So, it’s been a week or so since said anything and I’m trying to think back to the things I’ve done to see if there’s anything interesting to report. Term continues and we’re still as busy as ever. There are several things I want to mention today; roaming helping, drop in sessions and user education. I’m sure I’ll think of other things as I go, so apologies now if I go off on one for a bit!
We finished roaming helping last Friday. On the whole I think this was a really useful way to get to know our users and make ourselves visible across the library. I really enjoyed my roaming helping sessions. I liked the opportunities for interaction with users, without the enquiry desk between us, it was more informal and practical as I was there with them when they were looking for books, searching the catalogue etc. I had no problem in approaching people to see if they needed any help and for the most part they did want to ask something, those that didn’t simply said ‘no thank you’ and off I went to the next person. Another thing that I noticed, which seems obvious really, but when others saw somebody else asking about something then they approached me too.
The type of enquiries varied from can you help me find this book to how much stuff can I borrow. I enjoyed working with users to help get them familiar with the layout of the library, how to search the catalogue and find books etc. These interactions also gave me the opportunity to tell users about other services as well as reminding them about other administrative things they had to do. It was, of course, really satisfying for me as so many of our users were really grateful for my help.
Out roaming helping slots were for an hour at a time, between 11 and 4. There were some times that were busier than others, and I spent some of my time shelf tidying to fill the time! Maybe half hour sessions would be better next time. I think we should definitely do it again though.
Drop in sessions
This week saw the start of out drop in sessions. These are going to run twice a week over lunch times on Mondays and Thursdays, topics covered include Using the library catalogue, an introduction to the Online Library, Using the information services website, how to find journal articles and using endnote web. So, these are a follow on from the roaming helping. Unfortunately, the timetable and publicity for the sessions were not complete and out there until the Friday before they were due to start. As a result of this noone turned up for the Monday and Thursday sessions this week. I find that really disappointing and have been having a think about why this happened. We’re advertising them in the library, through our schools, on Studentcentral; all the usual places, but still no takers. So, I guess we’ll see what happens next week.
User education session
I’ve been doing library inductions for first years, postgraduates, partner college students and sessions about literature searching for final years. I really enjoy doing these, but as you would expect I always think I can do better. I’ve had a couple of tough crowds, one walk out and one wolf whistle! I’m trying not to be too hard on myself as this is my first start of the year experience in this job, but at the same time I do feel like I could have been better prepared for some sessions and if I’d have gone and looked at some of the rooms I was in, that would have helped shape some of my sessions. I think my main concern is getting the students to understand why literature searching and all that goes with it is relevant and useful to them. With the first years I just want them to understand what they can access and use through the library and where to go for help. That’s the challenge and then also seeing if that has happened. I do need to get some feedback about my sessions. At the end I do ask them what they think of the session, but this is an informal exchange rather than a form or something.
Anyway, as an aside from that, I bumped into an academic in the corridor yesterday and we had a brief chat about a session I’m doing for his second years next week about using online resources. I mentioned a new function we have on the Online Library; CrossSearch, which allows them to search multiple databases. He hadn’t had a go of it properly and I said I’d be happy to go through it with him, he suggested I offer that to all staff over a lunch time or something. Brilliant, I thought. That would be a great way for me to get to know more of my academic staff and make myself more useful and prominent in the deparment. So, we’ll see about that.
Another thing about user education came about with an impromptu conversation in another corridor! The general jist of the conversation is that there is a real lack of consistency in what’s delivered to our students. So, for me; I look after the School of Environment and Technology, specifically built environment and civil engineering and geology and geography courses. This year, so far, I have seen the first year built environment students, first year civil engineering students, final year civil engineering students, various postgraduate students in the built environment and various first years on courses at one of our partner colleges. Next week I’m seeing second year geography students too. Now, I don’t know why I see these groups and not others, so it’s something I’d like to investigate a bit more. It doesn’t seem fair that some groups are getting library support and some are not. So, I’ll see why things are as they are and report back with some possible ideas about how to improve things.
Ok, so other stuff is still ticking along. I’m down for the 10 cpd25 workshops which should help me with my chartership activities, manifesto meeting in a couple of weeks and we should be seeing a first draft anytime soon! Exciting stuff! I’m going to the next Career Development Group (CDG) meeting to see how I can be involved in that, so it’s all go. I like it.
Right, those are my main observations for the last couple of weeks. Other stuff that’s happened includes going to see Simon Amstell with support from Arnab Chanda as part of the comedy festival, going to see Mr B the gentleman rhymer at the Komedia, which meant I missed Question Time (which I am going to watch now), renewing my passport, which took 3 attempts at filling in the form and 2 attempts and £8 spent on shonkers bloody photos! I look bloody awful! We’re also getting our act together for running, as we’re doing the first Brighton Marathon next year. Eeek! Mini meltdown o clock, but mostly ok
Until another day then.