I cannot believe that I am on my fourth journal entry already – time really does fly when you’re working hard! After reading through my last entries, I am resolving to use fewer exclamation works, although whether or not this will happen I do not know, given I used one in the first sentence. So. The last week. I started the week by completing the university’s diversity module, which took about two hours of my time and involved reading through legislation-type things and scenarios, and being quizzed at the end. It was all common sense and things that I already knew, so it was a bit frustrating having to spend my time doing it, but I do think it is very good that all new staff have to complete this module, especially as topics such as transgendered people were covered, although not in as much detail as I would have liked. Continuing on with this theme, my other activity of the morning was to attend an Accessible Library workshop for students, run by one of the subject librarians and the team member who helps students with disabilities with all their library needs. Unfortunately, no students actually bothered to turn up, so instead the three of us sat down and had a discussion about what the library offers to students with disabilities and what else it could and should have. I was also added onto the fetch service – a small team of us that collect books for students with disabilities upon request. I am really hoping that I’ll be able to contribute positively in making the library accessible for as many students as possible, as this is something I’m particularly passionate about and plan to do my project on later in the year.On Tuesday I attended the International group’s meeting. There were 4 of us in attendance, and I took the minutes – it turns out iPads are super useful for things like this! The discussion was very interesting, and we talked about quite a few things: sessions for both students and staff that the group has run, an article on library language that’s being published in SCONUL Focus and a paper that two members of the group are hoping to present at the LILAC conference. The topic that took up the most time was a discussion we had on prayer rooms (or rather, lack of). Bradford being as diverse a city as it is means that many of our students have particular religious needs, and students have to trek across campus regularly to pray. We discussed where we could possibly fit prayer rooms into the library building, how this would affect other groups of students (e.g. breast-feeding mothers also need a space), and what the students would actually need with regards to nearby washing facilities etc. It was a very interesting discussion, and the first of many to come I would imagine.
I braved my second ASG meeting on Wednesday, and survived again (hurrah!). There was a discussion about what ‘quiet’ should mean on the newly refurbished quiet floor of the library, as there are lots of groups talking at conversational level and higher at the moment. It seemed like there was only one other person in the room who shared my view that quiet should be minimal whispering, and certainly not talking at normal level, and I was dying to contribute to this conversation, but was still far too nervous to do so. Fail.
The other meeting I had was with the e-resources librarian, who talked to me for an hour about our e-resources, access, the website and a few other bits and bobs. Most of it went over my head, but I did pick up some useful tips, such as problems students might come to me with about accessing journals from home using Athens (or not, as the case may be), which sure enough I did then need to share this information with a student later on in the day.
The rest of my week was filled with lots more nice and repetitive tasks, including but not limited to sorting through and ordering around 150 SAE papers, emptying a room entirely filled with pamphlet boxes stacked as high as the ceiling, labelling more journals and assisting with moving the printed journals back into the building from storage.
Afternoons were, as always, filled with customer services. I was taught how to do a few more back-of-house tasks, such as answering emails and phone calls at the hot desk, repairing books, and collecting theses that have been requested.
I am obviously still on a steep learning curve on the desks – I’m getting better at general questions and tasks on the enquiry desk, but the welcome desk is still really confusing, as this is where students come if they have trouble with their card or accounts, and often involves a lot of detective work and searching systems, which I still don’t quite have a hold on yet. Maybe this week?!