Long time, no write

Well not on this blog anyway. The main reason for this is that I was on maternity leave from January 2014 until February this year, so not much happened library-wise during that time. Since I’ve now been back at work almost six months I thought I should get back to writing some more about my library-related life.

I’m still working in the same role (Senior Library Assistant, Cataloguing), but only three days a week, which is plenty with a small daughter (B) to look after. We’ve recently gone through the busiest time of year for the Bibliographic Services team – lots of ordered books etc. to invoice and catalogue, so that’s mainly what I’ve been doing, cataloguing-wise. We finished most of the ordered items last week, so now I’m working on some donations.

As far as the repository is concerned, there have been a few changes, including a new Special Collections Assistant Librarian (part-time), who works the same days of the week as me. We’re working on various tasks at the moment, including setting up unique IDs for depositors, re-vamping the repository web pages and getting involved with Open Access initiatives across the university, as well as the usual day-to-day metadata creation and editing.

I attended one day of the CILIP Cataloguing and Indexing Group’s biennial conference in September 2014, but sadly I never got round to writing it up – very bad, I know! It was my first cataloguing conference, and I really enjoyed it. It was very informative and encouraging, and good to meet people I’d previously only interacted with on Twitter.

Working group updates

I thought it was about time I wrote something more about the work of the groups I’ve been part of during this academic year. As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m currently in a group looking at using new technologies to communicate with our users/stakeholders, and also I was a member of the group tasked with looking at the use of space in the library building.

This latter group (known here as the Space Group) has now been disbanded, because we’ve now finished the projects we were asked to complete. We were asked to plan and implement a new ‘model’ creative space in the library, as well as extended the quiet study area. The creative space didn’t present us with too many problems, although our original suggestions of where to have this space and what to do with it in terms of decor were mostly rejected by the management team, so we ended up being told where to put the space and the implementation of the new creative space really just consisted of getting furniture moved round. When we first set up the space, it  looked more inviting and conducive to group and creative work, and we saw people using the space for this purpose, which was gratifying. However, since then, the space has been used for lectures, so all the furniture has been moved and not put back how we originally wanted it to be set out, so the “creative” space has really become no different from any of the other areas of the library.

The quiet study area presented us with a few more problems. As with the creative space, our original suggestions of where to situate the extended quiet study area were eventually rejected,  and we were asked to make the whole of one floor a quiet study area. This has presented various problems, not least there being a massive (deliberate) hole between a noisy floor and the quiet floor, so it’s impossible to keep the quiet area quiet, although as more people have got used to the space being a designated quiet zone it has got progressively quieter and, on the whole, easier to manage.

Although the group was asked to disband, we were then asked to evaluate the use of the space and how well we think we completed the tasks we were set. So, for the past few weeks library staff have been counting how many have been using the quiet zone, and the group have asked for and recorded feedback from library staff. Really, we needed to have a better mechanism in place for evaluating how the space is being used and also for getting feedback from students, but time and resources did not allow for this. So, we will present our report to the library managers and see what happens then.

The communication group is continuing, and things, on the whole, are going quite well. The number of followers of our Twitter feed continues to grow, and the university bookshop now has its own Twitter account as well. The library’s Twitter feed has proved really useful for informing people about various problems we’ve unfortunately experienced over the past few months, and for communicating with people who might not otherwise have engaged with library services. The pilot of the Twitter account has been extended until Easter, when we will need to submit our evaluation document to the library managers. We (well, our chairperson, mainly) have been gathering both quantitative and qualitative evidence in preparation for this, and I have foolishly volunteered to draft the report.

Since late last year, I’ve again become a member of the group that looks after documentation (printed guides and leaflets) and the library webpages. I’ve had some training on SharePoint Designer, and recently I’ve been re-getting to grips with making changes to web pages and adding items to the library news box.  We’re planning some changes to the library web site which should (hopefully) make it easier for people to find information, so I’m looking forward to seeing those come to fruition.

In other news, I have 90 boxes of donated books to catalogue – but only once I haven’t got anything else to do…so it could be a while before they get done…