I am happy to report that just over three weeks ago, after a period of intense job-hunting, I was offered a new job in a HE college library and I am now working as an Assistant Librarian in my first professional post!
It’s a very interesting job because both the library (officially known as the Learning Resources Centre) and the campus are brand new, which means that I have an opportunity to help shape the service from its very beginnings – an exciting prospect! At this stage there are a number of new initiatives which we are keen to set up, including a programme of information literacy workshops for students, as well as subject liaison services for academics. I’m very excited about both of these initiatives as I’m keen to take on teaching and subject support responsibilities as part of my new role. My role also involves taking responsibility for the supervision and line management of three library assistants, which is a new experience for me but one which I’m really enjoying so far – everyone on my team is very friendly and supportive.
As you might expect with a brand new library service, there have been ups and downs over the past few weeks as we iron out the kinks with various pieces of equipment and IT processes. We have been fielding a lot of enquiries from new students and lecturers about computer passwords and printing procedures in particular, and last week we launched our new cashless printing system which inevitably created a new surge in enquiries and technical issues which needed to be sorted out. Luckily, the new IT walk-in centre has now opened next door to the LRC and this should make things a lot simpler next week when it comes to assisting students with their IT queries.
Next week should also see the launch of our three new iHubs, which are rooms containing large wall-mounted screens and equipment that the students can use to practice their presentations or do group work exercises. Because the students have a designated space in which to do this type of work, the rest of the LRC is split into quiet, silent or express zones, which is to ensure that everyone has access to the type of study space which suits their needs.
One of my priorities on Monday will be to check all the reading lists that arrived in my inbox towards the end of last week and then order any new books that we need for our collection. Our physical collection is not actually very large at the moment, partly because the college is only enrolling first year undergraduates and foundation students at the new campus at this stage, but also because our acquisitions strategy is to focus mainly on the expansion of our e-resource provision. From a collection management perspective, this will be a useful learning experience for me as I have never worked with a predominantly electronic collection before. It will be interesting to observe whether having a mainly electronic collection changes the way that students make use of the LRC space.
Although I clearly have more than enough to keep me busy at the moment(!), having a new job has meant that I’ve been thinking about possible new CPD objectives for the coming academic year. I’ve finally made the leap and become a member of CILIP, which has led me to consider the possibility of chartering at some point in the future. However, in the aftermath of the interesting UKLibChat session on careers which I attended last month at Library Camp, I’ve been wondering whether a teaching qualification might not be more immediately relevant to my new job and to my career aspirations. Of course, until I establish exactly how much teaching I will be doing in my new role, it’s hard to know whether such a qualification would be useful in the short-term, but it’s definitely something that I might consider doing in the future.
In the mean-time, my priority is to familiarise myself with my new role, get to know all my new colleagues, learn as much as I possibly can, and start assisting with the creation of an awesome new library service 🙂