On Wednesday it was back to Gaskell library, my “home” library, for more training. First up was the opening routine, which is basically switching everything on and changing the date on the stamps and the wind-on calendar (which is sort of like this without the clock but the numbers are on a fabric scroll and you have to move them by hand). Next I put the float in the till and had to fill in all the paperwork ready to take to the finance office, which was made extra exciting by the discovery that one of the receipts was missing and nothing added up properly.
After that palaver I learned about invoices, which get sent to borrowers who’ve lost books. Apparently some people have received invoices for hundreds of pounds before! I wouldn’t like to be the person who has to explain that to the customer…
I then got the chance to get a bit more familiar with the layout of the library as it was time for straightening and shelving, which is exactly what it sounds like – making sure the books are on the shelves in the right order and that they’re standing up properly and not broken. Shelving was made a bit more complicated by the fact that the labels on the ends of the shelves telling you which books are on them are all wrong, thanks to the stock edit that’s been taking place. Cue a lot of wandering around peering at spines of books to find the elusive 616.475 or whatever it happened to be.
After this I had another go at journal acquisitions, and impressed with my neat sticker-work. It’s the small things that make the difference.
After lunch I sat at the issue counter for a while, but didn’t get the chance to actually issue any books as the library is very quiet at the moment. When term begins I am assured we will be a bit busier! We did put a lot of leaflets in a lot of wallets though, ready to hand out to new students at the start of term.
The last task of the day was to explore the various databases that are available online for students to use, and to get familiar with them in order to be able to explain them to customers. Eventually I will be creating a podcast which explains how to use one of them, which is slightly terrifying, so I need to get used to using it myself.
Thursday involved more of the same – I started with the opening routines, and got ink all over my fingers when I changed the date stamps, which is a great way to start the day. I’m terrified I’ll smear ink across my face one day and not notice for ages.
I then went up to the book stock to do the pickings list, which is a big list of all the books that have been reserved by people online. We have to find all the books on the shelf and bring them down, either to put on our reservations shelf ready for collection, or to send off to the other libraries for students to pick up there. The list on Thursday was 9 pages long but apparently during term time it can get to over 20!
Next up was a library student induction – minus the students. Mark showed me the presentation they have put together to introduce new students to the library, and it was good to have a look at what they get told about the library and what sort of questions might arise from the presentation. I was also quite impressed with the presentation because it is made with Prezi, which allows you to swoosh around from slide to slide. Apparently it’s quite difficult to set up, though, if the amount of complaining the other librarians do about it is anything to go by.
Afterwards I did some shelving, which I had to stop halfway through because I can’t actually reach the top shelf properly, and then sorted the cash receipts again. Thankfully everything was shipshape this time round.
Just before lunch I was shown a bit about digitisation, which is going to be one of my main jobs during the year, and was given my first job to do, which was copying an article ready to convert it to pdf.
After lunch the big boss came to show me everything that lives behind the enquiry desk – about ten folders’ worth of information, all of which I need to become familiar with. I’m going to start with the folder which is called “Library Staff Must-Knows” as that seems like a good thing to get under my belt first. During our chat a woman asked for help finding books, so I went up with her to the shelves to hunt for them. It was interesting because she’d reserved them even though they were available on the shelves, clearly expecting reservations to be a bit like an online shopping basket, where you can save books you want for later, rather than a system for ordering in books that are at other sites or currently on loan. This is something that a lot of students apparently don’t get, so I’m expecting to be wandering the shelves quite a bit during the year.
The last part of the day was spent at the counter, which was again quite quiet, and gave us the opportunity to have a chat about pretty much anything and everything.
All in all, a good two days, in which I learned a lot and got some more hands-on experience of librarianship. I’m feeling a bit more settled in already.