asian Studies conference this year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: