Long time, no blog…

Whooaaah this year is going fast. I don’t even know when I last blogged but it certainly wasn’t in 2016. A very belated happy new year to you! I am now in semester 2 at uni and have been working in my new job for 4 months. Here are some of my thoughts about my career in general at the moment…

  • Going all the way to Sheffield is a pain in the ar*e… literally. It’s SOOOOO far away and the amount of sitting down I have to do on uni days is almost unbearable. 2 hour train journey + 2 hour lecture + 2 hours lunching and studying + 3 hour lecture + 2 hour train journey = so much bum on seat time. I never knew how fidgety I was until this course began
  • I did very well on the technical Information Retrieval module and I don’t quite know how… it was so hard. The one thing I learnt was that IR systems are insane and those people that build them are wizards
  • Currently studying Public & Youth Libraries and Researching Social Media. I am designing a prison library (unlimited budget) at the moment and it’s really fun.
  • I’m a strapped for cash student once again and I have to work two jobs to stay afloat but I love it. Both my jobs are really really great. It’s so nice seeing all of the old regulars at the Polished Knob and it’s good to know that I am going to have something to do over the summer/ will be able to save some money.
  • My library job is very hard and sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing.
  • Working part-time is actually really difficult. My working week starts on a Wednesday so I always have a lot of catching up to do and sometimes feel out of the loop and snowed under by the things that have been happening whilst I was away. I rarely feel like I am on top of things but when I do get on top of things it feels like the greatest achievement ever. Seriously.
  • But I love my library job because it is challenging in a good way. I am learning something new every day and I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to work as a professional librarian so early on in my career. The team I work with are so helpful to me and I think we all work really well together.
  • Managing student’s behaviour is the hardest part. It would be a dream if I could just do all of the book and resource related tasks and not have to tell students to behave every second but alas… teenagers.  There should be some sort of module that deals with this on library courses because this is something that I find very challenging as I’ve never done it before.
  • They’re not all bad and some of them are really sweet and funny. They are the reason I am there and buying books and resources and helping them to access and use them really is the best part.
  • The worst part is when you show them a fantastic resource and when your back is turned, they simply reopen that Wikipedia page they had just been looking at… utterly devastated!
  • I may have lost that battle but I will not lose the infolit war  🙂
  • I won a raffle and I am going to the UKSG Conference in Bournemouth in April and I’m so excited 1) because I am going to a conference 2) because I’ve never been to Bournemouth 3) because it’s a mini holiday yay!

 

Toodles for now.

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Thing 21: Infographics

https://infograph.venngage.com/p/44226/library-social-media-top-tips

I really like infographics. It is one of the best ways of displaying information simply and interestingly. Check out my attempt at creating one using Venngage which is a free infographic creator. It is really easy to use and there are loads of themes and icons available for you to use. I didn’t use any stats or data, it’s just a social media top tips infograph. I can’t download my infographic with Venngage unfortunately so next time I think I will use easelly, it looks just as good and that functionality is really important you are going to use it in the library.

I think infographics could be very useful in the library especially as a way of getting important information to students. I think information that is colourful, attractive and gets to the point quickly is more likley to be read in the first place.

rudai

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

Thing 20 Presentations

Here is the link to my job interview Prezi  

And here is the link to my Grad Trainee Prezi 


Presentations used to absolutely terrify me! Especially when I first started at university. I remember doing really badly in one presentation and then I hated them. Standing up in front of people and speaking is an understandably scary thing for many people and unless you are the most confident person in the world, you are bound to be nervous.

The key thing to presenting I’ve learnt is to prepare like crazy! It is very obvious to the audience if you haven’t prepared and I guess the thing that is the scariest about presenting in front of people is not being able to speak confidently about something. If you have really prepared and practiced then there is no need to worry (apart from the normal nerves of course).

Since university I have done my fair share of presentations and I think you only get better with experience. Uni is the best time to practice presentations and become confident when doing them. You have a sympathetic audience but it is also quite high pressured and nerve-wracking at the same time but the best thing is that you get feedback on how to improve. If you are no longer at uni and you have a presentation you need to prepare for, I would recommend boring a friend or partner with it. Rehearse it in front of them and ask them to critique you honestly. Going over the presentation several times helps you to look more prepared on the day. Practice makes perfect as they say!

Many job interviews nowadays include a short presentation assessment as part of the process and in my opinion these are the worst kind of presentations but then again, I prefer them to the actual interviewing part. If you prepare and do a memorable presentation you’re halfway there to securing the position. If you can come across as confident and friendly when speaking in front of the interviewers you are going to impress them. I was very worried when I was told I had to do a presentation in front of the entire library service at Bradford University at the end of my graduate traineeship: I remember thinking I’d made a terrible mistake in accepting the position! In reality it was the best experience and now I’ve done that I think I would be happy to attempt an even bigger audience… a conference even!

My top presentation tips:

  • Prepare – seems obvious but make sure you know what you are taking about inside out. Don’t just learn what you are going to say because you may be asked to elaborate on certain points or asked tricky questions after the presentation is over.
  • Practice – Reading from your notes is never a good presentation look… Learn what you need to say and practice. Use your notes as prompts rather than reading from them. If you have presented it over and over again, this should be fairly straight forward.
  • Don’t put too much information on a slide and definitely don’t overload it with words. People want to listen to you, they don’t want to have to read! Use the information on the slides as key points on which to elaborate and build upon. Quotes are good though, everyone likes a good quote right (just make sure the person you are quoting actually said it/ you know where the quote came from).
  • Make eye contact – speak to your audience but don’t pay too much attention to what they are doing. Don’t panic because they are making notes.
  • Try something different… PowerPoint presentations can be a little boring. My manager was so pleased when I did a prezi instead of a PowerPoint at my interview. 
  • Have some water handy in case your mouth gets dry
  • Prepare a backup plan! What happens if your presentation is on a USB stick and you lose it on your way… Email it to yourself, store it on Dropbox… anything!
  • Don’t worry and enjoy it! 
I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

Thing 17 – Reflective Practice

Using the Gibbs Reflective Cycle model to reflect upon on the work I am doing in my job is going to be a really useful way of monitoring how well I am doing in my new role. It will be especially useful as most of what I am doing is actually all new to me so there is going to be a lot that I can learn from my experiences.

When I think of reflective practice, for some reason I think about it being a task that takes a long time but I guess if you do it properly and follow this model then all you really need is a couple of lines for each point and then you will have something very useful for yourself and your team.

I can’t really do a full analysis of a specific event or project yet because I am still settling in but I will have a bit of a go. I started my new job at the start of October. I am a Learning Facilitator at a Sixth Form College library in Manchester. Myself and another lady job share and there are two other Learning Facilitators and an administrator on the team. We are responsible for the running of the library service, collection development, curriculum liaison etc in the college. So far it has been both exciting and challenging. As my graduate trainee experience is the main library experience I have I sometimes feel that I don’t have enough experience to be doing what I am doing but I am just overthinking things because I am doing everything perfectly fine (I think). I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment with the amount of work and responsibility I now have in this role but this is also a positive thing.

It is really good to actually be working in a library, nevermind in a professional role. I couldn’t have imagined this time a year ago that I would be at university studying for my Masters degree and working in a College. It is fantastic experience and I can learn more/ develop the skills that I am learning at university. The team recently went through a big restructure so another great thing about this job is that I am able to help shape the library at the college which again is another great experience. New ideas are welcome and I am able to pursue projects that interest me.

It is difficult working part-time as I have always worked full-time. I am in 3 days then there are 4 days when I am not in so by the time I go to work it feels like it has been a long time since I was last in and this makes it difficult to remember things I have to do, catch up on emails and so on. I think the way to resolve this is to plan for things better and make sure I plan what I am going to be doing when I am in work in advance. It is also worth me having a talk in more detail with my job share partner to see how she manages her time. I am asking lots of questions (sometimes possibly too many) but I feel this is the best way for me to learn how to do things and to keep up to date with what is going on.

This is probably a bad example to use for the gibbs reflective model because the thing I am reflecting on hasn’t ended so I can’t really talk about the outcome but I can think about some of the things I would do better. I would make better notes. I have a notepad full of random scribblings in a random order and some of the information I have noted down is actually really important and I do need to refer back to it regularly. It would make my job a lot easier if I had of taken better, neater notes and I will definitely remember this next time.

I am going to blog about the projects I am doing/ the new experiences in my job when I am settled in and I will refer back to this model. Thanks Rudai 23

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

Thing 16: Collaboration Tools

Both in my new library role and at university collaboration tools are very important. As I am part time for both of these things I often find myself out of the loop. It’s difficult for everyone to have to catch you up on what’s been happening whilst you have been away but thanks to the joys of the internet and collaboration tools, they don’t have to!

I am currently working on a group presentation assignment at university and I was a little worried at first because I am only in uni one day a week so this makes group work quite difficult. But we all have access to Google Drive so it’s as simple as setting up a shared folder and sharing our research. We have one document that is a presentation draft and then we are all just uploading our findings onto separate documents.This ensures everyone has access to what everyone else is doing so when we do come together it will hopefully be easy to put the assignment together. Some of the tutors have also had us working on documents in Google Drive and I think it is a fantastic thing! What would we do without it!?

It is also very important in my new role that we regularly update the contents of the shared documents on OneDrive. We use it for statistics, rotas, learning materials, finance and ordering and lots more! As we all work different shift patterns it is crucial that there is a shared space that we all can access and contribute to.

All in all, I’m a fan 🙂

Augmented Reality: Making Libraries Cool

This is one of the things I’ve been most looking forward to because it just seems so sci-fi to me! It’s SO cool! 🙂

HAPPY BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY!  renatodantasc - https://www.flickr.com/photos/57212277@N03/

HAPPY BACK TO THE FUTURE DAY!
renatodantasc – https://www.flickr.com/photos/57212277@N03/

Of course, libraries don’t need augmented reality (AR) to be cool… But if done right, AR could be a really interesting library project and it would be a fun way to host library inductions. Most library inductions involve talking to people and telling them things, showing people around the library and/or handing out maps etc and this isn’t exactly the most thrilling of activities… It usually involves a lecture with some slides on what the library has on offer. Letting students explore and find things for themselves is a good way to keep them engaged and to keep things fun. You can do this in a traditional method such as giving them a map to follow and doing a library treasure hunt etc.

I will be involved in developing library inductions next year and I am really wanting to try something different and this could be it! Having an interesting and engaging library induction sets the tone for the rest of the year: especially if the induction shows the library to be a modern place that uses fun and interesting technologies.  A lot of students have mobile devices and we have 8 tablets in the library that we could use so hopefully having the devices shouldn’t be a problem.

We could partner with teachers and people from drama/ media/ TV production type courses to help us create original content to use as the overlays for our real world images/ auras in Aurasma. Getting students to talk about the resources we have and the things in the library that they are interested in could really help to make the content interesting and relevant to the students. I am so excited to be working in a library that has a fiction section and I think AR and book trailers could be something we could look into as well.

I’ve had a play around with Aurasma and there is so much potential! I tried to upload some historical speeches but it wasn’t in the correct format and it was really difficult finding the stuff to download in the first place. The aura I’ve attempted to create is a bit rubbish and I’ve reused the video I did for Thing 9 and I’ve made it public but I can’t seem to view it in the app (angry Amy). My username is as original as ever: amyward2009. Let me know if you have any luck viewing it and I will keep working on it.

I like the idea of uploading videos but I don’t know if there is a way to upload video URLs? It seems that it is more useful for original content. I am a little bit worried about using content I have found online but there is so much good stuff out there! Any advice?

Either way on my next evening shift I am going to have a play around in the library with Aurasma and Layar and I am going to do some more research into AR and how to develop a project from the library I work in. I think the students and my manager will love it!

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

I am currently completing a free mobile learning course that teaches social media through social media for professional devlopment.

GT Project: An investigation into the use of social media at the University of Bradford Library

Flickr mkhmarketing.wordpress.com

Flickr mkhmarketing.wordpress.com

For my graduate trainee project, I investigated how the University of Bradford (UoB) Library could improve its use of social media (SM) to promote library services and connect with users. I completed a literature review which helped me to understand the existing research, I assessed the library’s social media and made suggestions on how to improve it. I looked at the way similar institutions conduct themselves online and made comparisons. I also surveyed the University of Bradford Library staff to see how they felt about using social media to connect with users. It was a very useful thing to do as it really helped inform my suggestions and it also helped me to feel more confident knowing that most people were in agreement. This is a brief excerpt from my project 🙂

With the ever increasing popularity of social networking sites (SNS) and their widespread popularity, it is important that the library exploits this method of communication. Libraries are expected to have many streams of communication open with users and social media provides an excellent opportunity to connect with staff, existing and prospective students and colleagues in a novel way.

There are many ways in which social media can be used in a meaningful and beneficial way, especially within an academic library. Social media can be used to promote the library, have real-time customer service conversations with users and receive feedback. Most librarians understand that social media is an important tool that can help them to deliver their services. Here is a list of some of the ways in which social media could be used in the academic library:

  • To build a sense of community
  • To reach users in their homes and ‘virtual spaces’ as many people can now access lots of library resources outside of the library
  • To seek user’s opinions on library services, respond to user feedback and use it as an opportunity for self-assessment
  • Publicise events such One World Week and the recent special collections Mitrinovic Symposium
  • Promote new acquisitions
  • Promote and increase usage of library collections
  • Promoting workshops and inductions
  • Keep up to date with other librarians and academic institutions
  • Financial costs are believed to be low
  • As a broadcast tool for library updates and news
  • Opening hours and contact details
  • To connect with new and current students, as well as alumni and especially distance learners
  • To connect with the academic community and university staff
  • Potentially a customer services tool – dealing with enquiries, feedback and complaints
  • To update users on system maintenance and problems with library systems
  • Explore the use of interesting applications such as Pinterest and Instagram for inductions and workshop

My favourite article fittingly titled “#selfiesinthestacks” looked at how Instagram can be used by libraries to alleviate library anxiety in first year students, increase user engagement and offer active learning experiences. Wallis questions how much information students realistically retain whilst attending traditional library inductions, especially when so much is going on at the start of term. Wallis developed a fantastic library programme using Instagram which introduced new students to the library in a fun, social and modern way.

  • She downloaded the Instagram app on the library’s iPads and created a library account (https://instagram.com/umlibrary/). She then logged into the account on each of the iPads (6 of them).
  • She then presented a short PowerPoint which was a brief introduction to the library, directing students to the library catalogues, describing the layout of the library and explaining the task.
  • Students were asked to get into groups of three to five people and choose a team name.
  • Each group received an iPad and a sheet of paper with the following prompts listed. All apart from the specific book title are open to interpretation.
  • The weirdest book
  • Something confusing
  • The best study spot
  • This book (each group was given a different book to find)
  • Your group and a member of library staff
  • A DVD you want to watch
  • Students would then use the iPads to take photos based on the prompts and upload them to the library’s Instagram account.
  • The groups were given 30 minutes to explore the library
  • When they returned they looked through all of the images on a projector together and had a discussion about their experience.

There is little doubt that social media is becoming an integral part of 21st century communication and this is increasingly the case in how we conduct our personal lives, our education and our careers. In order to appreciate social media, to some extent you need to immerse yourself in it; you must understand why you are spending time on it, be acceptant of the positives and negatives and be aware of the opportunities that it presents. Using social media yourself is good practice for when you use in on behalf of the library.

There are many obstacles and challenges associated with using social media in a consistent and meaningful way. If the library does not keep an eye open on social media, it is possible that we will miss important discussions and feedback that are related to the library. The conversation will happen, whether the library wants to listen or not and not everyone is going to have positive things to say. People do use social media to share both negative and positive experiences they have had with institutions, organisations and businesses.

It is easy to be worried about using social media in a professional setting because of unprofessional, negative comments. People will say negative things on social media and there are advantages to facing this negativity head on. We can try to resolve any problems the user might be having, we can apologise and we can try to make it right. People will also say positive things and when they do, it is good for us to know that we are doing things right. Social media could be used as another means of gathering student feedback in addition to the traditional methods already in place. It is a lot easier for a student to send an email or write a comment online than it is to fill in a form and post it in the library. For many service providers, customer service has gone way beyond simply speaking to someone in person, by email or on the telephone.

Staff and students alike need to be aware of the impact social media can have on people’s lives. People should conduct themselves as they would in any normal social situation and that involves being polite, respectful and appreciative of the fact that by law everyone has the right to freedom of expression. The catch being that when you voice your opinion on social media, you are inviting people to do the same. So it is important that all posts are carefully considered as they can come back to bite you, as they did with Paris Brown in 2013. Comments she had posted in the past on Twitter were investigated for possible criminal offences. Paris posted tweets when she was between the ages of 14-16 which were considered to be racist and homophobic. At the age of 17 she had just been appointed Britain’s first youth crime commissioner but was forced to resign due to her previous ill-thought-out tweets.

With prospective employers having free access to social media just as everyone else does, it is important that people, especially students, know how to conduct themselves online. They need to take responsibility for their own actions, learn about their online privacy and be aware that when they post things online, it can be there for the whole world to see. Librarians are in a fantastic postion to demonstrate how best to use social media, but first they need to be on social media.

Here are some of the Padlets I made to go alongside my project:

Using the existing literature, making comparisons with other academic institutions and surveying UoB library staff, I explored the negative and positive aspects of social media. Social media does not have to be difficult and it does not have to take up huge amounts of time. But a tailored social media strategy needs to be in place and social media needs to be monitored regularly if it is to be successful. If our efforts can help students find useful information they would otherwise not have found or to seek help in the library because he/she saw us pop up on their social media feed, then that is a job well done.

See this link for my presentation http://prezi.com/vpzaqq4g4mpe/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

August Update

I am trying to get the most out of the time I have left as a graduate trainee because it is ever so quickly coming to an end. I only have 4 full weeks left! This is both exciting and distressing at the same time. Exciting because I am starting a new course and I have a new job (more on that later) but also distressing because I know the next few years are going to be hard work and I have to leave behind all of the lovely people I’ve met at the JBP library.


I’ve had the opportunity to do some really interesting things over the last few weeks which have allowed me to continue to learn new skills and gain some valuable insights and experiences. What follows is a whistle-stop tour of August.

  • We spend an entire day sorting out around 10 large boxes full of journals and pamphlets for the Commonweal collection. We sorted each box into alphabetical order across the floor and when we could no longer see the floor, we put the papers into alphabetical piles. We did this around 5 or 6 times, interfiling the papers into their correct piles. We then packed them into boxes to be catalogued at a later date. We did an amazing job! So proud of ourselves for getting it all done in the time we had, it flexed my brain muscles and we had fun. All in a day’s work ey.
When I first entered the room and saw this sight I cried a little inside… crying with excitement of course!

When I first entered the room and saw this sight I cried a little inside… crying with excitement of course!

Goodies like this... Librarians for Peace!

Boxes full of goodies.

Goodies like this. Librarians for Social Change!

Goodies like this. Librarians for Social Change!

  • The library is recruiting their next batch of Student Learning Champions. They are University of Bradford students who work in the library shelving and assisting users with basic IT and reader enquiries. Part of the interview process is to complete a task and a colleague and I have been managing this task. It’s been a really good experience because I’ve been in their positions just recently and interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s very strange to be on the flipside of the interview process. Jawad and I have tried to make them feel as comfortable as possible and make sure they understood what they needed to do. We then figured out a way to assess their work and reset the task as quickly as possible. I think we make a cracking team.
  • The library has an hour set aside each week for staff training and this week we learnt how to deal with a wet books disaster. This was great for me as it was reiterating what I learnt a few months ago at the RRN Kit Training Day and I was happy that I had remembered a lot of what said. You need to move quickly, be aware of your surroundings, put health and safety first, assess the damage and contain the leak. Triage the damaged books and if there is not a professional librarian on site, you need to make a decision on what should be kept as drying out wet books is a very time intensive activity. Purchasing new copies might be the better option. In a recent emergency at JBP it took an entire week to dry out just 50 books.
Trying to heal the books (discards)

Trying to heal the books (discards)

20150820_095140

Sorry sight but it can happen. Be prepared!


  • I was able to help out with some library inductions for the first time! I wasn’t able to help out with these at the start of the academic year because I started in December. With a special interest in the experiences of international students and being a temporary member of the international library group, it was really good to be able to help out with the inductions for international students. We gave them a brief introduction on how to use the library catalogue to search for books and journals then we gave them a tour of the library. This was also my first library tour! I will be assisting with some more for general library induction tours before I leave I think which I am looking forward to. I like being a tour guide.
  • The VC came to visit the library for his annual departmental visit and this was really interesting. The Library and IT Services demonstrated some of the projects they have been working on this year. These included short presentations on the library’s new reading list software, creating better WIFI connectivity across campus, how the library supports researchers and streamlining the referencing styles used in the university. He couldn’t believe how many referencing styles are actually out there! The VC seemed impressed and did not hold back with his questions. It is clear that there is some excellent work going on in this department and it is great to be able to showcase that the senior members of staff in the university.

Finally, I have a new job! I am so relieved because I was really worrying about what was going to happen in September. I had to find a job to fund my studies but I had to find a job that would work around my studies as well. It was important to find a position in a library because I want to be able to put the theory into practice and gain more work experience. I have been very lucky as I have got a job at a 6th Form College in Manchester as a part-time learning facilitator in the library. For the interview I had to do a presentation and I used Prezi for the first time and it went really well! The role will be varied and will involve supporting users in the retrieval and use of resources, planning and delivering inductions and study skills sessions, liaising with departments to develop collections and much more. I am really happy to be working with young people and supporting them in the college education.

This graduate traineeship role has developed my skills and confidence in more ways than I initially thought and I am so grateful. I didn’t have enough time in the interview to talk about all of the things I’ve done! It has opened up so many opportunities and has laid the foundations of my career. I’ve had so much support and encouragement from everyone and I am really not sure where I’d be today had I not applied.

I can tell it's going to be an emotional goodbye... 

I can tell it’s going to be an emotional goodbye… https://www.flickr.com/photos/jenosaur/

Rudai 23: Thing No 2

I am entering the final months of my graduate traineeship. Only two and a half months left to go and I can confirm that I still want to be a librarian, yipee! The 23 Things Collaboration has come at a good time. I am going to have a think about why I want to be a librarian and what I think librarianship is all about having experienced it first hand as a trainee.

There is the age old stereotype that librarians spend their days stamping books and shushing people which still stands firm today. If you could stop someone on the street and ask them what a librarian does, chances are their response will be something along those lines. Most people I speak to are surprised to learn that you need a postgraduate qualification to be a librarian… I’d like to see them have a go 🙂 

Being a librarian is about genuinely wanting to help people to learn for themselves, getting people to appreciate the value of information and knowledge and helping people to enrich and develop their own lives and society. As more and more people have access to the internet, information professionals become more important. People really do need help because even though many people think they are internet searching experts, chances are they aren’t.

I want to be a librarian because I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to leave the world of learning behind. I loved the library when I was a student, I enjoyed working in there and feeling like you’re part of a student community. Being involved with people who are trying to educate themselves sounds like a benefical and rewarding job to me.

I can also carry on with my own learning and development; how can you not when you are surrounded by so much information! Librarians have to continually learn and develop their skills and this is great because I never want to give up learning. A large part of being a librarian involves sharing best practices, developing professionally and being conscious of the ever changing world of information and technology. I want to be a little fountain of knowledge. Or at least know where to go to gather and spread some of that knowledge.

I wish I could say that I wanted to be a librarian since I was little but that’s not the case. I vaguely remember wanting to be a vet, an actress and a chef at some point but in all honesty I didn’t decide until after I graduated, and this was probably for the best, I’d be the worst actress ever. I had toyed with the idea of being a history teacher because it seemed like a more or less straightforward career move as a history graduate.

I also considered continuing my studies, possibly doing a History MA and being an academic but I hadn’t found my “thing”. To undertake the amount of research required to complete a PhD, I think you really have to be passionate about a topic and until I find that topic, I can’t even consider it. So that career path was out of the window.

I also considered being an archivist. I had an idealistic idea that I would be caring for old, crispy documents, rare books and never before seen treasures all day. I understood there was more to it than that and that but I needed to get some experience if I wanted to enter the profession.

I joined the Archives and Records Association and bagged myself a work placement in the University working on an oral history project. I worked in the Cinema and Television History Centre at De Montfort University on a project which involved transcribing interviews undertaken with women working in the TV and film industry during the 20th century to the present day. I started looking into MA courses and voluntary positions for when I graduated so I could get the work experience required for many of the courses. I got a position in my local library digitising photographic slides which the library had inherited from various council planning departments.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t continue with the work for very long as I had to get a full time job. So I joined the hoard of graduates working in the first position they are offered in order to pay the bills. I spent a year working in a local pub which was good, but it wasn’t what I had envisioned as an optimistic and enthusiastic graduate leaving university with my shiny new degree.

I was continually looking for graduate positions in which I could develop a career – any career. I thought I had struck gold when I got a “graduate” job at a car finance company where I worked as a customer service advisor. In all honesty I didn’t enjoy the work but I did excel in the position and was offered the opportunity to progress onto a different position within the company. My interview was looming when I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do as it just didn’t make me happy. I handed in my notice which was a crazy move considering I did not have a job to go to.

I had however applied for a position at the University of Bradford as a graduate trainee library assistant. When I first saw the opening I had the moment that all job seekers hope for… the moment you find a job that you know you would enjoy. I would love to be a librarian and thankfully this graduate traineeship has confirmed that I do want to be a librarian. After doing jobs which I didn’t enjoy, this really is the dream job.

It’s a cliché but I am a people person. Having dealt with customers since the age of 15 I don’t think I could ever work in an environment that wasn’t in some way customer/ user focused. It’s great to help people. Not serving them food and drinks or selling them car finance but giving them the ability to learn for themselves and find the information that librarians have worked hard to purchase and organise.

I wasn’t aware of the world of librarian networking, conferences and the variety of opportunities that are out there. I knew librarians didn’t just look after books but I hadn’t considered the variety of positions on offer to librarians; information officers, public librarians, knowledge officers, academic librarians, acquisitions librarians, e-resources librarians, NHS librarians, law librarians, corporate librarians, special collections librarians, embedded librarians, library managers, library directors, library systems librarians and so on.

From my course I am expecting to learn more unexpected and exciting things about the profession. I am hoping to develop a special interest in a particular area which I will be able to research in great depth and write about. It would be amazing to get an article published in a journal one day! I am interested in working in an academic library after I graduate. However, I am hoping to get more experience in different areas of the profession so who knows; I am willing to explore the world of librarianship.

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘let’s party!’

As I sit here typing I am blessed with the beauty of spring right outside my window. Spring is here which means summer is on its way which in turns means my graduate traineeship is a few months away from ending. Term has officially ended and we have entered into the library summer vacation period. Bye bye bustling, noisy library, hello silent, tranquil library! Oh wait, isn’t that how a library is supposed to be..? The quiet was nice for about 2 days but now I am kind of missing the students… Or maybe I am just all too aware that the arrival of summer means that I too will soon be departing. Heading off to University and to the wonderful land of jobhuntingsville (it’s a real place, honest).

Summer signifies a big change in my traineeship and working routine. My rotations in the library have finished having spent time with the subject librarians, systems, acquisitions, special collections and customer services. I will no longer be working regularly with the customer services team on the front/ welcome desk and my enquiry desk duties will be limited. I have really enjoyed working with our users on the front line and my confidence in my ability to help library users has increased massively. But the best thing is that I really like doing it. It is stressful and demanding in all the right ways. You are busy and challenged into learning new things everyday with every different enquiry you come across (apart from laptop loans). I really feel like I am part of the team and it makes me sad to think that I am only a temporary member. It will be good to go back to certain departments in the library where my time was quite limited such as special collections, classification and academic support. I am especially looking forward to helping out with the pre-sessional international students. We will be presenting them with our new edition of the Library Language booklet which I’ve had the pleasure of working on.

My big job over the summer is my GT project which is what I am working on at the moment. I am just researching the literature on my prospective topic to see if it is a viable idea. Once I have a plan in place, I will blog about it. I am very slowly getting back into the swing of academic work and reading but it is harder than I thought it would be. It has been 2 years since I completed my dissertation and I still don’t think I am over that experience… Just kidding, I actually found the process quite enjoyable and was a little bit sad when it was over. This project is difference because I want to make a valuable contribution to the J.B. Priestley Library (not that I didn’t want to make a valuable contribution to WWII British History). My predecessors all did some fantastic projects for the library; one GT’s project provided the idea for a paper which was then published in a scholarly journal. If my project and suggestions could be used to improve the services we offer at JB that would be the best possible end to my traineeship.