Reflective Log: Thursday 18th April 2013

Almost caught up with my blogging now – I’m finally writing about the previous week instead of longer ago. This afternoon I am on the enquiry desk on Floor 1 for two hours, and it is so loud in here that I can barely hear myself think. And this is the designated Quiet Floor? Yeah, right… I think everyone has finally reached the opinion that this is an unwinnable battle. We might as well just rebrand it the Common Room. /rant

So anyway, last week was a bit different, as I was working at our other branch – the Management Library (MCL). MCL is in a converted unitarian chapel, and it is quite a stunning library to walk into at first – it certainly has the wow factor. High ceilings, stained-glass windows, the lot. However, once you’ve got over how pretty it is and actually spend some time trying to do things, you quickly realise that the space isn’t ideal. The acoustics of the building mean that the smallest noise can be heard on all of the floors, so if you have two people whispering this can quickly irritate a lot of other students. The layout is also particularly inaccessible due to a poor use of the space – there are entire aisles of books that cannot be accessed when students are using the study space, because there simply isn’t enough room between the wall and the shelves for a person sitting at a desk. I was also told several stories of ‘inappropriate’ use of the space by students, as there are closed off cubicles and lots of places to hide.

Having said all of that, my week at management was much appreciated – I somewhat thought of it as a bit of a mini-break from the hustle and bustle of my normal library life. The difference that hit me the most was the tranquility of it – it was a far cry from the floor I’m currently sitting on as I write this. Granted, there are some mischievous students, but on the whole it far more matched the stereotype of a quiet library where you could come to study in peace.

Last week was the first week back after the Easter holidays, but as I’m not usually there I’m unable to tell you if it was busy or slow – there was a steady flow of students throughout the day, but we were never rushed off our feet, and numbers-wise it didn’t compare at all to the main library – even on the day that there was only me and one other staff member on customer services, we managed to keep everything in order just fine.

Tasks I did included time on the counter, which was far less stressful than normal; shelving, which I enjoyed far more than I do at the main library, probably because there’s less space to cover and you actually have time to tidy up the shelves as you’re going along; discarding a few hundred Wiley journals that we thought we had the go-ahead to do, but we were told halfway through the week that actually we weren’t sure if we had secure online access to these journals or not so to stop immediately – unfortunately I’d already got through them all…; and spine labelling, because there are a fair few anomalies on the shelves of labels that either have too many digits on each row or are simply too old to read properly.

I don’t think I’d want to work there all the time, as I could imagine my world standing still with little opportunity to grow whereas I enjoy having more variety. However, I definitely enjoyed the week and I look forward to helping out again on the odd days when they need cover.Image

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