So my second full week as a trainee library assistant has come to a close and it’s been great. I feel a lot more settled in now compared to the first week, which is only natural, why would I be settled after the first week..? I can now navigate the building without getting lost and I have successfully completed some librarian duties as well, wahey! I did leave for home one evening feeling rather defeated by a certain book treasure hunt. I was tasked with finding a selection of books, most of which were deemed to be harder than usual to find. After searching for them on the catalogue (which I managed without any issues thankfully) and 45 minutes of trying to find them on the shelves, I had found a fantastic, grand total of 2… and then it was home time. I told myself I would get back to it in the morning and I would find them! After some swift reassurances from a colleague in the morning, I knew I was being hard on myself considering I’ve been in the post for just over a week and I have never worked in a library before. I knew this especially when my colleague also had problems finding the one I had searched for for over half an hour. Since then I have found the rest on the list, and have completed three more searches which I have enjoyed so much! It was literally a treasure hunt – no one should be paid to have as much fun as I had. I did learn a few valuable lessons: I can’t always do everything right the first time, it takes time to learn your way around a library and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It was a very valuable task as I feel I now pretty much know my way around the shelves and I will be confident enough to assist users in finding their materials when the time comes. I have been treated twice now to lunch from my lovely manager – I will get her back and pay for her food at some point! I also invigilated on a Chemistry exam which was pretty cool, I felt like a powerful super villain. I shadowed one of the subject librarians on the enquiry desk. They basically assist students with any questions they may have regarding their catalogue searches, subject content, directions to the toilets etc. It is something I need to pay particular attention to considering this will be one of my duties very soon. Safe to say I am a little nervous about this but I am sure it will be perfectly fine. I started properly on the front desk this week as well, so I feel once I have a little more experience facing our users directly on the front desk (with the help of the other members of staff), assisting them on my own on the enquiry desk shouldn’t be a problem. Due to the time of year I am being gradually exposed to the front desk as it is now the Christmas vacation so the library is not as busy as it would be during term time. This is good as I have more time to think for myself and be talked through the processes without a host of people waiting to be served. However, when they all return after Xmas, all hell will break loose… IT’S EXAMINATIONS AND ASSESSMENT PERIOD…Bring it on!
Receiving the call informing me that they would like to offer me the graduate trainee library assistant position was the best and most unexpected call! Interviews have always terrified me no matter how much I prepare for them and it’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to attend an interview for a position that I was passionate about and one that I really wanted so I was nervous and I anticipated the competition would be tough. But thankfully I got the job and I have just completed my first week in the position! The first week has been great so far. I was introduced to so many people and unfortunately my brain isn’t capable of remembering all their names. I think I am doing alright with that so far though. After some fleeting moments of confusion and pretending to know where I was going, I have accustomed myself to the building and I pretty much know my way around now but I won’t be saying goodbye to my trusty map anytime soon. It’s the same with every new job or new situation, I hate being the new person! But everyone has been super friendly and welcoming and I have loads of support from the library staff. I genuinely feel that if I am stuck or lost that there will be someone there to help. I’ve been introduced to all the different departments that I will be working in over the course of the traineeship and it is great to be able to speak to a wide variety of information professionals about their experiences and to be able to ask them for advice as a trainee. I am especially excited to help out in the Special Collections department as rare and special materials is an area I would be particularly interested in learning more about. I am also looking forward to getting stuck into the work, especially on the counter with the customer service team. I did make a rookie directional mistake when dealing with the books…That’s all I will say about that. I do however feel that I can forgive myself and I don’t need to be embarrassed about mistakes because I have very little library experience and they knew this. I am there to be taught and to learn the ways of the librarians and of course, everybody has to start somewhere.