Photo of Katie Fraser

Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.

Interlibrary loans start up

January 15th, 2008

Well, I’m in my first week at interlibrary loans. I moved down on Thursday, so I’ve only had 3 days as an official member of the department, but I’m beginning to learn the pieces of the puzzle. At a contrast to cataloguing, where there’s one big process you have to slowly learn, interlibrary loans consists of lots of little bits and pieces that are relatively easy to pick up, but which are harder to reconcile. I’ve separately learnt how to order books from the British Library, how to return books to the British Library, and how to process incoming books from the British Library, and it’s only when I have a few seconds to take a step back and think (as I’m doing right now) that I’ve realised that’s actually the whole lifecycle of the book. At least, the whole lifecycle minus the bit where the student / staff member actually uses it! There’s a slightly shorter process for journal articles, as these tend to arrive electronically, but I haven’t followed through the whole thing yet!

There’s quite a big contrast between downstairs and upstairs so far. As ILL is near the circulation desk it’s far more caught up in the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the library, and I find I’m moving around a lot more, and trying to multi-task a lot of the time. This is quite rewarding as I feel more involved in the day-to-day life of the library, but it can be a problem when trying to pick up new tasks! Luckily my previous experience manning the counter on my own at Nottingham forced me to develop super duper prioritisation skills.

In terms of getting settled into a routine, this week’s a bit of a challenge. Mondays (yesterday) I work a late night during termtime, which means I’m on the counter 5 to 10pm, and only arrive in the library at 3. Tuesday (today) I’m at the enquiry desk from 1 to 5pm. Wednesday (tomorrow) I have my interview at Sheffield – more about this will follow, doubtless. Thursday I’m giving a library tour in the morning, and have one of our series of trainee talks in the afternoon. Finally, Friday I’m back down in ILL for a whole day, but the two other members of the ILL team are working late nights, so I’m on my own until 3pm! There’s plenty of support around for me, but I’ll be the only member of staff officially assigned to ILL, so the idea is for me to be able to do all the basics by then to keep the place running. We’ll see how the multi-tasking goes then!

Leave a Reply