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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Thank you

We came to the end of the 23 Llyfrgellydd posts a few weeks ago, and now seems like a good time to reflect on all the wonderful contributions from everyone involved.


I just want to express my gratitude to all those who wrote entries, it’s made for fascinating reading and I’ve so enjoyed getting the opportunity to share your stories with the rest of the library community. And I’d also like to thank all those who supported the blog, particularly all of you who were reading it each week. I know that many more people wanted to be involved, but for various reasons were then unable, however everyone has been so overwhelmingly encouraging in their support.

Although the project is now closed, the blog will remain available so all the stories will still be there for you to re-read at your leisure. Both the 23 Librarians Northern Ireland and the 23 Librarians England blogs are still active and will continue to post entries. Also the original 23 Librarians Scotland blog will continue to post occasional entries when available.

And, perhaps we will get to run ours for a second time in the future, but for now a massive diolch yn fawr to you all.

Friday, 27 March 2015

23b - Shân Jones, National Library of Wales

This post is in Welsh, please scroll down for the English version.



Pam dewis llyfrgellyddiaeth?
Doedd gen i ddim syniad pa beth oeddwn am wneud ar ol gorffen f’addysg. Roedd fy mrawd a chwaer â’i bryd ar ffermio gyda’m rhieni, ond nid oedd hynny’n apelio ataf. Trwy hap a damwain cefais wahoddiad i ddiwrnod agored yng Ngholeg Llyfrgellwyr Cymru (CLW) tra’n Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth – a darganfod maes oedd yn apelio. Wedi graddio mewn Cymraeg ac Astudiaethau Crefyddol, dyma ddilyn cwrs Diploma i Raddedigion mewn Llyfrgellyddiaeth trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg yn CLW.

Beth ddysgais ar y daith?
Paid a bod ofn, gwirfoddola, a chymryd rhan. Annogwyd fi gan fy rheolwr cyntaf i ymuno â phwyllgor un o grwpiau arbennig CI LIP - felly ymunais â 2 ohonynt, WYLG ac AAL Gogledd Cymru (sy’ bellach yn CDG Cymru). Roeddwn yn llyfrgellydd ysgol yn Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi ar y pryd. Dysgais lawer drwy f’ymwneud â’r grwpiau hyn - sut i drefnu hyfforddiant, cymryd cofnodion cryno, cadeirio cyfarfodydd, rhyngweithio proffesiynol - a gwnes lu o ffrindiau a chael cyfleodd i ymweld â llyfrgelloedd eraill. Bûm yn cynrychioli’r WYLG ar bwyllgor gwaith WLA, (Cymdeithas Llyfrgelloedd Cymru sy’n CILIP Cymru nawr) a thrwy hynny, cael cyfle i ryngweithio â llyfrgellwyr o wahanol sectorau ynghyd â dysgu am faterion oedd yn ymwneud â llyfrgellyddiaeth.


Achub ar gyfleoedd. Roedd CILIP yn cynnig grantiau i aelodau nad oedd erioed wedi bod i gynhadledd IFLA o’r blaen, felly rhois gais amdani ynghyd â’m gŵr oedd yn gweithio mewn awdurdod arall. Roedd Cynhadledd IFLA 2002 yn Glasgow, a bu’r ddau ohonom yn ddigon lwcus i fod yn llwyddiannus yn ein ceisiadau. Cwta tri mis cyn y gynhadledd, mi wnaethom newid ein swyddi a symud tŷ! Gadawsom lyfrgelloedd cyhoeddus Gogledd Cymru a mynd i weithio i Lyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru. Er hynny fe aethom i IFLA yn Glasgow gan gynrychioli LlGC yno. Dyna beth oedd profiad - cynhadledd enfawr, cwrdd â llyfrgellwyr o draws y byd, clywed am y sialensiau sy’n eu hwynebu a rhannu profiadau.

‘Da chi byth yn rhy hen i ddysgu! Daliwch ati i ddysgu a datblygu eich sgiliau - gan ddysgu o’ch camgymeriadau wrth gwrs! Wedi i mi gynhwyso’n Siartredig (MClip bellach) bûm yn fentor i ddysgwyr gydol oes gyda Gwasanaeth Llyfrgell Gwynedd tra’n Llyfrgellydd Bro’n Blaenau Ffestiniog. Nes mlaen dilynais gwrs ECDL gyda Phrifysgol Bangor i wella fy sgiliau TG. Mi gymhwysais fel Asesydd NVQ tra’n LlGC drwy gwrs dysgu o hirbell gyda Choleg Llandrillo. Yn fwy diweddar, rwyf wedi cwblhau cwrs ILM (Institute Leadership Management). Mae’r cyrsiau hyn wedi fy ngalluogi i ddatblygu fy ngyrfa yn ogystal â chynorthwyo eraill, boed yn ddefnyddwyr llyfrgell neu gyd-weithwyr, ple bynnag y bûm yn gweithio.


Cydweithio. Gweithiwch gydag eraill, gan fod yn barod i rannu a thrafod syniadau, gwrando a chyfrannu! Pan oeddwn yn Llyfrgellydd Bro’m Mangor bûm yn un o’r rhai wnaeth sefydlu Gŵyl Gwlt Bangor mewn cydweithrediad â Phrifysgol Bangor, Swyddog Hybu Llenyddiaeth Gwynedd a Theatr Gwynedd. Roeddwn hefyd un un o’r rhai wnaeth greu ‘Linc y Gogledd’, cynllun benthyca  rhwng llyfrgelloedd cyhoeddus, addysg uwch ac addysg bellach yng Ngogledd Cymru.

Byddwch yn hyblyg ac yn barod i fentro! Roedd hi’n naid go fawr i adael llyfrgelloedd llywodraeth leol (llyfrgelloedd ysgol a chyhoeddus) am swydd tymor byr yn LlGC, ond roeddwn yn barod am sialens newydd ac antur! Catalogio casgliad aml-gyfrwng oedd fy swydd gyntaf yno, lle dysgais am ‘rinweddau’ MARC21 ac AACR2. Bûm wedyn yn swyddog prosiect LlGC ar strategaeth CyMAL ‘@ eich llyfrgell chi’. Rwyf bellach yn Bennaeth Uned Adnau Cyfreithiol Di-Gymraeg, ac yn gyfrifol am arwain tîm gweithgar sy’n prosesu’r adnoddau adnau cyfreithiol sy’n cyrraedd y Llyfrgell yn wythnosol (77,000 o fonograffau a 57,000 o gyfnodolion llynedd). Mae bywyd fel un o chwe llyfrgell adnau statudol Prydain ac Iwerddon yn ein cadw’n brysur dros ben!


Yn olaf…
‘Da chi’n cwrdd â bob math o bobl mewn llyfrgelloedd… dyna le gwrddais â’m gwr!



How did I get to be where I am today?
Serendipity! I didn’t have a set career path to become a librarian. I received an invitation by mistake (my name, Shân Jones, is not exactly unique!) to a CLW (College of Librarianship Wales) open day whilst at Aberystwyth University. My curiosity was piqued and I did a post-graduate Dip. Lib. course there after graduating.

What have I learnt along the way?
Get involved, participate and don’t be scared! My first boss actively encouraged me to become a committee member of a CILIP special interest group – so I joined 2, WYLG (Welsh Youth Libraries Group) and AAL North Wales (now the Career Development Group Wales). I was school librarian at Holyhead Secondary School back then. Through becoming involved, I learnt many skills – how to arrange events, take concise minutes, chairing meetings, professional networking – and I also made new friends and had opportunities to visit different libraries. By representing WYLG on the WLA committee (Welsh Library Association - later CILIP Cymru), I networked with librarians from different sectors and learnt about the many issues that affect librarianship.


Make the most of opportunities that come your way. IFLA 2002 was in Glasgow and CILIP were offering grants to first-timers, so my husband and I applied, and were fortunate enough to be two of the successful applicants. Three months before the event we both changed jobs and left the public library sector for The National Library of Wales. We attend IFLA, representing NLW, and staged their exhibition at the event. What an experience – it gave us a glimpse of the challenges librarians face in different circumstances internationally, sharing our knowledge and experiences.

Don’t stop learning. Continue to develop your skills – and learn from any mistakes! After completing my Chartership (now MClip) I become a mentor for distance learners with Gwynedd Library Service whilst a Community Librarian at Blaenau Ffestiniog. I later completed an ECDL course through Bangor University and qualified as an NVQ Assessor at NLW via distance learning with Coleg Llandrillo. I have recently completed an ILM (Institute Leadership Management) course. All of these courses have enable me to develop my career as well as assist others, both library users and colleagues, wherever I’ve worked.


Cooperate. Work with others, discuss and share ideas, listen and contribute! Whilst Community Librarian at Bangor Library I was involved with establishing ‘Gŵyl Gwlt Bangor’ (Bangor Cult Festival) in partnership with Bangor University, Gwynedd Literature Promotion Officer and Theatr Gwynedd. I was also involved in establishing ‘Linc y Gogledd’, a reciprocal borrowing scheme between HE, FE and public libraries in North Wales.

Be flexible and be prepared to take risks! Leaving the comfort of 19 years in the public library sector for a short term contract at NLW was a risk, but I was ready for a new challenge and adventure! My first job was cataloguing a multi-media collection - that’s when I learnt the ‘virtues’ of MARC21 and AACR2. I was then NLW’s ‘@ your library’ Project Officer. I’m currently Head of Non-Welsh Legal Deposit Unit there. My responsibilities include managing a dedicated and hard-working team who process our intake of non-Welsh legal deposit materials on a weekly basis (that’s 77,000 monographs and 57,000 journals last year). Being one of the six legal deposit libraries in the UK and Ireland certainly keeps us busy!


Finally…
You meet all kinds of people in libraries… it’s where I met my husband!

23a - Rachael Whitfield, WHELF

This week we hear from Rachael Whitfield the Development Officer for WHELF (Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum).

WHELF is a grouping of the Chief Librarians and Directors of Information Services drawn from all the higher education institutions in Wales along with the National Library of Wales and the Open University. WHELF’s mission is to promote library and information services co-operation, to encourage the exchange of ideas, provide a forum for mutual support and to help facilitate new initiatives in library and information service provision. My role as the Development Officer is to support WHELF in this work. I took over this role in October 2013 and I work part-time; a day and half from home and one day at Swansea University. I organize the WHELF quarterly meetings; we meet twice by videoconference and the other two occasions are residential meetings taking place over two days.


There is always a very full agenda and discussion to work through at the meetings. The speed of change and simultaneous development within HE libraries seems to me to be more rapid than ever and librarianship is challenging in these economic times, so collaboration and support is more important than ever. I have joined WHELF at an exciting time of course, as many years of hard work have culminated in the procurement of a shared LMS for the consortium of HE libraries, the NLW and the NHS Libraries in Wales and the first institutions have started the implementation process to go live later in the year.

Like many of the librarians who have blogged here as part of 23 Llyfrgellydd my job has a great deal of variety and I don’t really have a typical day, which is part of what makes the job so enjoyable. Naturally, there are always core tasks to deal with;  plenty of email to work through and respond to and the WHELF website and Twitter feed to keep up to date. I help support WHELF in fulfilling the aims of the annual Action Plan, follow up on action points from the WHELF meetings and any tasks delegated to me. I also promote the work of WHELF via the blog, email lists, Twitter and the annual report and have the opportunity to attend WHELF events, and related meetings. I also keep a watching brief for information on developments in the library and information sector, other library consortium and the Welsh government in order to keep WHELF up to date and to look for opportunities where WHELF can respond to consultations or opportunities for funding.


When I tell people that I work from home for part of the week, I often get asked whether I just stay in my pyjamas for the day. No, I don’t. You have to be very self-disciplined to work from home and it’s important to have a designated space that is your “office”. I find working from home very productive but it can be lonely, so I do appreciate my day a week that I work at Swansea University when I can take a coffee break with colleagues and be in a professional environment.

What lead me into librarianship? I left school when I was 16 but after working for a number of years in what felt like routine jobs with no prospect I decided that I wanted to return to education so I enrolled in college to study for my A-levels and then studied for an English Literature degree at the University of Reading. On finishing my degree I got a job working on a retrospective cataloguing project in the University of Reading library. I really liked the precision and thoughtfulness of cataloguing, although on my first day when my line manager told me that a colleague was now going to show me how to weed the card catalogue I wasn’t sure if I was being sent on a “fool’s errand”. Once I had started working in the library sector, I knew it was the career for me and so I studied part-time for an MA in Information Services Management at the University of North London, whilst I continued working in the cataloguing department at the University of Reading. On completing my MA, I had the opportunity to return to Wales when I secured a job at the South Wales Miners’ Library working on an RSLP project to catalogue the pamphlets and other materials of this collection.


When the project concluded I worked for eight years as a subject librarian at Swansea University. A move to West Wales in 2008 gave me the opportunity to work as a secondary school librarian and I then spent a couple of years working freelance as an indexer and cataloguer mostly for Proquest until here I am today working for WHELF. Jobs in academic librarianship are rather limited in Pembrokeshire! so I feel very fortunate to be able to work in a sector that I really enjoy and be able to live in a lovely part of the world.

Outside of work, I aspire to be a keen runner but I remain an amateur runner who is never very keen to leave the house and go running in all weathers. I always feel that there are so many other things I need to be getting on with, or if I have spare time I'd rather be reading a good book. It is worth the effort and sometimes pain though as I always feel better after I've been for a run. I am training for a half marathon in June so I'd better start getting on with it. I’m going to need a good audio book to keep me company on the lonely miles......

Friday, 20 March 2015

22b - Delyth Morris, Cardiff University

The second of our posts this week is from Delyth.

Hello! I’m Delyth Morris, and I’ve recently been appointed the Dental and Medical Librarian in Cardiff University. But more about that later. Firstly, how did I end up in this job?! Like many other contributors to this blog, I had a very traditional route to the library sector; after graduating with a degree in English Literature and Language I felt I needed a vocational qualification to help me stand out to employers, especially in the economic climate of the time. The only work experience I’d ever had, other than retail jobs throughout my teen/student years, was one week of work experience in Cardiff Central Library. This experience, coupled with seeking advice from a librarian in the family (it was inevitable really!), led me to undertake an MA in Information and Library Management. Nothing out of the ordinary.


After finishing the MA, I expectantly applied for jobs…. and I’m not sure I had realised quite how difficult it would be to get a job in a library, let alone a professional post. After many unfruitful experiences applying for jobs and interviews, I decided enough was enough and I was going to try and get experience in a different way; I applied for EU funding via ‘The Leonardo Programme’ and before I knew it I was in Florence attempting to learn Italian and working in a public library, Biblioteca delle Oblate. This was a fascinating experience. The library doubled up as an exhibition space, so I learnt a lot about marketing. Given my abysmal language skills, the experience also taught me a lot about empathising with users when there is a language barrier. There was also a brilliant café at the top of the library with a view over the Duomo, which sold Campari and Aperol Spritz at ALL times of the day!


The library was used as an exhibition space – here a string quartet played in the atrium outside the office
On returning to Britain I finally had some library experience, all be it in a foreign country. After a brief spell as a Librarian in a branch library, I started work as a Library Assistant in Cardiff University. Although not a professional post, it was a job in a library, and I viewed it as the perfect opportunity to gain experience. I furthered my customer service skills through enquiry work, got to grips with library systems and most importantly, I volunteered for all sorts of experiences. My favourite was a trip to Milan; I took advantage of the university’s ERASMUS staff development opportunity and went to visit and work in the university library service in Milan for three weeks. I learnt so much through this experience; equal measures of jealousy for their libraries which were in beautiful, historical buildings (one library was based in the former ice store of a hospital, complete with meat hooks for storing meat for patients) and relief at how lucky I was to work in the HE sector in Britain. The provision of information literacy was a battle; I watched one librarian shoehorn a 2 minute library induction into the end of a first year introductory lecture. I was also told that for every purchase made by acquisitions, they had to complete an ‘Anti-Mafia’ declaration form. I initially thought this was a joke at my expense! The experience was brilliant, and the morning coffee breaks every day were fab too!



The libraries in the University of Milan were in architecturally amazing buildings
A few months after this experience I got my first professional post; an Information Specialist working for the National Collaborating Centre for Cancer [NCC-C] undertaking literature searches for NICE cancer guidelines.

So, to come back full circle to my current job as promised. After a year in a fixed term post for the NCC-C, I returned to Cardiff University and am lucky enough to be doing a job which I’ve been hankering after for years; Subject Librarian. I’m very new to the post, but I get to do all the things I’ve enjoyed in my previous roles combined in one job; customer service and enquiry work, information literacy teaching, literature searching, marketing, collection development and many, many more.  Moving forward from here I want to make sure I keep grasping at opportunities that come my way. I’m currently in the process of completing CILIP Chartership and hope to start a teaching qualification soon.

22a - Jane Daniels, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Our first post this week is from Jane Daniels, part-time Bibliographic Librarian at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

I currently work in the Technical Services Unit at Cardiff Met based at the Llandaff campus but over the course of 32 years in libraries I have had a range of interesting posts. I started out in Newport Central public library during sixth form to get some work experience prior to starting my B.LIB at Aberystwyth.

How to find rain in San Pablito Pahuatlan Pue - Alfonso García Tellez

Since graduating I have had jobs in medical libraries; a special library (county council planning department); an academic library as a Subject Librarian; and in acquisitions and cataloguing in a public library technical services department.

So why settle on cataloguing?
Well, it’s varied cutting-edge work with the opportunity to create records that will help searchers today and for many years to come. It’s fair to say that what we backroom bods do directly impacts on the search experience of users. We create or select records so that users can find, identify, select and obtain resources.

Cataloguers compile records to international cataloguing standards (Anglo American Cataloguing Rules 2nd ed. and Resource Description & Access) and using a format (MARC21 or Dublin Core) that machines can recognise, display and index. Many of us also classify using Dewey Decimal Classification or Library of Congress.
The Disappearing Alphabet - Richard Wilbur & Barbara B. Blumenthal

A system, whether it’s a library catalogue or web scale discovery layer (we use SUMMON,) is only as good as the data in it. Poor quality records hamper search and discovery, which considering the money we all spend on resources is not something that we should shrug off!

But it’s not all about record creation.

Here’s what I do on a typical day.
I start by checking mailboxes and dealing with queries from colleagues, e.g. “Why doesn’t the jacket/container image for this title display in the catalogue?” “What is the correct Dewey number for …?” “Why are there so many duplicate records for the same title in our web scale discovery product?” Some I can answer or remedy quickly but others require more investigation and analysis. I might have to open a case with the supplier of our LMS or web scale search product to get a resolution. Once I have cleared these I move onto responses from suppliers to cases that I have opened previously. Sometimes they are proffering a solution to a problem but often there is a request for further information.


22743 Punchings - Jürgen O. Olbrich & Achim Schnyder

Although HE libraries spend a lot of money on eBooks and electronic journals I still have physical stock to catalogue. A glance at the shelves now reveals books (in English & Welsh), DVDs, story-telling packs and off-air recordings. The majority of the book stock will already have catalogue records, of varying quality, attached to the orders. I check the records against the item in hand and make any necessary amendments:

  • Are the records coded correctly? If not then faceted search will be compromised.
  • Does the record accurately describe what I have in my hand or can see on the screen? Important for helping users distinguish between multiple editions and/or formats.
  • Are the access points i.e. names, genre headings, subject headings correct? Do I need to add local keywords to ensure retrieval?
  • Can I use the classification number in the record? We have a number of “Metisms” which are local variations on standard Dewey. I have to ensure that stock doesn’t get dispersed on the shelves by inadvertently accepting a class number for a subject area where we have traditionally used a local number.

Sometimes I source records from other datasets and import them to overwrite our local records.

Then there are the eResources.
We rely on commercial services for records for eJournals and eBooks but I still have to monitor the records for availability, quality and negotiate service improvements with suppliers.

Surley not! - Jackie Batey

Cardiff also has special collections. One of these consists of Artists books. (You can see images of these dotted around in this blog entry!) I love cataloguing these! They are quirky, entertaining, thought-provoking and beautiful. They require a lot more cataloguing than the average textbook because often records are not available as the books may be limited editions or even one offs.

There’s advocacy work as well.
For the last 3 years I have been working with commercial catalogue record providers, the Welsh Books Council and the National Library of Wales to try to ensure that libraries in Wales can access good quality records for Welsh and bi-lingual books. I‘m a member of the CILIP Cataloguing and Indexing Group and thoroughly recommend attending their training events and biennial conference.

© Cataloguing and Indexing Group

My advice to anyone wanting a career as a cataloguer is to ask yourself these questions.
Can you handle change? 
Are you flexible? 
Do you like a challenge? 
Are you good at problem-solving? 
Do you have a good eye for detail? 
Are you good with IT?
If the answer to these questions is yes then cataloguing or metadata management as it is more commonly referred to these days is going to be an absorbing and satisfying career for you.

In Wales we have the fledgling Cataloguers in Wales Group which aims to provide an informal network for cataloguers working in any library sector. It costs nothing to join our mailing list or follow us on Twitter @CatalogueWales. We also have a blog so feel free to use any of these avenues to ask questions or seek advice.

Good luck!

Friday, 13 March 2015

21 - Lisa Jones, Glan Clwyd Hospital

This week's post comes from Lisa Marie Jones, Librarian in the North Wales NHS Library Service.

Often when I tell people that I’m a Librarian, I’m met with an indifferent response “Oh yes that makes sense” or even “You do seem like a Librarian”. I don’t wear pencil skirts, horn-rimmed glasses or have my finger permanently placed on my lips; but I do like a good cardigan. I think this attribution has more to do with my disposition than my dress sense. I’ve always been an introvert, solitary and reflective yet quietly curious. My library card was one of my favourite toys as a child, the original smartphone, all the information you could ever need behind one rectangular piece of plastic.


Librarianship wasn’t always my dream. As a teenager, I didn’t really aspire towards any career. My high school ‘record of achievement’ folder would tell you that my aspiration was to be ‘a psychiatrist or a journalist’. Given the stark variance in those two careers, I think it’s safe to say that they were spur of the moment decisions. All I knew was that I was going to go to university and I was going to study literature. My first job after graduating was as a Library Assistant at Bangor University’s Main Arts library. I couldn’t believe that it was possible to wake up in the morning looking forward to work let alone actually enjoy myself whilst I was there! The buzz of a busy academic library provided a wonderful working environment; not only did I get to kid myself that I was still a carefree 18 year old student all day long but I was able to facilitate others with their information retrieval and help them with their educational progression, which is such a rewarding feat. Despite the fast paced nature of working behind a library desk, I still had the chance to be alone and reflect by taking myself away, plugging in my ipod and shelving trolleys of returned books in the beautiful Shankland reading room. I decided a career in libraries would definitely suffice as the aspiration I’d been missing. I’m not sure my BA would quite qualify me for a future in Psychiatry anyway.


I checked myself out of North Wales and moved to Manchester in 2012 to begin my MA in Library and Information Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. I specialised in marketing for my thesis with a focus on QR codes and their viability as a promotional tool. The course itself gave me a wide variety of knowledge, with modules in Media Law, Search & Retrieval, and Management. I completed a Business Plan, researched into the laws surrounding internet trolling and developed a usability test for a television on-demand service. Far more than just books and shelves!

Last year I was offered my first professional post as a Librarian for the North Wales NHS Library Service. I’d previously worked in various academic and public libraries but this was my first experience in an NHS health library. I’ve had a few people ask me the question “Why would a hospital need a library?” I think people initially assume that the library provides fiction books, perhaps for hospital visitors or patients. Rather, the library is an information hub for staff and students at the hospital to facilitate their evidence-based practice and patient care. A typical day for a health librarian involves completing literature searches for doctors or medical students. So far I’ve completed searches varying from ‘The role of Physiotherapy in Obesity’ to “Hoarding behaviour in adults”. I’ve helped students with their referencing for essays and helped a consultant prepare for a debate on microbiological testing. I’m a natural sceptic with an admiration for science, and so searching for evidence for medical care is something I am very glad to be a part of. It can be very daunting to know that my information retrieval may play a part in the care of a patient and so it is important that I am meticulous and thorough with my searches, and to have clear communication with the customer who requests my assistance.

I have a wide variety of day to day duties, I process the ordering and receipting of our book stock and catalogue the new books on their arrival. I am the student liaison librarian and it is my responsibility to perform library inductions for medical students who have their placement in Glan Clwyd Hospital. I am also the Athens Administrator for the hospital and deal with any queries and issues that staff members have with regards to the access of electronic resources via Athens authentication. We offer one-to-one searching skills sessions as well as group training sessions on medical databases. As well as being a provider of professional knowledge, the library also holds a selection of fiction books as light relief in a sea of medical textbooks. It’s also a place for the medical staff to come for some peace and quiet away from the busy hospital wards. This job has been an excellent platform for my career and has enabled me to undertake many courses as part of my continued professional development, such as those on copyright, critical appraisal and cataloguing. As a CILIP member, I recently enrolled as a candidate for the MCLIP qualification and I hope to become chartered within the next year.


Being a health librarian means I am able to learn about many interesting topics. I previously had limited medical knowledge but in the past eight months I’ve had to quickly adapt to medical terminology and medical career structures. I’ve also had to eliminate any squeamish or health anxious behaviour, as medical textbooks can be graphic and grim to say the least!

I’m excited for my future as a Librarian. Librarianship is a field with endless opportunities. I hope to become an active member of CILIP, engage in as many networking opportunities as possible and visit other libraries to appreciate the wider context of libraries outside of my current sector. Although my introverted nature may seem like the perfect pathway towards a career in libraries, people may be surprised at the energy and pace of modern day libraries. One could also be fooled into believing that electronic books will see the end of the Librarian, but with the ever evolving world of information and the increasing immediacy in which it is delivered, it is even more essential that we have library and information professionals to decipher the fact from the fiction.

Friday, 6 March 2015

20 - Louise Harrington, Cardiff University

This week we hear from Louise, who works as a Repository Administrator for Cardiff University's Institutional Repository.

First confession: I fell into librarianship by accident! I started a PhD in English Literature at Cardiff University in 1999, and applied for a part-time evening post in the library to help pay my way. I worked Tuesday evenings and Saturdays in Trevithick Library, home of Computer Science, Engineering and Physics and Astronomy, for a number of years, while studying and teaching undergraduates part-time, and shelving Engineering tomes was often a welcome distraction. For a while after getting my doctorate, I balanced teaching at Cardiff University and what was then the University of Glamorgan, with working in the library, and gradually realized I preferred the latter to being an academic! I successfully applied for a maternity cover post in 2008, and have worked full-time for Cardiff University Library Service (ULS) ever since. I undertook a diploma in Library and Information Studies at Aberystwyth via Distance Learning between 2007 and 2012.


My librarian career has been varied to say the least – I’ve worked in Senghennydd Library, the Arts and Social Studies Library, Music, Science and Biomed, and as a Library Operations Manager, Senior Library Assistant, I-WIRE Project officer, Welsh Information Literacy Project Officer, (temporary) Subject Librarian and finally and permanently as Repository Administrator for Cardiff’s Institutional Repository, ORCA.

This was a brand new role when I was appointed in January 2012, which was both scary and invigorating as it meant I could (within reason obviously) carve my own path. On a normal day, I start by checking the general ORCA email, answering any queries and forwarding on any to my line manager and colleagues. Typical queries range from how to enter items into ORCA, how to change bibliographic data and how can they add full text. The task I do every day is to look at what data has been entered into the repositories review area, determine what needs to be prioritized and who should do it. A lot of time is also taken up with checking copyright and publisher policies to determine if the full text files we have been sent by researchers can be uploaded: it’s great when they can be, but really frustrating when the author doesn’t have the right version. The ORCA team are responsible for uploading the green full text, but we spend a lot of time liaising with colleagues in the Open Access team regarding gold full text compliance.

As most librarians know, open access and research support is a hugely relevant topic in academic libraries, especially with the HEFCE compliance requests for the next REF, and it is a very hot and ever-changing topic, so keeping up with developments in green and gold OA, repositories, not to mention altmetrics and bibliometrics is a full-time job in itself. A lot of my time is taken up reading mailing list posts and blogs, looking for ideas that we can implement in our team.


I also train other members of library staff in using ORCA so that they can help their schools deposit items, so I often hold large training sessions or individual consultations. We also provide training sessions to PhD students on submitting their theses to ORCA as all research theses must now be submitted electronically rather than in print.

I enjoy being involved in an area that is very dynamic, always changing, and one that involves talking to PhD students, academics, school administrators, and teams in the professional services division. Repositories and Open Access will be central to the next REF so it is good to feel part of that. Cardiff University will soon be implementing a CRIS (Current Research Information System) so getting involved in the nitty-gritty of that will be entertaining! I also like it when I can put a piece of full text on ORCA, as that is the whole point of open access repositories – my colleagues think I’m weird…


I’m also Chair of the Workplace Learning Working Group within ULS, which is all about finding opportunities for library staff to develop their skills by learning from colleagues. We run three programmes at the moment: a job shadowing scheme, where someone shadows a colleagues in a different or senior role; job rotation, where staff swap roles for a short period; and ‘Do Something Different Day’, where staff go to a different library or department for up to a day. This last one is really popular – we run it twice a year (May and December), and other libraries in the Cardiff area participate in the May event, which is excellent. I’m also part of Cardiff University’s Inspire Choir – I am by not stretch of the imagination a good singer, but it’s great fun!