Reflective Log: Monday 17th December 2012

Another week, another Monday. Having written the date, I am suddenly aware that it is my father’s birthday and I’d completely forgotten. Also I’m fairly sure I’m not well enough to be in work today, but I’ve trundled along anyway – we’ll see how that goes, shall we?! Mind is not yet functioning (will it ever?), so even with the use of last week’s diary I’m having trouble remembering what I did with all my time. I don’t think I did anything exciting enough to mention last Monday – made some signs for missing/incorrect shelf ends on the new floors. Somehow managed to confuse myself in the process so it took far more effort than it should have. Tuesday’s main event was attending one of Susan’s (subject librarian) sessions for a dissertation group. She showed the students RSS feeds, Zetoc and Endnote Web. Probably as informative for me as it was for the students, which is definitely a good thing. I also helped some students set up the LGBT society (don’t get me started on how terrible I think it is that there was nothing in place for freshers this year!!).

Wednesday I shall get back to in a moment.

Thursday’s main event was attending the library’s group for performance measurement and benchmarking, and taking the minutes for the meeting. Lots more acronyms and discussions that I didn’t entirely understand, which made minuting pretty tricky, but I don’t think I did too bad a job, and I came out of the meeting understanding way more than I did when I went in. There was a lot of discussion about the National Student Survey, and how other parts of the university wrongly use the library as an excuse for poor marks. I was also planning on attending the staff LGBT meeting at lunchtime, but I turned up and there was no sign of anyone, and after a few minutes of waiting I got scared and bottled it. Fail. Friday morning was taken up by helping Sarah invigilate an exam – oh my word, what a nightmare! The exam involved chemistry students mapping out chemical structures on SciFinder, which should have been straightforward. Unfortunately, there was no end of problems with browsers and Java and computer settings (and student stupidity…), which made it a very stressful experience for everybody involved, particularly for a lot of the students. We all got there eventually though, and I think it was a relief when it was all over. Definitely a steep learning curve for next time!

My main event of the week was meeting the graduate trainees at Leeds and Leeds Met, and visiting the library at Leeds Met. Apologies to Penny right now for my inability to do this topic justice – I should have written this when it was still fresh in my mind, not 5 days later when my brain isn’t functioning due to illness and fatigue – maybe I should have followed her around with a notebook and pen after all!

The first thing that was immediately different was entry to the library – the gates don’t operate in the daytime. Mind was blown from the start! Their front desks also worked differently – they had a separate desk for AV and laptops, which I think would be a great idea at Bradford, because all we ever seem to do on the counter is run backwards and forwards with laptops, although granted I don’t think it would be worth having a member of staff allocated to do this task alone. Their main enquiry desk had an added subject librarian (I think?) on it alongside customer service staff, which I thought was a good idea, as when someone comes to the counter at Bradford with an information query, this tends to take some time to help them with, by which point there will be a massive queue behind them. The other biggest difference for staff was that Leeds Met didn’t have a book sorter, which at first I thought was horrifying, but thinking about it, our bins at the sorter are no bigger than their manual bins, so they probably both require around the same amount of attention as each other.

Onwards and upwards! Like us, the resources and main study spaces were upstairs. I remember being impressed by the number of computers, and terrified by the state of the books on the shelves. However, I have since been told that Bradford’s shelves didn’t look too dissimilar from this before the refurbishment. Leeds Met’s non-silent study floor was quite loud, but had nothing on the state of our floor 1 monkey pit, but their silent floor wasn’t silent either (our talking didn’t help…!). Whilst being shown the rest of building, I liked the idea of the ‘slide library’ (yes, you’ve guessed it, a room full of drawers and drawers of slides) but I was disappointed by my inability to work the slide machine. The thing that I was very interested in was that Leeds Met had its own disability resources room – something that Bradford very definitely needs to get onto the agenda. I imagine I’ll be talking to Penny and a-librarian-whose-name-I-can’t-for-the-life-of-me-remember-but-was-very-nice about disability resources in the library a lot more when I begin to think about my project properly.

I’m sure are lots of other things I should be talking about from this visit (social media! I was very impressed by their use of and delegation for Twitter, and Penny really seems to have a grip on things like Pinterest and other cool techy stuff), and I know that I left the library feeling pretty enthusiastic and inspired for things that I could do at Bradford (already starting to think about displays), but my mind is frazzled and I’m out of time for log-writing today. Thanks for reading, sorry for rambling, the usual!

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