Reporting back after my first few weeks in the new job!
It’s been enrollment, so it’s been all hands on deck and I haven’t yet had the chance to do anything library related apart from sneak a peek at the books! The library has been transformed into the enrollment centre and all the bookshelves have been moved to one side, and I’m just desperate to get them all back to their rightful place and see the library back in action! But it’s been really useful to gain an insight into the enrollment process, and to learn about the different courses! The college has two seperate campuses, and I am lucky enough to be based at the main campus where all the creative courses are- so it’s been really inspiring to look round and see all the students’ artwork on display, and there is a really lively, exciting atmosphere in the college!
The library itself is a bright and spacious modern building called the ‘Information hub’, with some famous quotes printed on the walls and two floors of books and computers. There are three study rooms downstairs, and upstairs is reserved for higher education students. Student Services are also based in the hub at a separate desk, on hand to support students with life, love, career advice and money matters. The circulation desk is a square shaped island in the centre of the ground floor with access from all sides, and is a good spot to view the whole library from. I was quite suprised to learn there is software which enables you to view any computer screen in the library at any time through a staff pc, so it is possible to see what students are looking at on their screen without them knowing!
There are quite a few differences after coming from a much larger university library, for example the various library staff members and departments are narrowed to just the manager, myself and another assistant who works across both campuses. There are no self-service points, no journal sections, and perhaps the biggest change of all is that there is currently no library management system in place, or way for staff and students to search a library catalogue, other than viewing what’s on the shelves! They had previously been using an open source library management system called Cyberlibrary which they had phased out (I’m intrigued to find out more about it and it’s failings), and are currently waiting for the new library management system Heritage Cirqa to be installed.
I’m really excited as part of my role will be recataloguing all the books in the library onto the new system and starting from scratch, so it will be a great learning curve to join at the start of implementing the new system. Once all the library items are catalogued it will be amazing for staff and students to be able to search for and book items and to get the library site up and running, and there is also talk of setting up interactive reading sessions with the SEN students, and information literacy sessions, and to create opportunities to really engage students with what the library can offer them. So I am feeling really positive and motivated to start my mission and get going! My course starts at the end of September so I’m also looking forward to that, but feeling a bit apprehensive about managing the coursework alongside working full time, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and it looks like the course content will be a huge help in my new job too!
(There is also a biscuit draw!)