Hi, here is the fourth of the National Libraries Week posts. I’m Letty and I’m the part-time library assistant. I just graduated this summer so this is my first proper job and it’s great! Because of the relatively small size of the team I get to do all sorts of different things in different parts of the library, rather than being specifically focussed in one area, so I’m learning lots fast.
I suppose you could summarise the main elements of my job as facilitating your use of the books. I answer a lot of your email enquiries and I really enjoy helping you out – please feel free to email about anything, even if it seems silly! And to come up and ask at the desk too! I collect all the books from the drop boxes each morning, take them off your accounts and prepare them for the shelvers. I am the one who predominantly sorts out your reservations and makes them available for you. I am also the one who emails you about overdues and fines – sorry!
Because I was a student at Cambridge myself I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the dynamic between a student and a college library, and college librarians. This really helps in how I talk with you about using the library, particularly in the slightly more ‘disciplinary’ side of my job! I completely understand that sometimes if you’re very stressed and distracted, overdue books can start building up and making you act like an ostrich – please just send me an email if you’re having problems and we can always try to sort something out :)
I also work on a variety of longer projects. For example, I have just finished collating all the careers and study skills advice books and pamphlets and will be publicising all this soon. I am now assessing a couple of sections of the library to see which of the books are not being used or are no longer relevant for the current tripos syllabuses. This is great as it means I get a good overview of all sorts of subjects.
I work very closely with the books themselves. This is really enjoyable because it means that if one catches my eye I can always read its blurb and add it to my (huge, and since working here vastly increasing) list of future things to read. I feel very lucky to have access to this library as a reader as well, not just a staff member.
Favourite book: Brokeback Mountain by E. Annie Proulx
Currently reading: Stardust by Neil Gaiman (who is coming to Cambridge as part of the Watersprite film festival – exciting!)
Favourite Dewey Decimal Number: 305 – social groups
What I do in my spare time: Taking photographs and painting lots of very small paintings. Sometimes I volunteer for things like the Folk Museum and the various festivals that the university puts on. I am currently failing to learn how to play the ukulele.