Summer time means the opportunity for a wealth of library visits, and we’ve been to both Anglia Ruskin University (Chelmsford branch) and Colchester Sixth Form College to see their libraries in the last week.
Anglia Ruskin University Library, Chelmsford seems rather modern in comparison to the more traditional university library where I do my graduate traineeship. One of the major takeaway points of the visit was how the differences between the two libraries reflect the differences in our studentship. For example, Anglia Ruskin has a lot of distance learners, in comparison to the large number of international students we actually have living on campus here, and our large number of postgraduate students mean that we need a much larger legacy collection than them, which even affects the cataloguing – they get in books already classified, whereas ours have to be altered to fit a legacy system. Anglia Ruskin are a lot larger in terms of the number of students, and this means they also have a much larger number of staff, with faculty and subject librarians across the two campuses. Overall, their set up made them feel more vibrant and efficient, but our library feels more learned and home-y. Each has its place, I guess. Interestingly, they used many of the same technology providers as we used when I was at Nottingham University Libraries – such as LMS, digital library, RFID scanners – I wonder if there’s any connection there.
Colchester Sixth Form Library was also very interesting. I’ll admit that I hadn’t really considered working in what I’d deemed to be ‘school libraries’. However, the sixth form college seemed far from school life, and while the library was small, it had a really nice atmosphere. Because of the small librarian staff I felt quite envious of the range of tasks that were involved in work there. The College Librarian had a fantastic job involving everything from cataloguing and classification, to information literacy training, to maintenance of the Virtual Learning Environment. The small team seemed to mean much more variety, and she was able to use a wide range of internet services to present and provide information to students. I guess without the corporate image of a University to support, it’s a lot easier to mix and match and be a bit more 2.0! Universities are still where my heart lies, but I’ve got to say I’m tempted!
Apologies for the lack of photographs – rain and a lack of good vistas prevented it. A hectic time and reduced internet access (house moves etc.) mean that this blog hasn’t been updated to my usual targets, but hopefully I’m back on the wagon now!