I realise I have been slow on the blogging front: the last two weeks have been hectic, but very enjoyable! As a result, this post will be slightly long-winded, I apologise (I will settle on a weekly slot in which I can blog to my heart’s content). Anyway, thus far I’ve adopted the approach of saying ‘yes’ to everything here at Bradford, and getting stuck in, and I feel like so far it’s working.
I’ve mostly been spending my mornings meeting with Subject Librarians and the back-of-house team, and finding out a bit more about what they do, and then my afternoons are spent with Customer Services. I’m happy to say that although I was slightly terrified about serving students on the front desk, I now sort of know what I’m talking about! (I think my terror of this was more of a deep-seated trait to feel like I should know EVERYTHING NOW, rather than the students themselves!) A colleague joked that after a fortnight I ‘almost’ looked like I knew what I was doing, which I took as a compliment. I can do the basics, but complex directional and procedural queries still leave me a bit baffled. I’ve also surprised myself by managing to help students out in a couple of teaching sessions: that being said, the nursing students taught me a bit about using and searching EBSCO themselves (it turns out that maggot therapy is actually a thing – who knew!).
Bradford has two really good collections in the form of the Commonweal Collection and the Special Collections, so I’m looking forward to working with those and finding out more about the process of acquiring, cataloguing, sorting – generally, the creation of such things, and how they can be promoted so that people get the best out of them (and finding out more about Bradford and the University itself, I am hopeless at Yorkshire history!). Alison (the Special Collections Librarian) very kindly got some of the Special Collections items out for me to have a look at, and it is no exaggeration to say I felt like a kid in a sweet shop!
I’ve also been getting to grips with tools the students can use to help with their studies – luckily, I’ve used a very similar catalogue in my previous studies, so am well-versed in that respect already! Bradford has just launched a new search engine called Summon, which searches all the electronic subscriptions the Library has, as well as the catalogue. Summon is, in my opinion, an amazing thing (I’ve never had the privilege of being able to use a search engine like that), and I’ve already seen at least one student be shown Summon and find the journal article they were desperately seeking almost immediately! The publicity for Summon around the University has been really good, and everyone has been working really hard to get it up and running, so I think the students will soon be reaping the benefits of it. I also sat in on a teaching session about EndNote – something equally amazing and helpful that I have never used! Having written two dissertation bibliographies by hand (and gone through the trauma of not saving one and having to re-type it), I can admit that I am a little jealous of Bradford students! Although once I undertake my project later this year, I’m sure I’ll put these things to use.
In other news, I’ve now joined CILIP (student membership ahoy!) and am starting to explore the world of the internet in terms of groups and helpful pages for budding librarians, so will hopefully be in the loop about events and so forth. I’m starting to think about Library and Information MA courses too (any advice on these is most welcome). I’ve already raised the idea of a library workers Leeds meet-up with my colleague Suzi (who is doing her MA at Sheffield at the moment), which will be really nice and probably fairly nerdy. Apparently I am also to embark upon the Bradford curry experience next week with some folk from the Library, which will be lovely!