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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.

Staff circulation

January 10th, 2008

I’m over a third of the way through my graduate trainee placement, since the start of this month, and this not only means I’m through a significant portion of my pre-library school training (one step closer to a job as a real librarian!) but also that I’ve reached the first departmental switch of my post. In the graduate trainee posts at Essex (which, for some reason, are known locally as student assistant posts) three staff are usually recruited, and they rotate around the different departments of the library, spending two thirds of the year in the Cataloguing department, and one third of the year in the Interlibrary loan department.

I’ve been up in Cataloguing until now, but I’m moving down to Interlibrary loans today – meaning I’ve got the ‘sandwich’ year, which I’m pretty happy with. This is not only a change in terms of my duties, but a change in location. Cataloguers are based ‘upstairs’ in the staff-only office, on the first floor. Interlibrary loaners (Loners? Surely that can’t be right?!) are based on the ground floor, in a little office hidden in the short loan section, behind the main circulation desk.

The teams on the first and ground floors overlap in duties to some extent, but often operate independently. All the subject librarians are upstairs in Cataloguing, along with the accessions and labelling departments, and the deputy and head librarians. The team downstairs centres on the desk, and includes user services librarians and a large team of library assistants, some of whom are term-time only. The upshot of all this is that I’ll be in a completely different section of the library from last term. I still keep all my shelving, enquiry desk and late night duties, but I’ll be more likely to be asked to work on the desk if it’s busy.

I’m definitely looking forward to doing Interlibrary loans. It’s a service I used a huge amount during my PhD – and, as I do my corrections, I may need to use again. This means I know a lot about it from the point of view of the user, but very little of how it works in the library, with the exception of issuing procedure. We’ve already had our library talk from the head of Interlibrary loans, so I’ve got more of an idea of how things work, but it’s a new section of the system to learn, and new procedures to follow. Another good way of deciding exactly what I’d like to do in my future career!

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