Day Five heralded my first TGIF moment of my career; I was so tired by the end of the week I could barely stop yawning!
I had an easy start to the day on the counter, with hardly any customers to deal with. Afterwards, I went up to Room 203 and learned what has been happening at the library with stock editing. In 2014 Elizabeth Gaskell Campus will close and the faculty will move to a new site currently being built. The library will merge with the central library at All Saints, but there’s not a huge amount of space at All Saints as it’s already merged with another site and will be merging with two more around the same time as Gaskell. This means that we are having to cut down our stock hugely to be ready for the move. Some of the librarians are investigating each book on the shelves, working out how often it’s been lent out and when it was last borrowed, to decide whether it’s worth keeping or not. There are already quite a few empty shelves and there’ll be a lot more by the end of the year. The books that are candidates for withdrawal go to Room 203 to be sorted out, and either they are deemed worthy of keeping or they are condemned to boxes which go off to a book-selling company. Books to be sold have their front pages removed and processed to make sure they’re taken off the catalogue, and this turns out to be what the morgue and graveyard used to be for. It’s a bit less macabre than what I’d originally thought! When you’re working in a building that looks like this, though, you can’t help but wonder…
The middle of the day was spent watching podcasts to learn how to make them myself. I’m starting work on my own podcast soon, so need to work out the sort of things I should say in it, and the visual style I should be aiming for, in order to make my podcast easy to follow and really accessible. I also spent some time getting familiar with the database I’ll be making a podcast about, and discovered some quite gruesome dissection pictures on it. I think the challenge is going to be keeping the disgust out of my voice when I narrate the video!
I then did some digitisation work, filling in request forms and spreadsheets and copying articles. I managed somehow to pull the lid of the photocopier off while copying a giant journal and was horrified at the thought of how much that would cost, but thankfully with Arlene the Principal Library Assistant’s help I managed to fix it before anyone else noticed! It’s quite frustrating not being able to stick with a digitisation request from start to finish but, unfortunately, until I get my email account up and running I can only do parts of it on my own.
The last hour of the day was supposed to be for me to learn about RFID tagging, but it only took Catherine five minutes to explain the whole thing for me. RFID tags are little stickers you put in the back of books and they are programmed with the book’s barcode and other information so that if you hold up a scanning device to a bookshelf you will instantly be able to see everything that’s on the shelf (and work out what’s missing), a bit like they do in supermarkets. This will come in really useful when the stock moves across to All Saints. The actual tagging process takes about 30 seconds – scan the book’s barcode, place a tag on the special programming mat, stick the tag in the book. Done! I did about 50 books while sitting at the issue counter chatting to the others – quite a relaxing end to my first week as a GT.
All in all I had a great first week; I really feel I’ve learned loads already and I know there’s a lot more to come, along with a lot more students to help. Some of the students are back already and the library is steadily getting busier (and noisier) but the real inundation will be next week. Bring it on!