Hi, my name is Jo and I'm a newly qualified librarian working in several academic libraries in Cambridge.

I originally created this blog as an electronic learning journal whilst participating in an extended shadowing programme prior to starting the MA in Information Services Management at London Metropolitan University.

The views expressed here are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Extended Shadowing Programme: Session Nine - Observing the Enquiry Desk

As mentioned in an earlier post, today I was originally due to attend the cross-site Staff Learning and Development Group (SL&DG) meeting at our other main site. However, due to the recent staffing restructure, the meeting was cancelled to allow those affected time to settle into their new roles. Instead, I spent two hours observing the Assistant Customer Services Librarian (formerly Assistant Reader Services Librarian under the old structure) at the Enquiry Desk. The remainder of the time I was due to be at the SL&DG meeting will be spent observing a one-to-one appointment between a student and the Subject Librarian (A&L) on 15 April (see the amended Shadowing Programme Calendar under the Learning and Development section of this blog).

The first part of the session was spent going through the online enquiries which are detailed in the updated Shadowing Programme Enquiry Log (see the Learning and Development section of this blog). The Assistant Customer Services Librarian also showed me how to process an application from one of our students to use other academic libraries under the Sconul Access scheme. Although I have dealt with applications from students from other institutions wanting to use our library under the scheme, I had not previously been involved in the process from the perspective of one of own students.

Firstly, the librarian looked at the student's library account to check that they are in good standing with us, i.e. they do not have a history of losing items or unpaid fines. The band which applied to the student was then determined: Band A - staff and research students, Band B - part time, distance learning and placement students or Band C full-time taught postgraduates. Our official stamp was applied to the back of a Sconul Access card to verify that the student belongs to our university. The front of the card was completed with the expiary date of the student's registration and the appropriate band. It was then authorised with the librarian's signature and the application form was filed away. After the session the card will be sent to the student who can use it, in conjunction with their student card, to apply to use the library of any UK HE institution participating in the Sconul Access scheme. The student will also be reminded to check the list of participating libraries on the website and to make contact in advance of their visit to check opening times and conditions of use.

The remainder of the session was spent discussing the Assitant Customer Services Librarian's application for Fellowship, the highest level of professional qualification awarded by CILIP. Chartered members of CILIP who have successfully completed two cycles of revalidation are eligible to apply. The application consists of a personal statement, a current CV, a portfolio of evidence and two written statements of support. The librarian showed me the work he had done on his portfolio to date which included details of his particular contribution to local history and local studies in previous professional roles and in his own time. He also showed me the wikki he has developed on the local history of his home town in Scotland.

This discussion reinforced my belief that, even though I am at the very beginning of my library career, it is never too early to start thinking about Chartership and gathering evidence for a portfolio. Talking to each of the librarians I have shadowed about their previous careers and professional interests has also given me a valuable insight into some of the various opportunities that librarianship can offer and has prompted me to consider more seriously which sector of the profession I would like to enter and what shape I would like my career to take.

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