A Day in the Life (Joanne Hilliar, St John’s College Library)

9am: Arrive and settle in
This involves checking and responding to emails, both from readers and external researchers, and confirming what’s in the diary for the day. We have a team of graduate invigilators who cover the early morning, evening and weekend shifts in the library, so if they’ve noted any issues or enquiries we’ll follow these up.

9.30am: Shelving
I am responsible for shelving the Arts and Humanities books in the upstairs Laudian Library. While I’m doing this I also ensure that the reading room is tidy for today’s readers.

10.15am: Book Processing
Part of my role is to process new books and journals acquired by the library. For books, this involves giving each item a barcode and shelfmark, before labelling, stamping and covering it. We have our own in-house classification system, and it’s interesting working out where each book should be placed in order to ensure easy accessibility for readers.

11am: Coffee Break

11.15am: Other Projects
I supervise a manuscript reader in the Old Library and use the time to catch up on other general tasks, such as updating the Library Facebook page and creating posters and captions for our new books display, which we change on a termly basis.

12pm: Issue Desk
I cover the issue desk while other members of staff are at lunch, issuing and returning books and dealing with reader enquiries.

1pm: Lunch
I get a free lunch every day, which is a definite advantage of working in one of the Colleges!

2pm: Cataloguing of Spike Milligan Papers
The College has a collection of papers originally belonging to Spike Milligan, which includes original manuscripts and drawings for many of his literary works. I’m cataloguing these to archival standards (this process is somewhat different to library cataloguing so has taken a bit of getting used to!) by describing each individual item in detail and uploading this information to the Archives Hub website. I also add tags and access points (using mainly Library of Congress subject headings) to aid any readers who might be interested in consulting this material.

3.30pm: Law Library
The Law Library is a separate 24 hour study space on the other side of the college, so once a day I head over there to shelve new acquisitions of books and journals and have a general tidy up.

4pm: Tea Break

4.15pm: Exhibition Preparation
For my trainee project I’m working on an exhibition, using the Library’s Special Collections to explore war throughout history. We put on two exhibitions a year in order to give College members a chance to view some of the rare books and manuscripts they wouldn’t generally have access to. My main tasks are to research the items I plan to display and write captions for them, and to design a poster and a handlist to accompany the exhibition. (Note: I wrote this post a while back but forgot to upload it until today, so the exhibition is now up and running!)

5pm: Home

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