An update on my day in the library yesterday: What an April Fools Day that was.
We had been told that major maintenance to the university's network was going to take place Saturday morning, but all services important to the library would be back up by noon. Library opens at 1 p.m. - not a drama, right? Hah!
Get there at 12.30 to find that services are NOT back up, loans desk staff start frantically activating their backup system so they can at least issue books. But what was I going to do without a catalogue, access to databases, yea to the internet itself? Zilch, nada, nichts, zip. Before we could get a sign at the front door organised, letting people know the situation, it was opening time, students streaming in. For the next nearly two hours I would need to field phone calls from students trying to access library services from home, students in the library asking me when services will be restored. Meanwhile I can't even answer the simplest reference question: Do we have such and such a book and what is the call number. The catalogue, the key to our entire collection, is not available. Aaargh!
Despite this, people seemed to find alternative activities: some found books and journals by browsing the shelves (!), and others used the workstations to type up essays and assignments. It was with great relief when the system came back up shortly before 3 p.m. and I was able to announce this over the library's public address system.
So, zen-like was not how I would describe the first half of yesterday's shift.