Continuing our series of posts for National Libraries Week, it is my turn to tell you a little about myself and my job. I’m Annie, the Senior Library Assistant. My desk is the first one you come to as you enter the library, so I have probably spoken to most of you at some point during the last term!
While I was at school and university I considered several different careers (vet, music therapist, teacher, academic…okay, a lot of different careers) before I took a job in the music library at Nottingham University while I was studying there. At that point it suddenly became obvious that this was my perfect job. I love chatting to students as they come in and helping them find what they are looking for. I’m also somewhat of a geek and love organising things, and really, I just like the atmosphere of a library! So after leaving university I worked at Newnham College Library for a couple of years before coming here to Homerton in October.
Part of the reason we are writing these blog posts for National Libraries Week is that a lot of the work library staff do to keep the library running smoothly is ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. Working at the Enquiry Desk I’m physically one of the most visible members of staff in the library, but even so a lot of my job is less visible to students.
I don’t really have a ‘typical day’ but here are some highlights from what I was working on yesterday:
- Hunting for missing books – early morning is usually a good time to do this before the library fills up with people working. This morning’s search turned up two books which had been reported as missing, hooray! We always hope that missing books will turn up, because if they don’t we need to buy replacement copies, which means we can buy fewer new books.
- Working my way through lists of award winners – I am responsible for the Children’s Literature Collection so I have been checking lists of the Carnegie, Kate Greenaway, Newbery, and Caldecott medals, the Guardian’s Children’s Fiction Prize and the Red House Children’s Book Award . As I go through the lists I’ve been adding these prizes to the catalogue records of books we own, so that you can search Heritage and find everything we have that has won a Carnegie medal for example. I’ve also been adding to my ever-increasing list of books that would be good additions to the collection.
- Going through the awards lists is the kind of job which leads to several more – as I’m trawling our catalogue I’ve spotted occasional mistakes which I’ve been fixing as I go along. The other week I came across a set of books by Ezra Jack Keats which look to be first UK editions, so I’ve been in touch with one of the Children’s Literature professors to ask her opinion as to whether they should be kept in the Rare Books Collection rather than on the open shelf. We’ve decided to buy new paperback copies, and move the original hardbacks to the Rare Books Collection when the new ones arrive.
- Helping students and staff at the Enquiry Desk, through email, over the phone and even on Twitter. We get asked such a variety of questions that this is always interesting. I may be helping someone find resources for their research, and then the next minute helping another person to remember what that book they used to love as a child was (something about a grumpy elephant, with a blue cover?)
Favourite book: The Stand by Stephen King
Currently reading: I’ve just finished Life! Death! Prizes! by Stephen May (very good)
Favourite Dewey Decimal Number: 641 – food and drink
What I do in my spare time: playing the piano, baking (librarians love cake you know), and watching cheesy musicals