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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.

First few weeks as Assistant Librarian at DMU

September 27th, 2009

So, I’ve been at De Montfort for three weeks now. That means i) I’m getting a better idea of the scope and main tasks of my job and ii) I’m actually having to start doing them. No more sitting around watching Health and Safety videos for me: or at least, not until I do the formal corporate induction in November.

My impression of the job so far is positive. My colleagues have all been friendly and helpful in getting me settled in, and the training programme has mostly consisted of shadowing other people in tasks and being walked through procedures, which suits me quite well. I tend to pick up things quite quickly but also generate and need to ask lots of questions, so prefer this approach to receiving teaching materials without much context.

I’m enjoying making decisions for myself, as well. This week a lecturer emailed me to ask for extra copies of two textbooks. One we already had 14 copies, the other we only had 4. Previous usage stats suggested that 14 copies was sufficient and this was about right for the course size so I decided to email the lecturer back and say I coudn’t really justify many more copies of the 14 copy text, but if the 4 copy text was a core text could happily get some more of this. The lecturer emailed back to say this was a good point, and that, as the 4 copy text was a lot more up-to-date, made sense to just increase stock of this one. It wasn’t much, but I was pleased that it was the first piece of liaison I’d done where I’d not just said ‘okay’ and done something, but looked into something and found a better course of action. Liaison success!

Next week all the students start to come back. I’m looking forward to not being the person who knows the least on campus, and have learnt the location of all the library toilets: plus which ones have Dyson Airblade handdryers! That’s all I’ll get asked for the first week, right?

Note: The photo pictures the still-in-progress new Business and Law Building, where the staff who I support will eventually all be based. I love that the finish is the same as the Information Commons at Sheffield: architectural continuity!

3 Responses to “First few weeks as Assistant Librarian at DMU”

  1. Simon XIX says:

    Those Dyson Airblade dryers are awesome. Once the students know about them, they won't want to go to any other toilets on campus!
    Good luck!

  2. Helen Curtis says:

    Glad that you are enjoying the job Katie. I'm a few years into the liaison game and there's always things to learn, and new ways to approach challenges. I have watched some of my colleagues and how they work with some of the academic staff that they support and learnt lots that way. I have learnt for example, how to do a few favours for a member of staff, and find yourself with an important ally at academic meetings when you need support for an infolit agenda.

    At first there is a desire to please and just say "yes", but particularly when balancing a budget is involved, you need to be able to say "no" but have the all the alternative courses of actions at hand. It's often about trying to make sure that the service remains viewed in a positive light, and that you and your library are offering ideas and solutions, and not adding to problems. Your email exchange with the lecture may not seem like much but you're right, it's a start along the road to developing good working relationships.

  3. Joel says:

    Glad to hear you're settling in well.
    Us here on Y&H CDG Committee are missing you!
    I'm visiting De Montfort on Monday 30th Nov for a CILIP Mentoring Training Course, so I'll keep my eye out for you!
    Best Wishes!

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