January. JANUARY ALREADY!?

I have come to the realisation that I am really bad at blogging! I’ve been reading some of the previous Grad Trainee’s blogs and some of them are so detailed and leave me feeling rather thin on the ground. My last blog post was 22 days ago. Amy, what are you playing at!? It has been Christmas though so I will let myself off the hook. I have also realised that I have a memory like a  goldfish and keep forgetting all the great things I’ve done so far. I am attempting to keep a list and obviously blogging regularly would probably remedy this…I must learn. I am going to attempt to summarise my first month here for you but be patient with me, chances are it’s going to be a list of Amy’s fish brain drivel in bullet point form. Actually chances are the duration of my blogging career is going to follow a similar format;

  • I was made aware when starting this position that I would have a considerably shorter time here due to the recruitment restrictions imposed by the University last year. It is a year long position but as I started in December and it occurred to me that I would be starting University in September, this leaves me with only 10 months. I have been reassured that everything will be squeezed in for me and I will be able to experience all the aspects of work that previous GTs have. I do not doubt that this will happen as everyone is eager to get me booked in so I can assist them and get experience all all areas. I’ve only just started using the calender which everyone can now see and use to request my time. I’ve felt so left out as I joined the team just as they were moving away from the old calender software, Meeting Maker and migrating towards Outlook. I now have a bookable timetable which I’m sure will soon fill up. With it being Christmas vacation, the library not being as busy and people not actually being aware of my availability, the workload hasn’t been massive.
  • Lots of chats and one to one meetings introducing me to the library and the different services everybody offers. Areas that I am particularly interested in include the International Group, Disabled User Service and Special Collections. Areas which I am less familiar with and will be very useful for me include working with Polly and Satu looking at the library systems and e-resources.
  • Attended two ASG meetings. The first of which was in my first week. It was a little bit scary and blew my mind a little. There were lots of words and acronyms I definitely did not understand – basically they were all speaking Librarianish. I am currently in the process of learning Librarianish and I am hoping to be fluent come September. It was insightful and it gave me a good idea of how the work of individuals contributes to the overall success of the library. It also highlighted many of the real issues facing library staff on a day to day basis, including the ridiculous cost of journals (this specifically caused a mind explosion). And biscuits, there are always biscuits at meetings which takes the experience to a whole new level.
  • Shredding, shredding and more shredding. I actually like shredding though so it isn’t a problem and the shredder is a beast.
  • Trawling through ‘The Great Wall of Darwin’. This is a massive shelf load of books that were donated my a retired lecturer. I am checking which books we have in stock and deciding whether they are worth keeping and adding to stock. I have made a significant dent and would like to get them all cleared out as soon as possible so Kirsty can have some office space back.
  • I am still trying to get my head around databases. Just looking through them and trying to establish the best way to search them. I especially need to learn this for the health, science, technology and engineering subjects.
  • I’ve helped Ellie out with the Commonweal Collection which is a wonderful collection ran entirely by volunteers concerning peace and non-violent social change. Whenever I get a spare moment I tidy the shelves and put away any stray books. I hope I can be involved in any future work days as some of the trustees are elderly now and it’s amazing that they come in and help out – I can do the heavy lifting for them.
  • I’ve completed a few virtual learning courses such as Display Screen Equipment and Desk Safety (I never knew working in an office was so dangerous, turns out it is) and Diversity in the Workplace etc. These were tedious but they are important.
  • I helped Jennifer with a teaching session she put on for the school outreach programme which was really fun. It was a group of about 8 A-Level students preparing for a project and we were helping them to learn how to use a University Library should they need it for their project, but also for when they attend uni themselves should they choose to do so. I would definitely like to be involved in more teaching sessions put on by the subject librarians – I’ve been made aware by a few people now that library school seems to forget to teach this so it would be really useful experience to get.
  • Need to start thinking about my project…
  • Need to start thinking about library school…
  • I’ve been working with Customer Services on the Welcome Desk and I’ve really enjoyed this. It is still a little bit scary being on the front line as I am not entirely confident with the more detailed enquiries but there is always someone lovely available to help me if I get stuck and I also have the protection of my ‘Library Staff in Training’ badge should anything go horribly awry.
  • I have also been working in the back office learning how to do the stuff that no one apart from library staff realise needs to be done. I have looked at the fines disputes and lost book disputes processes and this is so interesting, I love it! The fact that people can actually accumulate hundreds of pounds worth of fines is beyond me. Some people have genuine reasons and we treat them fairly. But there are some that don’t seem to fully function as human beings. As a once frequent academic library user and now as a staff member, it is easy to forget that not everyone is familiar with how a library works and aren’t aware of the policies which are in place to make sure everyone gets fair usage of our services.
  • I was introduced to the acquisitions team which is a huge operation in itself which I completely overlooked – they do such an important job making sure users have new stock available to use. I am looking forward to learning more in this area in the upcoming year.

That’s all for now folks.

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