National Libraries Week: Liz

As this week is National Libraries Week, the library staff will all be posting a bit about themselves and what they do in the Library. To start the week it’s my turn…Liz Osman

I’m Liz and I am the College Librarian. I’ve been at Homerton a little over two years and a main focus for much of that time has been on the Library refurbishment. Now that has been completed I’ve got the opportunity to focus more on the Library’s service provision, whether that’s the books we have, or the information we give out.

In order to do that I sent out a survey a few weeks ago that should give me more information on how the Library is being used, what is popular, and where there might be room for improvement. Using this data I can then set priorities in terms of book purchasing, service provision etc. I have no illusions that we won’t be able to sort everything out, but I hope to be able to make positive improvements, some of them quite quickly. Once I’ve had chance to analyse the survey results I will blog again to show you some of the results, and respond to some of the comments received.

I studied at Oxford (sorry) and went into libraries straight after University, partly because of the fantastic College Librarian I had whilst I was there. It’s not a career for everyone, but is really rewarding, and there’s much more to it than stamping books (which we don’t do here anyway!). I’m sure my colleagues will fill you in on what they do over this week, so let me just tell you a bit about why I enjoy my job.

1)      The students. Students are the reason the library exists, and everything we do should be working towards enabling you to succeed.* I love talking to students, whether it’s helping with an electronic resource or just refilling the printer. There is huge satisfaction in being able to help. It’s also so enjoyable to watch you progress through you time at Homerton, from hungover freshers at induction, to confident and successful graduates with great lives ahead.
*Recent research has shown a statistically significant relationship between library resource use and final University grade, across a sample group of eight Universities –

2)      The variety. No two days are the same. I might be liaising with the Tutorial Office, cataloguing and classifying books, working on a rare books display, analysing survey results or statistics from our library management system, chasing up students who have set off the alarm, attending or giving talks or training alongside other librarians from the University, selecting books to buy (or indeed to remove from the shelves) inducting new students or visiting scholars, getting book recommendations from Fellows or thirty other things.

3)      My colleagues. The people you work with are so important, and the library staff at Homerton are great, both at their jobs and as people. But the wider College is equally a pleasure, from Buttery staff to the Finance Office, the Porters to the Principal.

4)      Moving forward. Library work never stagnates; there are always new innovations. That might be in specific technologies like self-issue systems and eresources, or things like Twitter. It also applies to new working practices and approaches to service delivery. It’s important that new innovations are right for a library, not just done because they are shiny and new, but they can make a real impact.

Librarian stats

Favourite book: Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Currently reading: The Midnight Folk by John Masefield

Favourite Dewey Decimal Number: 398 – Folklore

What I do in my spare time: Target shooting, music reviews, traditional dance


About homlib

The Library of Homerton College, University of Cambridge.
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3 Responses to National Libraries Week: Liz

  1. Richard Hawkins says:

    Great post, but I’m curious to find out who the Buttery staff are. Can you explain? What do they do etc? And why are they called the Buttery staff?

  2. homlib says:

    Buttery is Cambridge-speak for our College canteen, unfortunately that doesn’t mean that the staff are made of Country Life :)

  3. Pingback: National Libraries Week: Yiting, Karen and Alys | Homerton College Library weblog

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