Sunday, 12 February 2012

New Build: Part 3

Amongst the shelves
Have been browsing the posts I’ve written on BtB and realised I’ve not provided an update on the college new build since it opened 6 months ago. Moving in and establishing a new library has been quite challenging, and there have been several ups and downs along the way.

Being situated on the ground floor directly next to reception and the entrance foyer, the library has a key location within the campus. The room itself is very attractive with comfortable furniture, a high ceiling and large windows. There are large inspirational quotes painted on the walls which are always a talking point with visitors. The room is smaller than we would have wanted, so the bookstock has had to be reduced accordingly with some books being sent to curriculum areas. Naturally, this has reduced the number of circulation loans, but the room is in constant use as a resource centre. The computers are in high demand, so much so that we have introduced a policy of loaning additional laptops for student usage. Being a dedicated arts campus, the MDFs are in permanent use for all manner of complex copy jobs, and the tables are used as workspace throughout the day. It is not unusual to find students in the library taking photos, designing (ie sneakily playing) computer games and building models. The number of impromptu musical jamming sessions I’ve attended has increased too, though we kindly as the stars of tomorrow to perform elsewhere. I spend the majority of my time at the main cross- curricular campus, so whenever I’m at the new arts campus I find it interesting to observe the differences in student behaviours and habits.
Comfy seating

As to be expected with any new build, there have been technical teething problems. We currently have issues with the heating system with the temperature varying from 14c – 29c. As a team, we have discovered that layers are the key to working comfortably in this campus!

Now that the campus has been open several months, things are starting to find their natural level. As time goes on, each department is adapting to suit the new environment, and the library is no different. We have conducted a student survey to ensure we are meeting their needs – which differ to the needs students had at the old campus – and things are coming together quite nicely. It takes a full academic year for things to embed and really settle down – so that’ll be my next new build post. It seems so far away, but I bet the time will fly past... 


Friday, 10 February 2012

Cilip WM Branch Meeting

Yesterday I went to a Cilip West Midlands branch meeting and thought I’d briefly share the experience. It was held in the library at Aston University (a place I hadn’t visited in over 10 years) and lasted a little over 2 hours long.

It was my first ‘official’ meeting as branch secretary. After a little uncertainty, it was decided that committee roles change with the calendar year, so I didn’t have to wait until the AGM to be voted in. This also saw the forthcoming Chairperson take charge, and Jo did a marvellous job of chairing a meeting without any advance notice. We had a brief agenda and discussed mainly committee roles and the arrangements for the forthcoming AGM.

There were nine of us present in total, including two other newbies. The committee is always looking for fresh blood and I’m glad I took the plunge. It all came about as a result of the online course CPD 23 Things, where I mentioned one day I hoped to join a committee. People commented and encouraged me to give it a try so in November I went along to observe one of the meetings. I often think committees are faceless cliques, but it isn’t so with Cilip WM branch. They were a jolly, welcoming bunch, and we even managed a few giggles. Over the past 18 months or so I’ve felt barriers were removed between the branch and the membership by its use of social media, and this played a large part in my feeling able to approach the committee. This also contributes to my feeling that as a member I get more from my local branch than I do from the larger organisation. There’s still some way to go, but I feel the committee is most definitely on the right track. Hopefully, Cilip WM branch will soon be enjoying a two-way love-in with all its members!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Day in the life (R8) part 4

Friday 3 February 2012
Today I am based at the Hinckley library all day. As I explained in yesterday’s blog post, it’s much quieter at this campus so I have more time to work on projects. Or at least, that was my plan...

Arrive at work 8.15am and discover the Heritage server is down. It means nobody can perform circulation duties or search the catalogue. Judging from the particular error messages, I know the server needs a reboot but I don’t have full access so I call upon the IT Technicians. Except it’s their team meeting, so we are without our LMS for almost 2 hours. Good start to the day. Surely it can only be onwards and upwards from here...?

While the system is down I take the chance to design new spine labels for our careers library, changing over to the Careers Resource Classification Index. I’m familiar with it having used it in my previous employment and introducing it here is something that should have happened years ago. Better late than never. 

When Heritage is back up I start work on two global changes. Although I’ve tackled global changes before it was with the help of an IT Technician and whenever I attempt them on my own I have less success. I spend far too long on this, and get absolutely nowhere. For the life of me I just cannot work out where I am going wrong. I want to add DVD as a keyword to the 1116 DVDs we house, and change the loan period on 1335 books. It’s time to hold my hands up and admit I’m stumped. I email Heritage Support for guidance and receive an email almost immediately. I’ll look at it again on Monday – for the third time. I get frustrated with myself when I fail to do something like this and I have to actively remind myself that I’m still learning.

Do a bit more work on tidying up the media files on the catalogue and have much better success with this – something actually goes right!

Whenever I have days like this, where things keeps going wrong, I look at my collection of Lego mini-figures; I wanted something fun on my desk that would make me smile, and these do just the job.


Friday, 3 February 2012

Day in the life (R8) part 3

Thursday 2 February 2012
Came in to work this morning to be greeted by a friendly note left on my desk by one of the assistants. It makes me smile and is definitely a good start to the day. Thank you Laura!

The college in which I work is multi-site and on Thursdays I work across the two larger of our libraries. I spend the morning at the Nuneaton site helping one of the library assistants prepare for the college volunteer fair. The library has a stall and we are hoping to snare a few hours each week from willing students but the uptake is slow. This is followed by a mini-stint on the enquiry counter where I show our graduate trainee the admin side of the library’s OPAC. We’re having a few problems at the moment and the automated transferring of indexes is the bane of my life!

Spend an hour classifying counselling books before heading out for a walk round the block during my lunch break. I’m hoping to introduce a new system for organising the careers books so I ponder this whilst pounding the streets.

After lunch (or to be more precise, during lunch) I drive over to our Hinckley site for the start of my evening cover. Things are much quieter at this site. It’s a dedicated arts library (opposed to the Nuneaton library which is cross-curricular) and it interests me the different ways in which the two libraries are used. Nuneaton serves a lot of Access students who have specific enquiries or require one-to-one sessions on referencing techniques. Hinckley is used more as a workroom, with students taking photos, building models on the tables, creating music on the computers etc. I find time for some classification until 5pm when things quieten down and the other library staff leave. I then use this time to log on to both computers on the enquiry desk; the one I use to perform the LMS housekeeping tasks and on the other I create a new media type (e-magazine). As Systems Librarian, I often do tasks which mean having to ask the rest of the team to log out of Heritage but I try to do these during my evening cover as much as possible. It’s a bit of a hassle doing a 12 hour shift, but I get much more done than I would during the standard working day. Plus I get an afternoon off in lieu for it too! Hurrah!