Welcome to my quick fire introduction to the main daily jobs I have as a Graduate Trainee at St Hugh’s College Library, written for Library Day in the Life Project – Round 8 .
Although I have only been working in libraries for a short time (it’s my first month anniversary this week!) I thought it might be useful for those out there who are considering applying for a Graduate Traineeship to know a little bit about what is expected of a trainee in the early stages. This of course isn’t a set list of jobs that all trainee’s do – its just an example of some of the typical daily tasks I have at the library.
So without further ado…
1. Answering Enquiries
Working in the library is all about helping its readers- whomever they may be! So far this week the main enquiries we’ve had at the library office include:
- Help finding books on the shelves
- Wanting to renew books
- Collecting books from the Stacks
- Help using the printer/copier
- Wanting to know how to add credit to printer/copier card
Most of these are pretty straight forward but one of the great things about working in a library team is having someone else to ask for help when you don’t know the answers! When you do know the answers though – its a great feeling to know you helped someone out.
The bread and butter of my library day!
Usually, shelving takes between 1-2 hours but Mondays are always a lot busier as St Hugh’s is open 24/7 and there’s a weekend backlog. Our ‘waiting to be re-shelved’ shelves are very handy, both for readers searching for books and for sorting books into reading room sections before re-shelving!
When new books come into the library either having been purchased or donated they need to be processed. Normally they come to me after being added to the library catalogue by our Assistant Librarian. Processing involves:
- Typing up and printing out spine labels
- Edge stamping
- Adding the ‘St Hugh’s’ book plate (writing on if the book was donated)
- Adding a tag and activating the security on the book (bar-code scanners are fun!)
- Covering the books in sticky back plastic! (At first this was a bit of a challenge but my skills with the roll of sticky stuff have improved!)
I sometimes get the odd book that’s been processed but needs a tag. We have shelves in our office where we store books that are waiting for different jobs – yesterday I made colour coded labels to show where the books need to go. [Why not, right?]
Healing poorly books with glue and special sticky tape!
As a number of books at St Hugh’s have inaccurate or incomplete shelfmarks we are currently working on a project to reclassify them. This involves finding the book on the British Library Website, locating the dewy number (e.g. 907.204) and adding a suffix – usually the first three letters of the author’s surname or the first three letters of the book title if an editor. I add a new spine label with the reclassified shelfmark and change the information in ALEPH – our library system.
I began on the 901 history books and am now nearly finished the 909s! This week so far I’ve reclassified about 88 books. Total reclassified so far: 276 and counting!