End of term round-up!

It’s the end of term already and the students have mostly gone home for Christmas, so I thought that I would use this time to do a quick round-up of my traineeship thus far.

Although my schedule has settled down somewhat, in as much as I’m no longer away from the library every few days attending training sessions, I still haven’t really settled into a daily routine. This is because my days continue to be really varied, and although there are some tasks which must be done every day – such as clearing the tables and re-shelving books – I’m finding that every day is different in terms of the work that I do.

Last week was Recall week, which in our library is when all the books are recalled before borrowing begins for the vacation period. As such we were inundated with books and we spent about three days re-shelving them all, as well as dealing with many reservation requests from students and issuing fines for overdue books. It was a hectic few days and quite tiring, but I enjoyed the busyness and the bustle because it made an interesting change from the usually more sedate atmosphere of the library.

Also last week I was webmaster of the CATALOG website for the first time. This is a website which is maintained and updated by the current intake of graduate trainees in Cambridge and it provides information about the traineeships, about library school and about librarianship as a career. I used to dabble in HTML for fun when I was a bit younger, so I really enjoyed being responsible for the website for a week and it was a great opportunity to refresh my web authoring skills.

In collaboration with the other trainees, I have also been writing part of a presentation which the trainees are going to give at the Libraries@Cambridge Conference on 6th January. The theme of the conference is ‘Working Together in Cambridge – a Celebration’ and so we decided to publicise the Cambridge graduate trainee scheme as a great example of collaborative working between libraries – the CATALOG website is one such illustration of this collaboration. As trainees we also have the opportunity to visit many other libraries, which enables us both to gain a wider insight into different working practices and also potentially to feed back new ideas to our own libraries. It’s been really rewarding to work on this project with the other trainees, as we all have different strengths and so we each bring something important to the group. I hope that together we’ve been able to create an interesting presentation for the conference – we’ll be looking forward to getting some feedback on the day 🙂

In one final update, I have recently taken on an exciting new project to create a digital image repository for the many images which are currently held by the library. These are mainly images of the library itself at various points in time and include pictures of the books, the architecture and also of the old wooden card catalogue cabinet before it was replaced by the OPAC. The College also holds many other images on various servers and the eventual plan is for the digital image repository to store all of these in a central location where they can be accessed by all College staff.

I am going to be responsible for laying the foundations for this project, and so my first task as a trainee librarian will be to design some cataloguing conventions to ensure that all the images are tagged in a consistent and accessible manner. I’ll also be doing some research into copyright law in order to ascertain which images may be altered or reproduced by the College for such things as marketing materials and student newsletters. I suspect that there will be a fair amount of research to be done, as well as liaising with the other College departments that own images, but I’m very much looking forward to the challenge of initiating this project, and I hope that it will continue to expand even after I have completed my placement here.

So, to summarise, I’m really enjoying my trainee year so far and the best part is the huge variety of different tasks that I am involved in on a daily basis. However, even though it’s still three weeks until Christmas, I’m already looking forward to next year when the students come back – the library’s too quiet without them! 🙂

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