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Posts Tagged ‘wednesdays’

On July 11th, the graduate trainees visited some of the interesting and eclectic libraries in London. We each attended a tour and talk at two of the following: the London Library, the Guardian Newspaper Library, the British Library and the Natural History Museum Library and Archives. I am pleased to report that everyone enjoyed the visits, none of us got lost, and no one embarrassed Oxford too much…

TheThe entrance to the London Library - 14 St James's Square London Library is a members-only lending library, founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle. Membership is open to anyone (£445 per year), and the library is funded almost entirely by these fees. As books are never withdrawn, the constant battle for space is more acute than at most libraries. As you wander around, lost or otherwise, you notice that each extension has a distinct style, ranging from utilitarian steel shelves to wood paneling, indicative of the era it was built in. The unique classification system groups books alphabetically by subject, including, under ‘Science & Miscellany’, topics such as Love, Genius and Duelling.

The Guardian Library serves the research and fact-checking needs of the newspaper’s journalists, compiling timelines, background information and previous press coverage to support big stories. The library staff also maintains a section of the Guardian website, showcasing articles froInside the Guardian newspaper officesm this day in past years, and putting up interesting features, such as a timeline of Guardian articles about Harry Potter to celebrate the books’ 15th anniversary. The library’s physical collection amounts to one wall in the archive office, and consists mainly of dictionaries and reference works such as Who’s Who. However, the library also provides and promotes many online reference tools for reporters.

The British Library is impressively large with over 150 million items, on-site space for 1200 readers and a glass tower containing the library of King George III in the centre of the building.  The talk at the British Library was about their Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Project – its highlights, challenges and workflows.  Both the tour and the talk highlighted the collaborative, outreach and digitisation work of the library. We concluded our day with a visit to the highly recommended Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands exhibition.

Inside the Natural History Museum Library

From left to right: Rebecca (futureArch), Vicky (All Souls), Jayne (MLFL), Charlotte (Nuffield), Janine (SSL), Lizzie (RSl), Matt (Bodleian), Michelle (University Archives), Rebecca (EFL).

The Natural History Museum Library is open to the public as a reference library, but is primarily a lending library for scientists working at the NHM, who can borrow an unlimited number of books. Loans are still recorded on paper, which means the library is closed for two weeks each year while the borrowing slips are checked against the sometimes hundreds of books in scientists’ offices… The archive holds records relating to all activities of the museum, from the late 18th century to the present day, and includes such documents as accession registers of specimens received by the museum, and letters from a collector about having his arm bitten off by a cheetah.

London Library and Guardian Newspaper Library by Evelyn (Union), British Library and Natural History Museum Library by Lizzie (RSL).

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This week in our trainee session we were investigating the use of Information Literacy and Web 2.0 (social media).  Web 2.0 signifies the change in which the web is no longer just about providing information but linking people together, sharing and discussing information.

We watched an interesting (and very creative!)  video which explains the shift:  The Machine is Us/ing us

As part of the session we had been split into groups to research and present a particular aspect of social media including; blogs, social networking sites (Facebook), twitter, social book marking sites (Delicious), podcasting, Wikis and LibraryThing.

The presentations were really interesting (especially as I knew very little about Delicious, Wikis and LibraryThing beforehand!) and the source of much discussion! Some of the key points that I took from the session include:

  • It’s important for libraries to have an online presence that is linked into many aspects of social media and that continues to evolve with the constant changes and updates
  • Many of the social media based services are free and simple to use and often provide a library presence in a media with which readers are already engaging.
  • Although setting up and maintaining media such as blogs, twitter or Facebook may seem time consuming, they can save time in the long term, especially as information can be shared quickly and efficiently across platforms and may replace or reduce time spent on other task such as bulk e-mailing, writing newsletters or answering enquiries via e-mail.
  • Social media is a great tool for advertising and marketing of library services, it provides more ways for readers to find, contact and learn about the library.
  • It’s not all about stats!  It’s about getting the information out there and helping readers to access and use it quickly and effectively.

Jayne and I worked on a presentation looking at the use of Blogs in Libraries.  To really show off what a blog can do we decided to present our information in blog form.  So if you’d like to learn more about the purpose, features and uses of blogs in libraries here is a link to our blog:

Lib-Blogology

It’d be great to hear other views on library blogging so feel free to comment, ask questions or share good practice by suggesting library blogs you’ve found interesting or helpful!

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Hello, I’m Louise – the new Graduate Library Trainee at St Hugh’s College.

I graduated from Newcastle University in 2006 with a degree in Classical Studies and went on to do a PGCE in Primary Education and a MA in Children’s Literature at the University of Sunderland.

After four years as a primary school teacher  I decided the teaching profession wasn’t right for me and began thinking about diversifying into another area.  Librarianship appealed as a match to my interests and skills so  I volunteered at the University of Sunderland library for four months to gain some experience and learn more about the profession.  I really enjoyed my time there and luckily had the opportunity to apply for the traineeship at St Hugh’s College in December!

Although I began my traineeship a little later than everyone else (in January 2012) I’ve already learned a lot and am thoroughly enjoying my time at St Hugh’s.  Everyone is very friendly and welcoming and Oxford is a beautiful city to live in!

If you’d like an insight into what I’ve been up to in my first month as a trainee, I recently took part in round 8 of Library Day in the Life Project and have blogged about my daily jobs and a  graduate trainee session on special collections here:  Daily Jobs  and  Graduate Trainee Session.

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