Thursday, 17 October 2013

Meriel's umpteenth attempt at blogging

So I have bitten the bullet and finally decided to start blogging for the umpteenth time - but this time, for professional reasons.

I must say, since I started looking into library and information services as a career, I have been absolutely astounded by just how big an online community there is for librarians. I humanly can't keep up with all the different platforms, topics, discussions, forums, e-conferences and other sorts of online presences that librarians in the UK and further afield use. If I did, I would be glued to my laptop screen for a good 23 hours a day, which is not conducive to keeping up a full time job!

But since I have now been working at Newnham College for almost two months (!) I've decided that, since my position as graduate trainee is only a year long post, I might as well keep a log of it for my benefit, if not for anyone else's.

Already I have learnt so much in six or seven weeks. I had a lovely student come to the enquiry desk the other day and she said "I've never really been sure what librarians do when they're not talking to students or shelving books..." and I honestly had to hold myself back from listing all the tasks I've done so far! Despite working in my university library, my job now is so much more varied and I am so excited about all the things I will get to experience this year as part of the trainee programme put together by the Cambridge trainee employers.

One of the other reasons I wanted to start this blog was as a way of challenging the very stereotype that so many people - students or otherwise - hold of anyone in the knowledge professions. As a 21 year old who has quite a wide range of interests, is straight out of uni, doesn't hate people and who doesn't knit or own a cat, I know a lot of people think that I am not the 'typical' librarian, and think that I am choosing a career which isn't interesting, or exciting, or challenging.  But I am so eager to show people that there is so much more to the knowledge and information profession than all the stereotypical connotations that the word 'librarian' conjures up in peoples' minds. As much as I obviously love working with books (I would quite like to specialise in rare books for my masters) I also love helping people improve their research skills, broaden their reading or think outside the box. As far as I'm concerned, that is the polar opposite of peering over my glasses and telling them to SHHHHHHHHH. Librarianship and other information professions should be user focused and user led, and it's incredibly disappointing that people can be so narrow minded and judgemental, when our only aim is to provide a good service and help people . More to follow on that particular train of thought.

I am hoping to put up a post later in the week about the experiences I've had of Newnham College Library so far, and also posting a brief(ish) overview of the ideas I've got for some posts.

If you are a librarian or information professional yourself, please feel free to comment and suggest ideas or useful blogs that I can draw inspiration from, they would be hugely appreciated. Or, just introduce yourself or become my first follower!

Meriel x


  1. Library workers do have a reputation (perhaps unjust) for enjoying cake and you may be asked to provide a tray bake at a teach met or "unconference"

  2. You may like this list of what (pub;ic) librarians do :