Saturday, 4 February 2012

Library Day in the Life - Day 5

This blog post is part of Library Day in the Life

Friday was so packed I've only just got round to writing this post the day after.

Arrived at work at 8.30am and checked my emails and Google Reader. I was then straight out on the Enquiry Desk at 8.45 till 10am. In this session I put out our enquiry statistics forms, helped a few people with problems accessing the computers, then tracked down an item that a teacher wants us to buy for her class. The problem with the latter is that it is for a Higher Education group so they also have access to their University resources as well as the college ones. When  purchasing any items not only do we have to consider the amount of students, how long it will be used for and how much it costs but also whether the University has copies and how often those ones are borrowed. It can be a tricky decision and one I imagine will get tougher as higher education students expectations change in line with the fee increases.

Between 10am and 4pm I was in a Matrix meeting.  Our college is going through the reaccreditation process in April so we have to get ready for it. Matrix is a national standard developed by the former DfES and receiving it proves that the institution provides effective information, advice and guidance to those who need it and can provide proof of its impact on those who received it. We started by looking at the learner's  journey through college, including just before they started and just after they have left to establish when they needed information, advide and guidance, in what form and who should be responsible for delivering it. I was very surprised to find out that not all colleges have an information, advice and guidance team but was not surprised when told that these colleges had a real problem with retention. Now that Connexions (a young adult support and advice service) is no longer in action it seems that young people rarely get unbiased and personally tailored advice and I think this is a real shame and a bit of a worry too.

Next we were all required to take flip cameras and film areas in the college where good and bad impressions or infomation was being given. There were several bad, including out of date signage and leaflet racks entitled information but with nothing in them. When we adjourned to our meeting room to share our findings I was surprised to see pictures of the HE Centre. However, they were being used as examples of good practice so I was quite pleased by that!

Our next tasks are to really think about how we measure every aspect of what we do, for example, higher than usual usage on its own doesn't show that those extra people were well served so it has to be broken down further. We also need to think about what we do and how we know it works as well as how we then promote it. In the Learning Resource Centre we're pretty good about all this stuff but it would be a useful exercise to get it all written down.  These are the bits I really enjoy about my job - the service development and really feeling that what everybody does makes a difference to a student's experience.

After it was over I was back in the Higher Educuation Centre for an hour where I did a little bit of preparation via email for the Beauty Awards being held in the HE Centre next Monday night. Events are quite often held in the Higher Education Centre as it is a lovely venue , however, it means I have to prepare the rooms, ensure there are no double bookings and keep everybody happy who want the rooms but can't always have them - the latter two items can be incredibly tricky! Just before I packed up the centre for the day I had a quick chat with the person responsible for organising the Student Voice. He is currently preparing for the National Student Survey so I offered to put promotional material around the centre and encourage student to use our computers to fill it in.

This week is as representative as it can be. Enquiries can often be the same thing over and over again or can be something completely off the wall. If I had completed this project any week between September and December it would have been full of inductions, information literacy workshops and Moodle training.

So that's it - a week in the life of a librarian in a college of further and higher education. I will most likely do one more post to sum up what doing this has meant for me and then start trawling my way through everybody elses. I wonder how many base their career of choice on what they have read in this project...

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