18th November

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Good morning world!

Well, what have I been up to? Last week was busy and seemed to pass in a flash.

I was allowed to go it alone on the enquiry desk on the first floor (where some of the books live), which is something that the subject librarians do throughout the week. When you’re on the desk, you’re a second port of call for help for the students, and questions can be varied in the extreme. As usual, I was slightly terrified about this! It proved to be fine though, as I had only to contend with ‘Do you have a stapler?’ and ‘Where can I find 005.336?’, so nothing too complex for my first solo effort!

I also attended a meeting about performance measurement and benchmarking on Monday morning. Basically, the Library is implementing new ways to measure how effective the service is for all the different kinds of students that come to the University, by way of mapping customer journeys. This involves (as far as I can gather, and in very simple terms), putting together a sort of timeline that involves what the students need and expect from the Library when they come here, and also what happens back-of-house to make sure these needs are met and that communication is effective. This seems like a marvellous idea to me, especially the communication part, as it can be unsettling when you come to university and have to learn new systems and library use policies (my school library was about the size of one the computer suites here at Bradford, so it was a step up!). Anyway, my role in this is to put together a literature review regarding how library users are usually segmented for such purposes. I’ve never done a literature review in the purest sense, being an English graduate, but my degrees have involved absorbing and presenting quite a wide range of critical and cultural material throughout, so I should be okay (fingers crossed!). Luckily – or perhaps unluckily for him – my brother is a sociologist so he’s very au fait with such things. No doubt I’ll be getting him to read over it for me!

I took part in another school session as well, which was quite fun, and once again actually managed to help the students out a bit. Upon being asked to find a book on the catalogue in relation to their research project, and then go and locate it in our library, one of the students managed to choose a text that had a classmark of something like 567.94857365 ART, which was impressive! Nothing like jumping in at the deep end, eh?

I also had a meeting with Martin, who works in Special Collections with Alison, which was fun! I have to say that Martin is the only person I’ve ever met who didn’t look at me blankly when I said I did my MA dissertation on ventriloquism and silence in Charles Brockden Brown, which was refreshing! Most people say, “Oh… who?”, listen politely, and then move the conversation on!  American literature aside, we talked a bit more about the collections, the art that Bradford holds and what working with these things entails (I’m still massively looking forward to it!). He also showed me a couple of projects he’s working on that I might be helping out with, and I got to learn a bit more about Isaac Holden (merchant and politician extraordinaire), whose letters I’ve had a peek at.

I have my one-month review tomorrow with my manager Sarah, who is absolutely lovely, so I’m hoping it goes well! I might bring in some biscuits to ease the terror. Will update on how that goes next week.

In non-Bradford-related news, I did indeed go to the Georgians Revealed exhibition at the British Library yesterday, which was lovely! I love being at the British Library anyway (especially the shop!), so an excellent time was had. They had some wonderful things there, and some of the books and playbills on display were amazing, such a privilege to be able to see them. The miniature children’s books were so gorgeous! I also noticed that there were some Georgian shoes all the way from the Shoe Museum in Northampton (somewhere I always drag first-time Northampton visitors to)! I was very proud to see my hometown’s heritage in a more national exhibition.

Anyhow, I shall stop rambling for now – I realise I need to do a 23 Things update, so I may try and slot that in slightly later in the week! I have joined LinkedIn, however, and my Twittering can be found below, but I need to get on with the slideshow/videocast stuff (don’t worry, there’ll be no videos of me talking about books, haha!).

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