This is part of a series of posts offering a behind-the-scenes look at library work. A day in the life of the library team!
Name: Zaheda Dadabhai
Job Title: Learning Resources Assistant (10 years +)
What a week, so far! It’s the third day into the week, but feels as if I’ve already done five (say no more!). Although some people think all we do is check books in and out, think again – without us the Library wouldn’t stand – there’s more to it than meets the eye…
Our main job is the helpdesk, making sure we do our duties on the counter and provide a good service when issuing resources and helping with enquiries.
I manage the overdue system in the library. Each morning I run the overdues on the computer system and print out the overdue letters. I check the shelves making sure the missing books haven’t somehow slipped back onto the shelves, then send the letters out to the students. After a few weeks I revisit them by checking the overdues again, and at this stage if they still haven’t been returned I send an invoice. This is when I post out a sterner letter asking for the books to be returned or for the cost of the books instead.
I also update posters and arrange the library display boards (there’s almost 20 of them!) to make sure new e-books are being publicised. I often organise evenings out for the library staff (team bonding is important!) and like to arrange charity coffee mornings to help raise money for good causes.
Working here can be fun at times, you never know what might crop up. Today I had a student who came to borrow a DVD but she needed to talk to someone informally (I felt like a counsellor). We chatted and she told me about losing her husband. Whenever something like this happens we always take the time to talk to tutors and students on a one-to-one basis.
While I was on the helpdesk this afternoon a member of staff came into the library to enquire about a book; I looked it up on the computer system to see if it was available and then – with a serious face – he asked if I could also find a book for this week’s winning Euro Lottery numbers. Like a fool I started to research it on the computer system before realising he was joking! I like to be friendly and pleasant with everyone, although one of my colleagues say I’m a ‘man magnet’ (I think she’s just jealous 🙂 ).
Once a week I get to escape to Atherstone campus library and work an afternoon there. Atherstone library is a small branch library and we have books for courses that are run there. It’s a smaller library than Nuneaton and Hinckley so you have more individual contact with the staff and students. It’s very quiet there so I also get chance to catch up on paperwork. I am also doing an NVQ in Business & Admin Level 3, and Atherstone is a good place to have my one-to-one with Jo Winfield O’Hare, my NVQ tutor.
So you see, the Library is not just for books. You can come in to borrow equipment such as iPads, use the computers, we can give you a hand scanning items from a book, help with printing or you could even just come to see us for a chat.
The fourth post in this series will be published next week, and will be written by part-time Learning Resources Assistant Fran Heap.