Saturday, 4 February 2012

Library Day in the Life #8, part 1

This is my first contribution to the Library Day in the Life project so here goes... My main job is managing the journals collections in the Library at Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd - National Museum Cardiff. This entails managing subscriptions; checking in issues, distributing them to the relevant departments [Archaeology, Art, Botany, Zoology, Geology]; accessioning annuals; display, circulation, shelving and claiming missing issues. I also accession all books [assigning them with a 6 figure identification number] and maintain an accessions register which comprises of print outs of all numbers used along with corresponding book details, deal with enquires, manage an online journals list, sort all post and generally run about the place. Now, whereas my work can hardly be described as full on it is none the less relentless – there is always that list of jobs that I am forever trying to get to and sometimes during one of those rare quiet times that occur in amongst the mayhem [the silence in the eye of the storm if you like] I am able to feverishly pluck a random entry and fly through it and oh the joy of striking a line through that task that has been squatting like a black toad on the list for ever such a long time J

The Main Library [my desk is on the right]

One other thing you should know about my job is the geographical layout of our Library. I work in [what we call] the Main Library  that houses general reference material; conservation and museology books and journals; Welsh society transactions; rare topographical books and special bindings. However the Museum's departmental libraries [which we also manage] are dotted around the building so we are invariably dashing about between them [which is a rather nice aspect to this job]. And because of these multiple locations, we operate on a trust system whereby staff can go into any library and take whatever they need but they must always leave a loan card so we can tell at a glance where the item is. The obvious draw back to this system is that not all staff complete loan cards and I can’t tell you the hours of fun we have when that happens.

Okay, to business and here’s my week…

Spent the morning working through a large pile of post, there’s always loads on a Monday and sometimes it can take all day to sort through. I open everything and then separate it all out, enter journals and art sales onto our LMS [we use ADLIB] and then stamp and circulate them to the departments. At this point, if we have missed an issue I will chase it up with the supplier. I then process any renewal forms and correspondence and pass them to the Librarian or any other library staff they might concern [there are 5 of us]. This morning however, the pile wasn’t too big and everything was done by lunch time. Monday is an odd day as the Museum isn’t open to the public and apart from an eerie quiet around the building I also can’t meet up with colleagues for a mid morning coffee in the main hall restaurant downstairs L

Morning coffee in the Main Hall

I started off this afternoon by working through my emails and like everyone else I get so many these days! Working in a big organisation you get bombarded with messages about everything that’s going on and hardly any of it concerns you. So after deleting A LOT – I got down to the business of answering a few enquiries. My pace has been a little slow this afternoon as I went out for lunch with two colleagues and I had lasagne and chips and then had the dreaded carb lethargy L

In nice and early this morning! I do like a Tuesday because [after Monday’s assault] there’s hardly any post and from 10 o’clock onwards I hear the lovely quiet hum of visitors in the Mail Hall below. I got to work early on accessioning a small pile of books left over from Friday, processed four renewal invoices and sorted trhough my emails. Went for coffee at 10.30 and the post was waiting for me when I got back at 11 - just managed to get through it before I left at 1 o’clock [half day today].

Managed to get in fairly early again [8.15] and got to work immediately on the new pile of books ready for accessioning. The Assistant Librarian does all cataloguing and then leaves the items for me to accession and she’d been working on this pile most of Monday and Tuesday. Sometimes it’s very tempting to down tools for a bit and browse the more interesting books such as this one […but not this one!] however, time is short so I nobly plough on.

Have also noticed two alarmingly large boxes filled with back issues of an old geology journal [someone’s been accepting gifts again!]; therefore at some point I will need to decant, check contents, create a record on the LMS, stamp/emboss and then find a home for them in our increasingly cramped Geology library. Post all done between break and lunch and this morning’s journal offerings included Museums Journal, Art History and Country Life [anti browsing will power stretched to the max with Country Life!]. This afternoon was spent processing renewals invoices; December and January is a busy time for these so there are quite a few. We also had an offer of some Scott memorabilia which I passed on the relevant curator; timely indeed since we are currently hosting our very own Scott exhibition Captain Scott: South for Science.

1 comment:

  1. I had fun choosing this particular painting online that now hangs in my downtown office, from, who sells canvas prints of art masterpieces. While the original is treasured in some art museum in England, my print, of this painting by Edward Burne-Jones is very much appreciated by my staff and clients. The print quality is really excellent.