Wednesday, 30 September 2015

My favourite things

Marshall Library crew a AM's grave, 2015
Fear not, this is not a Sound of Music-inspired farewell song or poem. However, as I’m trying to tie up loose ends, and tidy up my to-do list, inbox and desk, I’m just looking back a bit – before the end of my last full day at work at the Marshall (30 September 2015), after 1 year, 9 months, and 28 days (or 667 days and 8 hours if you prefer; I used a nifty online tool to “calculate” this!).

One of my favourite things – also pretty unusual – was the annual visit and tending to Alfred Marshall’s grave; my colleague, Simon Frost, informed me that this had already been a tradition: the Marshall Library staff going once a year to pay homage to the very gentleman without whom the library would not be what it is today. A minor detail was that the tradition had lapsed for about 21 (or more) years prior to the summer of 2014, but for Cambridge that’s a minor hiccup in a tradition usually measured in centuries. I have to admit though that a) it helps if you are a keen gardener, or b) like to have an outdoor picnic (which happens afterwards). This year’s event was made all the more memorable by being thoroughly drenched on the way back to the office/work, and that I will never forget this thought-provoking shower!

Page of Sponsorship Document
Another activity I had never done before but which turned out to be fun, was to develop – with strong input from Simon and the team – a document of sponsorship opportunities at the Marshall Library (our approach and final version also benefited hugely from the input of Laura Greenfield, a colleague at the UL). Even though none of the potential sponsors we approached at the annual Economics Careers Fair [link only works with a Raven user name and password, i.e. for current members of the University] were that keen, and none ended in sponsorship, it was useful to think of potential ideas for improving our provisions and services, if only we had external funding. It was fun to consider what potential partnerships the Library could engage with, with organisations and companies.

Finally, my initial idea of some guerrilla marketing, to create a stronger awareness amongst students and lecturers that the Marshall Library is very happy to receive recommendations for new books, or more copies of textbooks, resulted in Simon’s suggestion to approach lecturers with the idea of including our PR slide and flyers in their lectures. Again, our colleague Lisa provided the memorable visualisation here of our “cry for ‘HELP!’”.
There are a couple more things I could bore you with, such as the Focus Group we convened, and that thanks to this group of students our Social area now has breakfast bar-type tables and chairs (which are very popular in term time); but in the end, I promised myself to keep this short.
If you are interested in following up on the Sound of Music reference after all, here is a link to the video

(Marshall Librarian 2 December 2013 to 30 September 2015)