This week we hear from Gemma, senior library and IT assistant at Cardiff University.
I started my career in the library and information sector five years ago. I worked as a supply library assistant for Caerphilly County Borough Council, filling in for staff sickness, training and holidays on a part time basis for over two years. I loved working in all 19 branch libraries across the county, working with a different team and in a different community each day. I did a two week work placement at the Nursing and Healthcare Studies library at Cardiff University in 2010 which helped me get a permanent position as a library assistant at the University. I worked a variety of shift patterns including an evening and weekend library supervisor post before settling into my current full time role.
My current role as a senior library assistant and IT support assistant is pretty varied. My typical day is as follows:
10am-1pm - Provide IT support in the morning, help people access the Wi-Fi, scan documents, change passwords and anything else that comes up. Tweet from our library account and reply to any questions on there and answer queries on our virtual librarian chat service. Work on any marketing campaign we might have or create displays to promote our stock and services.
2pm-6pm - Work on the issue counter, returning and issuing books and dealing with queries. Send books to other libraries as part of the inter library loans service. Attend meetings of the working groups I'm part of such as the Marketing Group and Staff Development and Engagement group. Handover to evening staff at 5pm, filling them in on what needs to be done and any information that is important.
I particularly enjoy the marketing aspects of my job especially connecting with our users on Twitter, helping to organise events such as our upcoming ‘Shakespeare @ 450’ week with a full programme of events and displays across campus. I’m also a part-time blogger and like to use skills I’ve picked up through this in my day job, I have presented at CLIC events and internally about how to use blogging to promote your library service. I am going to be holding a workshop at the University of South Wales to help English students explore the idea of digital literacy and show them how they can use blogging as part of their creative writing module. I was also part of the organising team for the first Library Camp Wales (we had such a lively and varied day) and spoke about this event and how to plan an ‘un-conference’ with the other organisers at the CILIP Cymru Wales conference this year.
I’m currently in the process of finding a Chartership mentor and considering a postgraduate distance learning course like the Diploma in Information and Library Studies. I hope that my future lies in library management rather than professional librarianship because I enjoy training new staff and helping to resolve problems as a frontline member of library staff.