Third time’s a charm

I have been working as a Learning Facilitator (fancy name for librarian) at a Sixth Form College since October 2015. I worked part-time for a while and then moved onto a full-time, term time only contract.

This job has taught me so much about being a librarian. I started the job at the same time as my MA in Librarianship. It was the first job I applied for after completing my Graduate Traineeship and I was so lucky to bag a professional position before I was actually qualified. It really was perfect because it was relatively close to home and it was part-time which allowed me to work and study. The great thing about this role was that I was able to put theory into practice and really learn about libraries in a supportive environment. I had an amazing line manager who supported me as a new professional. She gave me the freedom and guidance required to try new ideas and to develop my skills.

Some highlights from my time as an FE librarian:

  • Receiving a special award from the HE & Skills department for supporting the needs of their students. I genuinely feel that I am valued by this department and their students. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been thanked for just doing my job with cards and flowers. I love working with HE students!
  • Writing the library documentation/ representing the Library at the recent HE partnership re-validation panel. Sounds boring but it was a big deal for me. I wrote a huge document detailing how the Library supports staff and students who are studying for courses validated by our partner university.
  • Becoming an administrator for Canvas/ being responsible for the Library Management System. Trailing and implementing a new VLE, delivering training to staff & students and being an admin for Canvas and Heritage has been a huge learning curve and really developed my technical knowledge and my ability to answer queries remotely.

cancas

  • Representing the Library on the Equality & Diversity Committee. I have loved promoting resources to support BAME and LGBT+ students. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some wonderful kids who are not afraid to be true to themselves and represent their community. I have authored two reports detailing how the Library promotes Equality & Diversity (something library staff had not done before) which forms part of the overall E & D report for the College. We are now a Stonewall School Champion which is amazing. I love buying and promoting books to students that help them to own and celebrate their identities.

 

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  • Increasing the number of information literacy sessions delivered annually. In 2016-17, we delivered 41 sessions to 643 students with four Learning Facilitators. In 2017-18 we delivered 83 sessions to 1100 students with three Learning Facilitators. This year we have so far delivered 84 sessions to 1296 students with just two Learning Facilitators. I am very proud of the Discover @Asfclibrary Info Lit workshops that we have developed and I absolutely love teaching info skills! Next year we are FINALLY going to become more embedded in the College curriculum.
  • Being recommended for and completing the Leadership Development Programme
  • Running the Excelsior Award for the first time. The Excelsior Award is the only nationwide book award for comic books and graphic novels and aims to encourage kids to read and it also raises the profile of comic books. They deserve a place in all schools, colleges and libraries. I worked my butt off putting this display together and entered us for the ‘Nuff Said Award which is given to the library with the best Excelsior display.

display 4

  • Making friends and developing relationships with colleagues that will last a life-time. I’ve had the privilege of working with some lovely librarians and teachers. My colleague Penny has been especially wonderful. She has been a mentor and a role model for me these past three+ years. She will always listen to my complaints and predicaments, both professional and personal. Plus, she is an AMAZING librarian! She knows everything!
  • Making a difference even for one student makes it all worth it!

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Some challenges I’ve encountered:

  • Increasing workload. We have fewer team members, we have more students than ever, we have lost library space, we are delivering more info literacy skills training sessions, and we now look after the College’s VLE. On top of this we have less money. I know decreasing budgets are common across the entire public sector and I could go on and on… but I won’t. FE is a rewarding but challenging sector in this respect!
  • Lack of engagement. Some departments and students do not engage with the Library. There are groups of users who do not engage with libraries in all sectors but this does not make it any less frustrating. It’s really difficult to determine why they don’t engage, especially when we are shouting from the rooftops about how we can help them.
  • Student behaviour. I researched behaviour management for dissertation as it was the most challenging aspect of my role. It is still a struggle for me and the team. As a result we decided to make the Library a silent study space which has been VERY difficult to implement. We are everything librarians shouldn’t be –  we are constantly nagging students to stop talking. The other room which is a Learning Commons style room is the bane of my existence. I get virtually no library/ research enquiries. It’s basically PC/ printer issues or I am having to deal with challenging behaviour/ students who are just using the space to socialise. I hate to say it but on some days the negative experiences have outweighed the positive.

behaviour

Moving on…

I always said once I graduated, I’d start looking for a new job. My graduation coupled with the challenges listed above, prompted me to officially start my job search a few months ago.

I applied for about six different jobs including a few in the health sector. I consider myself very lucky to have been invited to attend three interviews. As far as job hunting goes, I was mentally prepared to be in it for the long haul. You have to spend time looking for jobs (far and few between in this sector and there are even fewer in the North West!). You then have to spend hours applying for each job; crafting your CV, cover letters and applications accordingly. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to interview, it takes time and effort to prepare. The act of preparing for, attending and calming down after interviews is stressful and draining! Being able to reflect positively and demonstrate resilience when being turned down is the icing on the cake (this is the least appetising cake ever by the way).

Interview 1

I shared a blog post a while back about my first interview post-graduation. *Spoiler alert* it was my worst interview experience to date!

Interview 2

I realised during/ after these two interviews that I was applying for jobs that were probably above me… I was paying too much attention to the salary. Realistically, I did not have the experience or the skills required to do the job (interview 1) or I had some of the skills and experience, but not enough (interview 2). I was desperate to find jobs to apply for so I was going off the advice someone once gave me; if you meet two thirds of the criteria on a job spec, go for it! You might get lucky, you might fail. You win regardless. You either have a new job or you walk away with an enhanced CV and valuable interview experience.

Interview 2 was like a dream compared to interview 1. They were so nice, professional and friendly. They explained everything clearly, they really put me at ease and there were no nasty surprises like there were in interview 1.

During my reflections after interview 2, I knew I could have done better. I definitely wasn’t clear enough with some of my answers and I rushed through them. I now remember seeing their written notes and on one occasion, the box was only half full. The hiring manager offered to give me some feedback when they gave me the bad news.

I am so thankful that I got the feedback. She was actually amazing – she took 25 minutes out of her busy day to call me and go through each question with me. Here is some of the feedback she gave which was specific to the questions but I’ve highlighted the advice which is transferable to most library interview questions:

  • Do not be disheartened, encouraged me to continue applying in HE. She said it was a good starter interview for the sector. I should be happy with my performance and be proud of myself.
  • I gave a solid, thoughtful interview. I am appointable, I have transferable skills and good experience. It was obvious I had done my research and that I wanted to role and I showed an awareness which they liked.
  • Always link my experiences and knowledge back to the job spec and role and drill down more on my experience and skills (e.g. organisation, supervisory etc) and how they relate to the job. Be specific!
  • Don’t be scared to be theoretical – How do we motivate staff? Take them aside, communicate, what is the problem? What can I do to help? Offer well-being support and help, anything within the organisation on hand to help? Do they need training? Are they bored? Do they need stretching? Explain the steps 1-2-1s, escalations to manager, being visible and accessible.
  • Bigger context would have helped, e.g. mailing lists, colleagues at other institutions using the same suppliers, service level agreements – evidence of what is going wrong and the impacts on the service, internal colleagues and communication – letting them know what’s going on, escalate to someone higher if need be.

Interview 3

This was one of those moments where the perfect job vacancy pops up. I did not have to convince myself that I could maybe do everything listed on the job spec – I could do everything listed on the job spec, I want to do everything on the job spec plus it’s close enough to home. I’ve been wanting to work in HE since starting my career in libraries and my partner works there too which is a bonus!

I was so pleased when I was invited for an interview. I used the feedback from interview 2 and I did a lot more preparation. During some practice interviews, my partner fed back to me that I was rushing through some of the questions – a problem I encountered in interview 2.

During interview 3, I was very conscious to make sure I talked and talked until I literally had nothing left to say. I tried to notice how much they had written down. If their notes were overflowing the note box, I took this as a good sign. I smiled a lot and I was honest about my experiences. I kept the job spec in mind. I asked them four questions based on my research of the organisation at the end and I left feeling like we had a really nice conversation. I felt like I had done that “building rapport” thing that all of the interview prep websites tell you about!

As you’ve probably guessed by the title of this blog, I got the job!

I am going to be working at Manchester Metropolitan University as an Assistant Librarian and I’ll be looking after staff/students on fashion programmes. I am beyond excited to move into HE and to be working in the city again. Commuting on the train isn’t my fave but it will give me so much more time to read and listen to podcasts (priorities, right?). I am hoping to begin CILIP Chartership when I get settled. I am also hoping to have more money to put towards our house deposit. I am excited to start exploring art librarianship and learn all about fashion. I’ve found a sweet Fashion, Textiles & Costume Librarians blog to get me started. Finally, I can’t wait to meet new friends and colleagues. If the MMU Library Twitter account is anything to go by, they seem like a good bunch.

mmu

I am really proud of myself and I am excited to get started. I am super thankful for my time at ASFC, for the colleagues who have supported me and for the advice and words of encouragement from my mum, my mates and my partner.

Anyone would think I’ve won an Oscar or something…

I am no expert but I’d be more than happy to give some tips and advice based on my job hunting experience.
I’ve found Natasha Chowdory’s blog especially helpful during my job hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is my UKSG Conference Review which I wrote for FLIP

In April UKSG held thier 39th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Bournemouth. Amy Ward, a part time MA Librarianship student and Learning Facilitatior at Ashton Sixth Form College, reports back on the experience. You can find Amy on Twitter as @amywardz I attended a free event hosted by UKSG back in November 2015 and all […]

via UKSG Conference Report: Amy Ward — Future Library and Information Professionals Network

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.

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 13: Professional Organisations

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) 

As a new professional I think being a member of CILIP is really important because it is the leading, authoritative body which represents library professionals and aspiring library professionals. It is a good place to learn more about the library profession, professional values and ethics and library advocacy.

Anyone who is studying to become an information professional or anyone who is undertaking a graduate traineeship is entitled to free membership and it is definitely worth taking advantage of this. There is lots of information available about starting your career in libraries, salary guides and there is LISJOBSNET which is where I found my current position yay.

CILIP has a VLE which is for members and allows you to access learning materials, CPD resources and webinars. I watched a webinar on how to write a CV and it was great because it was aimed at information professionals. Most CV information out there is very generic and isn’t really all that helpful so this was great. Members also have access to the Impact Toolkit which helps librarians develop as professionals and provides resources on how to demonstrate impact in the workplace. There are loads of other resources such as your own personal portfolio which you can populate and there are template CVs and other things for you to use as well.

There is also the Professional Knowledge Skills Base (PKSB) which I have only looked at briefly but is an excellent resource. It brings together generic, technical and professional skills which can be used as a CPD/ self-assessment tool. I’m too busy with my new job and University work at the moment to look into this but I may look at it in more detail over the summer and when I am a qualified librarian (2 years).

Attending events is also another reason to sign up. I’ve attended a few free events now which I’ve seen on the CILIP website on in email newsletters. I was supposed to be going to the New Professional’s Day but I decided to give it a miss (I’ll go next year) because I was just starting a new job but my new employer is enthusiastic about me attending these kinds of events so being a member of CILIP is advantageous if you want to go to events and workshops.

I wrote a piece for a newsletter for the CILIP Yorkshire and Humberside and NLPN ‘Get Career Ready’ event. If you can write for CILIP or for one of the special interest groups or regional networks it is a really good opportunity and experience. Everyone has varied experiences and opinions and through CILIP people can share their thoughts and it is the best way to keep up to date with the profession and the changes that are happening all of the time.

The CILIP Update magazine is also an added bonus. It can be a really interesting read and I have it on the app that they have created which is really useful. I will be keeping my eye open for grants and bursary opportunities because I would love to get funding to go to a conference. That would be too amazing!

As a member of CILIP you are entitled to membership of two special interest groups and as I’ve just moved into FE, I have changed my membership to the Academic & Research Libraries Group and the Youth Libraries Group so I will hopefully be able to get more involved and learn lots from those two groups in the near future.

It is nice to be a member of a professional body; knowing that you are not alone and there are people out there to talk to and get advice from. The codes of professional practice and CILIP’s ethical principles provide librarians with a framework on how to conduct themselves and manage their responsibilities. I got a little tingle of happiness when I read them as I feel like I am part of something bigger and that all of the other librarians and myself can take on the world!

Flickr - Yassin Hassan http://bit.ly/1OFyEsK

Flickr – Yassin Hassan http://bit.ly/1OFyEsK

Thing 12: Attending Conferences

CILIP Yorkshire and Humberside and NLPN ‘Get Career Ready’ 21st March 2015.

As someone who has only been involved in the library profession since the commencement of my graduate traineeship in December 2014 it seemed that the CILIP and NLPN ‘Get Career Ready’ event in Sheffield would be a useful event to attend. I cannot actually remember how I found out about it, although I am pretty sure it was through CILIP or NLPN or most likely, Twitter. I am not sure if this counts as a conference but it involved meeting people and listening to presentations so I am going to count it as one.

I was encouraged as a graduate trainee to attend networking events and professional development events and this was a free CILIP event. I was able to attend the event on work time which I was very appreciative of. They also paid for my train tickets to go down to London to the BIALL, CLSIG & SLA Europe Graduate Open Day which was a free event aimed at new professionals, graduate trainees, early career librarians and students, so I have been really lucky in that I haven’t had to pursuade anyone to let me go.

The “Get Career Ready” event was the first conference I have attended since starting my work in libraries and it was a fantastic one to start with. It was a little bit daunting for me to enter a room full of library professionals and library school students (and prospective ones). I had a preconceived idea that everyone would be a lot more experienced and I would not have anything overly useful to add to the group discussions and activities. I was of course wrong as I felt comfortable engaging with the activities and networking with the group who were all very friendly.

I used the good old traditional pen and paper method of taking notes and I think I prefer it that way. I like to keep paper copies of my notes in files so I can go back to them at a later date. I can better express my opinions and ideas on paper than when I am typing notes so it’s more useful when I come to reflect on them at a later date.

People talked honestly about their experiences and their insecurities and this helped me to realise that I am not alone in mine. There were four presentations that were all very different and interesting. One speaker talked about her experiences and concerns about moving from public sector libraries to academic libraries. This made me realise that even super qualified and experienced people still have moments where they second guess themselves. You just need to be confident in your own abilities.

Other speakers talked about their first professional positions. Listening to the five talented speakers and talking to several others during the speed networking hour, opened my eyes to the variety of work available to library professionals. But the main thing I took away from the experience was that there are many support networks and networking events out there. People within the world of libraries are encouraging and supportive and are always happy to help.

I am attending the upcoming LISDIS conference which is a new conference where recent graduates can talk about the research they completed as part of their dissertations. I think it is a fantastic idea because so much time and effort goes into them and then they just end up on a shelf, unloved and gathering dust. I know my undergraduate dissertation is living in a box under my bed. I am hoping to get some dissertation tips and advice as I will be doing my own MA dissertation next year, so if I can get a leg up and find some inspiration that will be an added bonus on top of finding out about brand new research. From the events I’ve attended I will probably try and take better notes and try not to worry about meeting new people. I do find it difficult sometimes to just start conversations with people, but once we’ve said hello, it is usually all OK. I think meeting new people is something that will always create a tiny bit of anxiety but everyone is lovely and I’ve had no problems so far.

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.

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)

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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/

Week No.2

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!