Day Two was exciting for two reasons: I was going to get to meet all the other GTs at MMU, and I didn’t have to be there until 10am. Result!
The libraries had planned a central graduate induction day, where we would find out more about our roles and the sorts of things we could expect to do and see during our year at MMU. We kicked off with the standard “I’m Emily and I’m from London” type stuff, as well as the “I wanted to be a librarian because…” and “I think I got the job because…” type stuff too. It was really interesting to hear how the other six trainees have ended up here; we’ve all come from different backgrounds and all have something different to bring to the role. (I’ll probably end up doing a post about my own motivations to become a librarian at some point, so watch this space.)
Next, the head of Library Services talked to us about the history of MMU, the libraries’ role in its history and the services they provide today, and the types of opportunities we will have this year, including presenting seminars, creating podcasts and (hopefully) visiting the BBC library in MediaCity (I hear there are Daleks!). It all sounded very exciting and the more I hear about the things I will have the chance to do, the more I am reassured that I’m in the right place and doing the right thing.
Then Mark, one of my new colleagues, gave a talk about the types of things we can expect when working on the issue desk. He emphasised the importance of providing excellent customer service, especially now that students are paying so much from their education and will expect our service to reflect that. As well as an overview of the tasks at the issue counter, Mark highlighted the skills that we will improve on when we’re there, including interpersonal skills and the ability to work under pressure, both of which are great on a CV.
Then a former GT, Darren, told us about his experience of the GT year, including the training, skills, courses and visits that have been available to him, as well as mentioning the “n-word” – networking. Although I agree with him that it’s a bit clunky when it’s a verb, I also agree that networking is a big part of starting out in a profession such as librarianship and so am looking forward to getting to know more of the other library staff at MMU and further afield at the various meet-ups throughout the year.
After Darren’s talk we broke for lunch, which was a huge selection of sandwiches and cake, along with a fruit selection which was sadly not on par with the fruit platters they used to provide at Newcastle University – I missed the watermelon and grapes! We then split up, and half of us were ferried over to Didsbury Library in the Vice Chancellor’s Mercedes (very fancy) to be trained on using the library management software.
I was relieved to find that the software is generally quite intuitive and straightforward, and haven’t yet had any major problems with it. I even managed to find myself on the system, which I was quite pleased about since my staff card hasn’t turned up from HR yet with all my details on it. We were also shown the self service machines, which are also really easy (especially seeing as I used to use them regularly at Newcastle), although they are a bone of contention with some librarians who are predicting that the students won’t use them correctly, which would cause all sorts of hassle.
After filling in a quiz to make sure I’d learned something during the day, it was home time at 4pm – a nice short day, but one which made me feel eager to get stuck in with library work. It was also really good to meet the different GTs and start getting to know them – hopefully we can build up a little GT network and have a great year together. If anyone would like to read about the GT year at MMU from a different perspective, one of my counterparts at Didsbury, Becky, has a blog here.