I’m the Graduate Trainee at Corpus Library and since it is term-time I am working 10 – 6. In Vacation I work 9-5. I had also meant to document a full week for the Library Day in the Life project, but this really is a pretty standard day for me, it was yesterday Thursday 27th January. I spent this morning’s tea break checking spellings and making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything!
9.00am After forty-five minutes worth of pottering around after my other half has left the house, I eventually leave too, and walk the 5 minutes down the hill to Didcot station. No tomfoolery on the railways this morning so I should be in Oxford nice and promptly. Sometimes starting at 10 is no bad thing.
9.45am It’s freezing today (is that sleet?!) and I’ve basically been blown to work. Arrive at Corpus, check the Lodge for any post that might have arrived since 9am. There’s none.
9.50am Wait for my PC (and fingers!) to warm up catch up with the Librarian who is at her desk in the office.
10am I start work! First I shelve the books that have been cleared from the library that morning by the Assistant Librarian and the Librarian. Clearing is done every morning at 9am and entails emptying the bookbin (for after hours returns) and clearing desks of books that have not been left under a “please leave” slip. These are designed for students to use up to 10 books in the library without checking them out and are valid for three days. They can update the date on the slip as many times as they like, but if it falls out of date then we clear.
10.30am Today there was not much to do, thankfully! One day last week I was shelving until 11.40 *whimper* I shelve in the rolling stacks on the ground floor of the library. These house books ranging from 000 – 699. I hate heavy Chemistry text books! I also shelve on the first floor in the English room, which involves less bulk but more high shelves and ladder climbing. Dickens enjoys probably the best view in the whole library. I return to the library office and check my emails. I then display some flyers for WISER courses in the Catalogue room.
10.45am I relieve the Assistant Librarian of the issue desk so she can have her coffee break. It’s quiet in the library this morning. A college lecturer comes in to look for a book that is seemingly available on OLIS but is not on the shelves where it should be. I take a note of the book, its shelfmark and her name and tell her we will contact her when it re-surfaces. I let the Assistant Librarian know and she shows me a spreadsheet to fill in with any books that might be missing. We’re confident that somebody is probably just using it elsewhere in the library.
11.05am I return to the office and put the kettle on for my tea break. I discuss some upcoming training with the Librarian. It is training that the other Oxford Library trainees all undertook in two solid days at the start of the year, but because I started later I have it spread over three mornings in Week 3. It’ll be alright.
11.25am After tea, I pop over to the college office to pick up some paper for our photocopier and printer from the College Secretary. Upon returning to the library office I can hear that organ practice has begun. Corpus library is next to the college chapel and when you are working at the issue desk you can look through the window right down onto the organ. In the office all you can really hear is a reassuring hum from the pipes. I resume email checking, but there is nothing new and I start planning a re-jig of the catalogue room notice board. I will need to make up some new posters and update some existing ones but I can’t get to the board at the moment as it is above the public computers and they are all occupied. It will have to wait until tomorrow morning. I process a couple of journals instead and take them downstairs to shelve.
11.50am I am reminded that there is a growing pile of books to cover in protective wrapping, so I make a start. These books are normally gifts or donations, as most of our new books are delivered covered and triggered already. It’s interesting seeing the books that people (mainly Fellows and Old Members) donate to the library for use. One of the previous Trainees here donated a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I was heartened when I found it as it appears to be the most loved book in the library! Apparently it was on a display for browsing while waiting for a spare computer or the photocopier and proved really popular with those waiting!
1.00pm I finish covering the books just in time for lunch, hurrah! After I’ve eaten, I return to the office, which is nice and cosy because the door is closed now, and carry on reading Brighton Rock. I’d like to finish it before seeing the new film but we’ll see!
2.00pm I spend afternoons on the issue desk. This means I am able to answer enquiries, fix the photocopier (grr) and fetch books as well as getting on with any other work on my to do list.
2.10pm Contact maintenance about a flashing strip light in one of the Old Library bays.
2.15pm Currently I am working on updating an existing document that lists all the journals Corpus has in its holdings. This is for easy reference for library users and lives downstairs. We are really trying to encourage people to use the excellent online facilities, SOLO and OxLIP+ , where they can access Oxford University’s broad collection of material. We have cancelled several subscriptions this year as well so I need to make up shelf notices to alert readers to this and let them know that they can find them all online. I need to cross check each journal on this list with the record on OLIS to make sure I have noted to exactly which volume we stock for each one. For ongoing subscriptions this is easy, I put v.1 [for example] – current.
3.00pm I process some books out on the issue desk ready to take back to the Librarian to check and put out in the New Books Display.
3.45pm Afternoon tea break. This time all three of us have tea together in the office. It’s been quiet and thanks to our CCTV we can see if anyone comes looking for us at the desk or sets off the security alarm.
4.10pm I continue to work on the journals list document, while keeping an eye on my emails for enquiries from any readers. I also complete the pricing of an English reading list for the Assistant Librarian. She emails me to tell me there are one more each for Politics and Economics to check over the term as well.
5.15pm The Assistant Librarian and Librarian go home.
5.45pm I start to jot down some notes of what I’ve been up to today. I will type it all up tonight and post it tomorrow morning.
6.00pm I shut up the issue desk and open the bookbin. Turn off the printer and heater in the office, lock up, wrap up warm and head out into the night. Not forgetting to take the cash box over to the Lodge on my way out for the evening invigilators first.