This issue is on the subject of training and professional development. In a diverse profession such as ours, and with the rapidity with which the technology we use changes, we never cease to learn new skills. Professional development does not necesssarily relate to particular stages of career progression. Continuing professional development can help us to perform our work more effectively, to improve our libraries' services, and in so doing, find greater job satisfaction. "Lifelong learning" is not just a service we provide for our users, it is vital for us in the profession.
Having said that, librarians pass a number of landmarks in the continuum of their early professional development: a Graduate Trainee year, a Diploma or Masters course in librarianship, and Chartership. Marika Sarvilahti assesses her Graduate Trainee year, with contributions from the other 4 Cambridge Graduate Trainees. Hilary Pattison describes some of the challenges and opportunities of undertaking a part time librarianship degree whilst working in a library. Julie-Ann Roszkowski from Cambridgeshire public library service, who has just completed the process of Chartership herself and has now taken on the role of Registration Liaison Officer for the Eastern region, describes her experiences and the support which is available to candidates.
Training is clearly part of professional development. It can take place in a variety of contexts: on the job, in-house courses, external courses, self-paced tutorials from printed manuals or indeed online; a one-off event or an ongoing process. Libraries need both to evaluate training needs, and to monitor the effectiveness of training delivered. We include extracts from an interview with the UL's new Deputy Librarian, Anne Murray, outlining her perspective of the challenges facing libraries and the importance of training and development in meeting them. Amanda Wrigley gives us her assessment of an LA training event on teamworking in which she recently participated. I look at training from the trainer's point of view, discussing methods for training new staff using our circulation system. Catching them young, Aidan Baker goes back to the very start of the process, reporting on the experiences of various Cambridge libraries of taking on school work placements, the training which can be offered to children still in the early stages of their career choices, and the benefits to libraries of involvement in the process.
Of course, if we spent all our time in training, we'd have no time left for our other interests (like cake). In our regular feature on what librarians do in their spare time, Chris Sendall of the UL's Automation Department gives us a whistlestop tour of his many diverse activities - be prepared as he takes us into deep water, across muddy fields, and even up the UL's tower!
Back to Contents
CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE MICHAELMAS EDITION OF CULIB
The next issue of CULIB will look at the subject of foreign language materials. Do you have interesting foreign language collections? Have you tackled the problems of cataloguing in a variety of different scripts and of displaying them online? Do you have a separate collection development strategy for foreign language materials? How do you manage multimedia language materials? If you have any interesting experiences to relate on the subject, CULIB would like to hear from you. All contributions please to Sheila Cameron by the end of September.
Of trains, demons and aspirations: one woman's attempt to work, study and have a life - with dubious success
It can be really dismal standing on the platform at Whittlesford station, waiting for the 7.09 to Liverpool Street, particularly on a dreech Monday morning in mid-February. The train, when it arrives, is at least warm and by the time it leaves Bishop's Stortford absolutely packed with silent commuters sunk into their Times, their briefcases, or a drowsy state of semi-consciousness. It is a strange half-world, the world of the commuter. I am trying to read, and take in, a book on strategic planning for the academic library. It is no more thrilling than it sounds, but since I have embarked upon a course which will lead to an MA in Library and Information Studies, I feel I must at least attempt to engage with what it has to teach.
The following day, Tuesday, I arrive at work to find that a glitsch in the automated system has resulted in a total cock-up of the loans file and none of the indexing seems to be working, the printer refuses to co-operate with the simplest command and even the photocopier has ceased to function. The relief library assistant has been off sick, every desk in the library seems to have been scattered with detritus by the mysterious library demon who comes in the night, as we all know, to cause havoc, to remove from the shelves all the bound volumes of past papers and create towers of as many of the All England Law Reports on one desk as it is humanly (or demonically) possible to create. The working week continues in this vein. It is the week to send out the final overdues to students; the physics list has finally been returned by the Director of Studies with many ticks on it indicating please order; we have a number of enquiries about the rare books collection and one from New Zealand for the Archives; I am preparing the minutes for the next Library Committee meeting (oh, why did I not do them straight away?); a huge box of books arrives from the supplier; the Bursar wants to talk over the Disaster Plan and my colleague has to go to the West country to tend to an ailing relative. I seem to be developing a cold. On Saturday I spend the morning in the UL to prepare for Monday's seminar presentation on managing grey literature, wash some clothes, do the shopping, take the cat to the vet and go to the theatre (well, okay, this last was by choice). Sunday sees me at my PC by 8.30 intending to write a draft of the strategic plan assignment which is due in at the end of the month (and no extensions considered), I must make some notes for the seminar tomorrow and I would really like to spend some time with my family.
It is not easy being superwoman, but hey ... practice, practice, practice.
Anyone who has taken the reckless step of studying for a second degree part-time whilst holding down a responsible position (or even an irresponsible one), coping with the demands of a family and maintaining a reasonable interface with the world will recognise the scenario, if not the details, just described. The feeling of never quite having enough time. The feeling that that B+ might just have been an A- if only ... The feeling of being a piece of elastic stretched to breaking, and gradually having less and less stretch. The feeling of having no life beyond the library, and certainly little opportunity for fun.
So why do it? Why put yourself through the acrobatics of doing all things and none of them quite as well as you might wish? There are doubtless as many reasons for this as there are mature students. What prompted my own decision for a change of career in mid-life was that it seemed, at the time, to be a good idea. Since I was to all intents and purposes in charge of managing an undergraduate library, and since I realised that I would not ever be given the opportunity to develop the library along the lines I would like to without that all-important piece of paper which would acknowledge that I could, it was an obvious step. Over the years, I have returned to a variety of library jobs almost as a default option. I have been a library assistant in a specialist library, in a public library, in an academic library. I have answered lending enquiries, reference enquiries, and user registration enquiries. I even managed my own branch library in Suffolk where I was teacher, child-minder, bereavement counsellor, feminist activist and IT consultant. Taking the decision to qualify felt like bowing to the inevitable. So I applied to UCL for a place and was accepted for the autumn of 1997.
There is no denying that the course at UCL was, at times, very hard work. Not so much intellectually but (certainly 25 years after completing my first degree) having to reorganise my time, re-learning the skills of essay writing, developing report writing, preparing a case study and the final MA report of 15,000 words on ANYTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH LIBRARIES did make it an occasionally painful process. It was sometimes necessary, also, to un-learn some of the bad habits and short-cuts created to cope with every-day practice, and to learn and implement a new methodology. This has proved really helpful - especially for time management.
The course could also be fun. Yes, fun. At UCL, the work for the classes on Classification, Cataloguing and Information Sources and Resources are all based around a subject of one's own choosing. I found this is an inspired way of making what is not always the most exciting aspect of the librarian's training quite absorbing (this is not to imply that it is not interesting - I do not blush to admit that I find the classification of human knowledge a philosophically challenging idea). Whether one chooses a topic which one loves (be it film, poetry or physics) or a topic which will be of use at one's place of work (law, art conservation, missiology) one is committed to it because one has made a personal choice. Thinking about and planning for my dream film studies library was not so much a chore - more an aspiration.
Other aspects of the course proved to have very useful practical applications. The very first assignment I undertook was for Collection Management and involved the drawing up of a Library Disaster Plan. With some modifications, this is now the accepted document for the College where I work. Likewise a policy for weeding is incorporated into the Collection Development and Management Policy of the College library. When enthusiasm is waning (and it does, it does) this practical application of one's new skills can help remind one of the advantages of taking the course. Anyway, since the College agreed to pay my fees, my travel expenses and provide necessary staff cover, I felt it encumbent, really.
There were surreal moments, too. Like being seated at a numbered desk in a church hall in Tottenham Court Road, wet through from a recent heavy shower of rain, sitting an EXAM, for Heaven's sake! - and me a grandmother; like finding myself walking down Gower Street deep in conversation about the virtues of different classification schemes; like winning a bar of chocolate for the Internet Search competition; like waiting on Whittlesford station for the 7.09 to Liverpool Street on a cold morning in February ...
What do I say to anyone contemplating taking a similar step when perhaps past the first flush of youth? Well, you may well be made to feel your age when you realise that most of your fellow students have no memory of the last Labour administration, that they think you are really brave to be doing this course AT YOUR AGE, and that they came into the world already programmed for Windows NT. You may occasionally feel younger since it is more rejuvenating than Vitamin E cream to sit in a student refectory and slag off the teaching staff (not that we did, of course, but we COULD have). But most importantly: only do it if you think you can keep a sense of proportion and your sense of humour. It's like anything else, what you are going to get out of it is in direct correlation to the amount of energy you are prepared to put in. On aggregate, I am glad I took the course - not because of the enhanced career prospects (!), but because, though it may not sound like it, I did find it an interesting, stimulating and, occasionally, satisfying, undertaking.
Hilary Pattison has recently been appointed as Lee Librarian of Wolfson College, taking up office in March. We congratulate her on her new appointment, especially as it provides such an excellent example of the benefits of professional development!
Back to Contents
Chartering - a personal perspective on Professional Development and Training
I am employed by Cambridgeshire Libraries and Information Service as Assistant Librarian with responsibility for services to children and young people in the South Cambridgeshire Area. I recently became Associate Member of the Library Association after following a chartership training programme (Route A) over a two year period. The period is normally one year for full-time professionals, but for three-quarters of the time I held two posts, a part-time professional and a part-time non-professional one and so it took longer.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to having an extended registration period. The main advantage is that you will probably gain more experience and it can mean more training opportunities, depending on your employer. In my case, I feel that the benefits outweighed the pitfalls.
The disadvantages are that you can lose momentum and focus. If the final goal seems a long way off, set yourself intermittent targets and set dates for them. My overall approach, however, was to see my registration candidature as a process of continuing professional development.
The setting of a target and dates was important in getting my Professional Development Report written up for submission but keeping a log of experience and training throughout the period helped enormously in this. Indeed, one of the other three methods of submission for chartership is by portfolio and I felt that this was a real option because of the way I had kept my log; and I will be able to use this portfolio in future job searching. The other two methods are an Adaptation Report or by Proforma & Interview, the Proforma being a structured series of questions to act as prompts for the discussion of all aspects of your professional development. Even if you do not submit by this method you can use it as a checklist to make sure you fulfil all the assessment criteria.
I don't want to focus on the methods of submission in this article but I hope the above indicates that the Library Association gives a lot of guidance on submitting so don't be daunted by the idea of it.
The LA also provides a Framework for Continuing Professional Development - a useful tool for that most crucial of aspects, planning. Your organisation may have its own appraisal scheme, as in my case, and though this formed the main framework I found these complemented each other. The nice thing about the LA framework is that it encourages you to consider your professional development in the context of personal priorities. Also, if you change jobs or sectors, the framework will provide continuity. It is flexible enough so that you can use as much of it or as little as need at any given point in your career.
It is especially useful if you have had a varied career to date and are coming to the chartering process later in your career, as was the case with me. After university I did a trainee SCONUL year in an academic library, then immediately afterwards did my PG Diploma in Library and Information Studies. I had a temporary job after this in another academic library, after which I went into English Language teaching for three years (with a short stint as a picture framer!) before returning to librarianship but this time in the public sector, where I have been for the last 6 years. The opportunity to have licentiate training came up almost by chance and I haven't looked back.
So the framework, appraisal system and training programme helped me to gather in all my experience and assess achievements, constantly re-evaluating them, as well as helping me to pinpoint gaps in my development. I explored and became much more aware of the transferability of my skills - for example, of how I am using my language teaching skills in my current post in my class visits work with children. I saw that informal training can be just as valuable as formal training and am now better able to identify training opportunities.
It is important to keep focused on what the chartering process is about- in a nutshell, how you have developed professionally, showing how you have put into practice what you know in theory, how you have learnt from your mistakes and how you have identified future training needs and potential in yourself.
The benefits of it have been enormous. I have a much broader perspective of the profession now, many contacts with other professionals, both in my own sector and others. (The imminent unification of the LA and the Institute of Information Scientists is, I think, indicative of the importance of the need for professionals to think in much more global contexts). It has required that I scrutinise my employing organisation more closely than I perhaps would have dared otherwise! It has meant a growth in confidence and I now feel I can contribute much more to this organisation and my profession. I am a pretty apolitical creature but I have recognised the need to be politically aware and have become more so.
Unlike exams, which are a measure of what you know, the chartership process is about you - it is a measure of what you are doing in the world with that knowledge and the satisfaction, for me at least, of receiving my report back with "Accepted" stamped on it, was much greater than any exam I have ever passed.
If you don't have the opportunity to do the Route A, where your employing organisation has an approved training scheme, I would encourage you to consider Route B, requiring two years professional experience (to find out more, see contacts at end). There is a lot of help out there - I have just taken on the role of Regional Liaison Officer for this area so you can contact me with any queries. There are seminars on chartering (usually about 2 per year per region). If you are not a member of the LA there are many benefits in becoming one e.g. getting involved with groups such as the Career Development Group. This group's journal, Impact, periodically has useful advice on professional development and training.
Finally, though there was the satisfaction of finishing my Professional Development Report and being accepted, there was also the sense of a new beginning, which seems entirely appropriate in the light of the LA's emphasis on Continuing Professional Development - I'm not sure where this ship is chartered to but it's been a good journey so far and long may it continue.
South Cambridgeshire Area Libraries
Tel: 01223 718361
Kate Wood, Head of Professional Qualifications, the Library Association
Tel: 020 7255 0500
Alison Dyer, Secretary of the Career Development Group (Eastern)
Tel: 01603 592437
Back to Contents
Extracts from an Interview with Anne Murray, Deputy Librarian at the UL
The full text of Elaine Skidmore's interview with Anne Murray originally appeared in the Cambridge University Library Staff Bulletin, no 787 (25 February 2000). We are grateful to the editor and to Anne for permission to reproduce extracts from this which reflect upon our theme.
Anne has worked in the private sector as well as in universities. She was asked what the merits and demerits of working in the university setting were:
"Anne explained that when she worked in the private sector, time was money, and one's actions were often justified in terms of profit rather than quality of service.
There seemed to her to be a different ethos in universities which allowed time and space for individuals to develop both personally and professionally. On the negative side it is her perception that the university environment is - in some respects - too secure and that this encourages some people to stay at a single institution rather than take risks with their careers."
[Though this sense of security may be decreasing for new entrants to the profession, given the number of fixed term contracts now being advertised within the academic sector. - Ed.]
Anne was asked about her vision for the University Library over the next decade. Much of her response would apply equally well to libraries in general.
"The new Deputy Librarian stated that she believes that while the library as a physical space will remain, it will change to encompass new activities and formats. Many staff within this building will still be concerned with managing and preserving large collections of material, but will be utilising business model practices with more emphasis placed upon managing resources more efficiently and more cost effectively. Other staff will find their work patterns changing not only with the implementation of the new library computer system, but through working increasingly in the virtual space of email reference services and video conferencing enquiry desks."
Anne was then asked how she saw her role as Deputy Librarian.
"Anne began by saying that she regards staff as the most important aspect of any library. She looks forward to the opportunity to help foster an environment in which the knowledge, skills and expertise of the UL staff will provide enhanced support for developments in the University as a whole. She believes that in a time of rapid technological development, the ability of the service to adapt and respond to change depends on a highly skilled staff. Along with providing the necessary training to enable all staff to deliver a quality service in this rapidly changing environment, staff should also be given the opportunity to develop their personal skills such as communication, problem-solving, and decision-making."
Many of us who are involved in the management or training of staff would agree wholeheartedly with Anne. We wish her success in her new post as Deputy Librarian.
Back to Contents
Continuing professional development: the Library Association's `Working in teams' evaluated
The two hour course `Working in teams', which took place on the evening
of 23rd February 2000 at the Engineering Employers Federation
in London, was aimed at individuals who are committed to enhancing their
professional development. It is only one of many such events regularly
organized by the North and South Thames Divisions of the LA Career Development
and which are advertised through electronic mailing lists such as lis-la-charter and lis-link, details of which can be accessed through www.mailbase.ac.uk
Among the twenty or so individuals attending the course, I met one chartership candidate who is at the stage of writing up her professional development report (PDR). She finds these and similar courses so useful and of such good value that she will continue to attend even after submitting her PDR. This, of course, is a simple and practical example of the Library Association's definition of continuing professional development (CPD) in practice:
"The planned and systematic updating of professional knowledge and improvemnt of personal competence throughout the individual's working life."
It is very encouraging to see that the nationwide branches of the Career Development Group make this possible by holding such courses regularly, at convenient times on weekday evenings, and at very affordable rates (this event cost £10, or £5 for the unwaged).
Tony Hinde, a consultant with ABH Training and Assessment, lead the evening with the aim of giving the group a practical understanding of Dr. Meredith Belbin's model of team roles which is indispensable in identifying the `How? and Why?' of a team's success or, perhaps more importantly, its failure. After observing management teams in action, Belbin recognized that individuals fill one or more of eight defined team roles when working as part of a team:
|Chairperson||Co-ordinating team resources|
|Shaper||Directing team activity|
|Company worker||Acting out plans|
|Team worker||Supporting and communicating|
|Completer-finisher||Keeping the team on the task|
|Resource investigator||Networking outside the group|
(Belbin, R.M. (1981), Management teams: why they succeed or fail. London: Heinemann. See also www.belbin.com/manteams.html).
The evening was structured around three main activities: first, Hinde introduced the subject and outlined the theoretical background; secondly, the group split into four smaller groups with the objective of creating a working definition of a team and identifying its essential characteristics, which was followed by a general discussion of findings; and thirdly, the completion and discussion of in-depth self-perception questionnaires, designed to indicate likely team roles of individuals. A helpful part of the handouts provided by Hinde was the listing of `tolerable weaknesses' of each team role: for example, a plant, or creative thinker, may have the tendency to be impractical, but as other roles within the team would counteract this tendency, it would not hinder the overall functioning of the team. In other words, an effective team is a careful balance of these complementary roles.
A sensible amount of time was allocated to these activities: to achieve more in these two hours, for example, a closer examination of Belbin's model, would have been very welcome to the group, but ambitious within the timescale. Nevertheless, the evening was well-spent and the group came away with a good working understanding of how a team can function well with respect to the roles individuals assume within them and how combinations of these roles can be exploited for the best effect of the team.
Trinity College Library
Back to Contents
Future librarians begin their professional development at fifteen. School pupils are required to spend a fortnight of Year 10 on work-experience placements. Many of them come to make themselves useful in libraries around the University. I spoke to some of the librarians concerned.
The range of tasks you can give to untrained volunteers is large but not unlimited. The tasks need to be simple enough for someone to be able to get them right first time with minimal supervision. They need to be useful, but there needs to be some leeway, so that errors can be retrieved. As if all that were not a hard enough balancing act, some people hold that temporary volunteers work better if they know they are helping with the institution's development, rather than its basic maintenance. It pleases them to have a task with a beginning, a middle, and an end, so that they can see the results of their work.
Suitable tasks need to be set aside in the weeks or months leading up the placement. Favourites include shelving, shelf-tidying, book preparation; also, the compiling of lists, the collection of statistics, the inputting of data, provided there is opportunity for regular staff to tidy the work afterwards.
The kids bring a breath of fresh air, said one librarian. They raise the profile of the institution and strengthen its links with the community - a major plus if you're getting Lottery money. They can take some of the work-load off hard-pressed staff. If you're very lucky, you find that your ex-volunteers turn into a reserve force, to be called on when you need them.
The kids bring their own adolescent problems, said the same librarian. They're not used to a full-length working day. Any benefit from the extra pairs of hands has to be set against the input required of library staff - assigning tasks, inducting, supervising. Worse is when kids announce their arrival with minimum notice, and expect to be slotted in just like that.
Does it work?
I didn't find a direct correlation between size of library, or size of library staff, and success of placement. Most of the librarians I quizzed were happy about the business. If you have the space for these extra people to work, and the time to invest in them, you can hope for a good return - even during the two weeks of the placement itself.
How to have kids
The season for work-experience placements in Cambridgeshire runs from May to October. They are co-ordinated by:
Cambridgeshire Careers Guidance
Ltd, Trust Court, Vision Park, Histon, CAMBRIDGE CB4 4PW
tel.: 01223 712800
CCG maintains a database, updated annually, of organisations to which it sends school pupils. It does its best to ensure a good match, and to check on things like insurance, and health and safety.
It's worth a try.
Back to Contents
TRAINING ON CIRCULATION FOR NEW STAFF - A TRAINER'S PERSPECTIVE
The arrival of a new member of staff inevitably means training. However experienced and skilled a new person might be in the tasks associated with his job, some induction training will be required to introduce him to the College (its people, geography, history & customs) and the Library (its layout, collections, & policies). One of my priorities in the context of initial training is to ensure that the new staff member is able and confident to take his turn at the Issue Desk. This benefits both the Library and the individual, as we can call upon more people to cover necessary duties and the trainee can feel that he is making a valuable contribution to the day to day operation of the Library.
There are several possible methods of introducing someone to the work of the Issue Desk. Which are utilised may depend on availability of other staff to be involved in the process, the time of year, the previous experience of the new staff member, and the way in which the new person prefers to learn.
It should be remembered when training that people respond in different ways to various teaching methods. Some people find it easiest to work from written instructions. Others like to see a task demonstrated. Some prefer to launch straight in and try something for themselves. Others may want more guidance or the opportunity to ask further questions. In planning any sort of training, it is as well to bear this in mind. While one cannot predict how individuals will react to a course, including a variety of different teaching methods should cater for different learning styles .
I have developed a set programme to introduce new staff to our Dynix circulation system. This training exercise was time-consuming to devise initially. It has significant advantages though over more ad hoc methods. It ensures that all aspects of circulation work are covered with each new staff member. It allows a trainee to practise all the normal term time functions during vacations. It is also easy to repeat the course whenever a new recruit arrives, as all the materials for it are now prepared.
Objectives of training
St John's College Library
Back to Contents
Graduate Traineeship in Cambridge
Working as a Graduate Trainee provides working experience for graduates interested in postgraduate studies in Information Studies or Information Sciences. This article examines some of my experiences half way through my year working as Graduate Trainee at St John's College Library. While this is a personal view of my experiences, I have taken the liberty of surveying the views of my fellow Graduate Trainees working at various Cambridge University College Libraries. After all, one of the precious aspects of being a Trainee in Cambridge is the tradition of close connection between the Trainees, which at best becomes an important network of shared experiences and information.
Having studied intensively throughout my last year at University, starting a Traineeship at St John's College Library in the beginning of August 1999 was simultaneously a challenge and a relief. A challenge in that I was faced with a steep learning curve of practical skills, but also a relief in the sense that I could see a fairly clear career path and leave those heavy going textbooks alone for a while. Although many Graduate Trainees may have had some previous work experience in Libraries, perhaps working as relief staff alongside studies or vacation periods, depending on what subject one has studied at University, many graduates may have little actual understanding of the profession as a whole and their prospects in it. This is where a year spent as Graduate Trainee becomes an invaluable experience.
The day to day experience of working in St John's College Library as Graduate Trainee includes training in the basic skills of Librarianship, such as cataloguing and classifying, and working effectively on the issue desk, but also the taking care of specific tasks and projects, such as the setting up of an exhibition and being involved in simple database development. The range of responsibilities and training assigned to me and the other trainees at Cambridge College Libraries are diverse and the trainees are generally happy having the opportunity to be an important part of the effective running of their libraries. Many of them actually expected their post to include more mundane duties such as endless shelving, and expected not to be involved in such a large number of different aspects of the Library. What is particularly appreciated is the opportunities that Cambridge offers in terms of visiting different types of Libraries and Information Services; we all visit each other's Libraries amongst others, and we have the opportunity to attend lectures and courses, which all provide an insight into the profession as a whole.
In my view the most important aspect of Graduate Traineeship is not only to provide the graduate the practical skills relating to Librarianship but also to give a varied and modern insight into the profession as a whole. On one hand, to form an insight into how libraries work in general, to develop an overall view of the system from acquisition policy and practices to processing materials all the way to the shelf. On the other hand, to understand how one way of practice in a Cambridge University College relates to another in an academic or public environment. As we all know the profession is changing rapidly with information and communications technology, therefore one would hope that the educators of future professionals respond to this rapid change quickly and responsibly. The choices for postgraduate study are varied with possibilities of specialisation in various aspects of Information Sciences and Technology with good career prospects attracting many graduates. However, during the Graduate Trainee year the decision on what kind of course one wishes to attend will have to be made from the several options available. MA in Library and Information Studies is not the only option, although many of us do apply to these courses, but studies also in New Media, specialising in Web-based information services, are beginning to be available in Universities, which are all very appropriate further study options. Some of the Trainees would in fact have hoped for more opportunities for training in, for an example, Web related skills in their own work. I amongst my fellow Trainees became quickly aware of the two sides of Library work; the discrepancy between ideologies of developing online/networking solutions for Libraries and the preservation of the book culture and historical bibliography at Cambridge. An institution such as Cambridge University, with precious collections of fine and rare books, has many challenges and opportunities in new technology, with some digitisation projects being underway currently in the University Library. As a Graduate Trainee one would hope to be part of some of these developments too, and hopefully visits or talks will be possible in order for us to form insight into these developments. Not having studied at Cambridge, one is also rather often baffled by the complex hierarchical organisation of the institution and hence the organisation of access and reading/borrowing rights. The implementation of online solutions and networking hopefully means providing access to collections and other services in a culture of sharing information in place of hierarchical boundaries.
There are not many Graduate Trainee places available when one compares their number with those applying each year. Cambridge currently only has five Graduate Trainees and hopefully this proportion could rise in the near future as Graduate Trainees can provide an important supporting role in a College Library. The training itself is organised by staff throughout the year in my case, with many new things to learn every day. The skills I will end up with will be invaluable transferable skills and I presume one of those, for a new graduate, is always working experience in general; the how it all works and how it all feels factor. All postgraduate courses require some working experience in a relevant field and applications need to be tendered during the Graduate Trainee year, a procedure that seems to be becoming increasingly complex and draining for the applicants each year. However, the Cambridge trainees have often had offers from good courses with funding, and I have little doubt this tradition will change this year. My experience as Graduate Trainee at St John's College has been very enjoyable while also allowing for responsibilities and relevant training, which all help towards building confidence in ones capabilities, which is just what a new graduate needs!
St John's College Library
Back to Contents
At Trinity College Library, Aeronwen Allison has left the Retrospective Cataloguing team to take up a post with the British Library in Boston Spa, and her place has been taken by Amanda Wrigley. Amanda, whose interests include yoga, salsa dancing, and 19th century literature, studied librarianship at Sheffield and has now embarked on the process of chartering. Chloe Stewart, last year's Graduate Trainee, now doing her library course at Aberystwyth, has been replaced by Sue Thomas, who graduated in English from King's last summer.
Meanwhile, Clair Castle, who recently succeeded in gaining her Charter, looks forward to applying it as she moves from the Marshall Library of Economics to be Senior Assistant at the Balfour in Zoology. She takes the place of Clare Osbourn, who has left Cambridge for Aberdeen. Our congratulations and best wishes to Clare on her marriage.
Louise Yirrell has moved from Caius to take up the post of Academic Services Librarian at St John's. Louise was awarded her Charter from the LA in January. Also at St John's, Katherine Heawood has been appointed Librarian's Assistant. Katherine has a history degree from Exeter and has worked previously in the Cambridgeshire Collection in Cambridge Central Library.
Elisabeth Stares has moved from the UL to the Assistant Librarian (Cataloguing) post at Caius. Part of Elisabeth's job goes with her: she remains on the Bibliographic Control Task Group despite the move.
As mentioned earlier, Hilary Pattison has moved from Selwyn to become Lee Librarian at Wolfson College.
Last time, we signalled Dr Gillian Rogers' departure from the English Faculty Library, and, mortifyingly, got the name of the job wrong. For the record, Gillian was in charge of the English Library only, not the English & Philosophy Libraries. Apologies to her, and to Mariella Pellegrino, for that slip.
Gillian's place has now been taken by Sandra Cromey, who leaves New College, Oxford, after 10 years. Sandra says Mariella has given her a brilliant induction to the library; her main plan at the moment is to learn Cambridge by taking a different route home each night.
There have been a number of changes at the UL in recent months:
Ian A. Gadd was appointed Munby Fellow on 1st October.
John Wells has been appointed to Dr Mark Nicholls' post in MSS; John has been a familiar face in UL for several years as the Jardine Matheson Archivist. Jacky Cox, previously Archivist at King's College, was appointed as Deputy Keeper of the University Archives on 1 January to replace Dr Elizabeth Leedham Green.
Mirka Davis left the Cataloguing Department at the end of October, to take up the post of Romance Languages specialist at MML.
Anne Marie Robinson from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and previously at Kings' Inns, Dublin, has taken up a new ALO post in Rare Books.
Another import from Dublin, Anne Murray succeeded Roy Welbourn as Deputy Librarian on 1st February. Anne began her career at Fás, the Irish Training and Employment Authority, before becoming a business information specialist in the London office of Coopers and Lybrand and moving in 1992 to Dublin City University as Acquisitions and Serials Librarian. She became Sub-Librarian (Planning) at DCU and was responsible for the award-winning Library and Information Resource Centre, before moving on to become Sub-Librarian (Collection Management) at Trinity College Dublin.
Christian Staufenbiel, originally from Dresden, has been appointed to a new ALO post in Cataloguing as Germanic Languages specialist, while Isabel Holowaty has also been appointed ALO in the Reading Room. Isabel, also from Germany, was born in South Africa, and worked with a law firm before coming to the UL some years ago.
Dr Kester Aspden was appointed to the Official Publications BOPCRIS Project (RSLP) on 10 January.
We were sad to learn of the death in hospital of Norah Bartlett, Librarian at Homerton College, 1957-84, on 30 December. A memorial service was held in St Edward's Church on 11th February. Norah was a member of the Committee of the Friends of the UL and also a staunch member of the Cambridge Library Group and the Bibliographical Society.
Finally, a retirement. Dr Lionel Carter has retired from the South Asian Studies Library, after many years' service. More on this next time.
Back to Contents
Martin Joy, who was working on the Haddon Library's reclassification project, died over the weekend 4-5 December 1999. He was 50.
Martin's school was Wimbledon College, and he read Classics and Archaeology at Trinity College, Cambridge. His library education was at Manchester Polytechnic.
His first library job was as a temporary assistant with the British Coal Utilisation Research Association in Leatherhead. Between Cambridge and Manchester he worked for the library of the Central Electricity Generating Board; he returned there, with his Manchester qualification, and stayed for fourteen years. When the CEGB was privatised in 1990, he moved to become Data Management Librarian of Nuclear Electric plc.
As a boy, Martin had a passion for numbers and statistics, and kept meticulous files on the chart fortunes of pop groups. His adult colleagues remember a somewhat shy man, with a dry sense of humour and an interest in cricket, in the theatre, and in Flanders and Swann. At Trinity he cycled everywhere, but after a bout of illness he found himself putting on weight, and then, he said, he kept on putting on weight.
In the summer of 1999, Martin came back to the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge. He joined the staff of the Haddon Library, working on our project of reclassification by Bliss. He mastered this unfamiliar classification in weeks, and the project raced ahead better than we had dared to hope. We began to think that completion might be in reach, and that Martin could then transfer his attentions to another project, the cataloguing of our nineteenth-century pamphlets. But one Monday he didn't come into work, and I rang his lodgings, and his landlord investigated, and Martin was dead in his room. His heart had failed.
He is survived by his mother, to whom we extend our deepest sympathies.
Back to Contents
WHAT LIBRARIANS DO IN THEIR SPARE TIME
I was not sure whether to be flattered or insulted when I was asked by Sheila Cameron to write an article in the series `What do Librarians do in their spare time?' I have never really considered myself a librarian although I do use that word on some forms which enquire after my occupation. I am really a computer programmer and indeed I do spend some of my spare time writing programs for computers as well as most of the hours I spend in the University Library.
I replied to Sheila with a list of some of things I do outside work and commenting that I didn't think they were particularly interesting to other people. I think that they are interesting things to do but not especially fascinating subjects of conversation at parties. Sheila replied that she would like me to write this article anyway, so here goes - exactly a 1000 words on my spare time.
I am slightly eccentric and suffer from `Victorian Collection Mania' so I like collecting things: Lego, Scalextric, Hornby Dublo, stamps, lists, statistics, photographs, car numbers. You name it I will collect it given half a chance. Bit of an anorak. I think I would have been a train spotter in my childhood given the chance. I did collect London Underground train numbers on my way to school. By this time you are probably thinking this is really boring so time for a change.
I also swim with much enthusiasm, having returned to Parkside after a long lay off. I swim at lunchtime, after work and sometimes on Sunday morning. I am currently in training for the BT Swimathon and by the time you read this you will hopefully have sponsored me, I will have swum 5000 metres and collected your money. I have always swum breaststroke but I have recently converted myself into a very inefficient front crawler. It is supposed to be better for my back. Swimming is pretty boring too I guess, there isn't much you can say about swimming up and down a pool for hours on end. Perhaps my next hobby will interest you.
I watch football. I support the other team in Cambridge. I have been a regular visitor to Milton Road to watch Cambridge City for over ten years in the company of one or two of my sons. I have followed them to Hitchin, Kettering, Slough and Wigan in the FA Cup and watched our biggest game at home a few seasons ago in the FA Cup against Hereford. I have been sad, elated, angry, frustrated watching the Lilywhites. In my opinion TV football is passive and passionless, there is nothing like the real thing - even non-league football with a crowd of 250. But you are saying to yourself that this is boring too, watching grown men kick a ball about surely, I must do something interesting.
Well my main hobby has taken me to many strange places and activities:
It has taken me to the top of Pen-y-Gent in Yorkshire.
It has taken me on a raft that I helped make.
It has had me at the wheel of 17 seat minibus.
It has take me in cable car at the Heights of Abraham in Matlock.
It has had me sleeping in a tent.
It has had me cooking sausages over a camp fire.
It sees me shouting at a football team in the snow, wind and rain.
It has me standing in the middle of a circle being shouted at.
It has me running a chess tournament in Chesterton.
I am Akela - a Cub Scout Leader and manager of a very unsuccessful Cubs football team. I enjoy it a lot.
I have been a Cub Leader since Easter 1996. I started because the two leaders of my son David's Cub Pack were both leaving. The pack grew rapidly and I also formed a football team. I spend Monday evenings running our weekly meeting, Wednesday evening running a football practice outside or in the gym at Chesterton School. Most Saturdays find me on the playing field watching my Cubs play football. We have lost all our matches this season, the three matches against one of teams we play have gone 0-24, 0-19 and 0-5 (improving!). But, for various reasons, I have a team of 8 year olds who will hopefully play together for three seasons while the other teams in the league are losing their 10 year olds to Scouts. I have organised a variety of camps, pack holidays and day trips. I run the pack with the help of Cambridge University students.
The UL was the location of one of the Cubs' activities. All over the country the Cub Packs were challenged to climb the height of the Eiger. In Cambridge one pack climbed Castle Hill, one Great St Marys. My pack (covered by Scout insurance with the special permission of the Librarian) climbed the UL tower. 89 times in total (about five times each for 18 Cubs).
So at least one thing I do is not boring, there is no time to be bored when surrounded by 20 enthusiastic, noisy and energetic Cubs. I recommend it as a `now for something completely different'occupation, an ideal contrast after a day of librarianship or computer screen watching.
That is my spare time. There is not much more of it left after the above apart from the trials and tribulations of a family that contains four children aged between 12 and 19.
Back to Contents
CULIB ON THE WEB
The editors would like to express their thanks to the University Library's Automation Department, and especially to Webmaster Jeremy Henty, for making our appearance on the WWW possible. We are aware that not all of CULIB's readership necessarily have easy access to the web, and that web publications may not always be as widely read as their printed equivalent, copies of which are often passed around amongst a number of library staff. For this issue, the same number of paper copies as usual has been produced and distributed. From Michaelmas 2000, we will be operating on a reduced print run of one hard copy per subscribing library, with parallel electronic publication. We do not wish to restrict the readership of CULIB, far from it. Electronic publication will allow a wider readership to access articles, and will enable us to incorporate graphics and dynamic links where appropriate, which are simply not possible in hardcopy. However, any individual who wishes to continue receiving a printed copy of each issue will be able to do so, and should contact Sheila Cameron at the UL to ensure that the appropriate print run is produced and that she has all necessary contact details for distribution.
CULIB is edited by Aidan Baker (Haddon Library), Kathryn McKee (St John's College) and Sheila Cameron (Cambridge University Library). The editorial committee welcomes all comments on articles and suggestions for future issues.
Back to Contents