Monday, 15 June 2015

An insight into library working life

Despite not being granted any of my initial work experience choices, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed working at the Marshall Library of Economics.

Admittedly I was a little nervous for my first day of work. On my induction I met Sue and was introduced to a couple of the members of staff. Everyone seemed pleasant, but nonetheless I feared that people would be unaccommodating; after having heard work experience ‘horror-stories’ from older students. Fortunately my fears were needless – all faculty members were polite and accepting of me and any mistakes I made. By the end of the day I’d learnt how to catalogue, figured out how to issue and discharge books, had been given a tour of the basement and had organised out-dated registration forms.

Conveniently my parents work in Cambridge, and were able to pick me up and drop off at their work on Hills Road, and from there it’s a 15 – 20 minute walk to the Marshall Library. My break and lunch hours were flexible - typically I took a half an hour break at 11:00, and an hour lunch break from 1:00 – 2:00. For lunch I either walked into the city centre to meet friends, or grabbed lunch at one of the restaurants along the river with my parents.

I particularly enjoyed myself on Friday of the first week. In the morning I worked with Sue on end of week banking procedures, was shown the university bank, and was given a tour of the University Library. During the induction I expressed an interest in English, so Sue kindly arranged a visit to the English Faculty Library for me in the afternoon; where I was given a tour of the library by a school classmate. Everyone was again very welcoming in the English Faculty, and I was given the opportunity to ask questions about the undergraduate English course.

During my time at the library I was made aware of the library’s presence on social media, and the importance of maintaining a creative and contemporary business via advertising their services. Although the library has a smaller building and less storage space than those of other departments, the Marshall Library is an essential faculty for the economics students to have as a primary working space and resource.

I’ve never had a ‘proper’ job before aside from babysitting, which evidently is nothing at all like working in a university library for ten days. There were a few very quiet times during the two weeks, but ultimately I grew to understand the challenges and advantages of working in a library. I am now encouraged to persevere with my own academic aspirations for the future.

I have undoubtedly learnt a lot during my placement at the Marshall Library. I feel as if I’ve gained a lot more independence, confidence and developed an understanding of university life. I now have a further appreciation for libraries – particularly Marshall Library – as I now know first-hand how much work and dedication it takes to sustain a library that is, perhaps, a little overlooked.

Selin (work experience 1 to 12 June 2015)