The World of Work

Posted on June 24, 2011


On the 6th of June I started my new job as an Assistant Librarian in an NHS Library. I am now the proud owner of what feels like several million ID badges and passwords! Sheffield and library school seems like a dream; albeit it with a recurring nightmare about writing a dissertation……..

Where I am working now is not new to me as I worked here as a graduate trainee in 2009/2010. This has certainly helped me to settle in as I am familiar with many of the people and the day-to-day library processes. However, there is still a lot of learning to do and I take my hat of to anyone who is starting a completely new job while also doing their dissertation. Working where I have worked before is, in a word, weird (good weird I hasten to add). When I left last August to go to library school I never thought I would be working here again; I was just lucky that a job opening appeared towards the end of the MA. One of the challenges in coming back as a librarian rather than a graduate trainee is that I need to change how people view me. My post is now a professional and slightly more senior post than it was before and I need to make sure that I give off the right impression. It is also difficult in that I had worked alongside the previous post holder and she was always a fountain of knowledge and so I have big shoes to fill. No pressure then.

One of the things I find interesting is that the title of my post has changed. Previously it was titled ‘Information and Training Officer’ and now it is ‘Assistant Librarian’. I am pleased about this as I think that using the term ‘Librarian’ makes the post seem less generic and helps to convey that it is a professional post. I also believe that it increases the scope of my job role which I see as positive as flexibility is definitely needed these days.

In the 3 weeks since starting this job I have learnt a lot, and not just about the library. So far I have received a day’s induction to the NHS which was interesting and provided an opportunity to meet other newbies who are working all over the hospital. I’ve also received Information Governance training to understand how the NHS deals with information. Soon I will be off visiting another NHS Library in my region to receive cataloguing training. Cataloguing is something that I have never done before and I feel that it was missing from the MA in Librarianship at the University of Sheffield. I’m aware that people either seem to love or hate cataloguing so I will be interested to see what side I take!

Part of my role will involve designing and delivering training sessions to library users and there is currently talk of developing some elearning sessions. I think elearning is a great idea given how dispersed and short of time NHS staff are. I suppose the future is going to be more about reaching out and taking library services to the library users. Luckily one of the great things about my job is that the rest of the library team (made up of a Library Manager, Library Assistant and Graduate Trainee) are really open to new ideas.

The next couple of weeks (apparently) can be described as a lull before the storm as the medical students have mostly finished their placements and the junior doctors are coming towards the end of their contracts. The end of July/beginning of August will see the new junior doctors begin and so there will be lots of new library members to process and library inductions to give. I intend to use this ‘quiet’ spell to learn as much as possible and to get to grips with a lot of the things I have not really done before such as editing the website (I have been assured that it is easier than it looks!).

So to bring my now rather long ramble to a close I will just say that I am looking forward to getting stuck in and seeing how the library develops over the next few months. Now I just need to find some time in my life to complete this dissertation….unless anyone would like to write it for me?

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