Welcome collection visit

24th February
Wellcome library

I think the question on everyone's lips (and which, thankfully, Sheena was brave enough to ask!) was 'is money any object?'.
The answer was a coy, 'well, not really'. And frankly, it shows.

A bit of background to the Wellcome. The Wellcome Trust was founded in the early 20th century by Henry Wellcome, a self-made head of a massive pharmaceutical company. Wellcome used the wealth amassed by his business to fund research into his interests: medicine, history of medicine and sociological issues relating to the body and health world over, throughout history. Subsequently, the Wellcome collection has been formed: a mixture of galleries, libraries, collections and basically a public educational focus for the trust.

The library itself is basically open to the public as a reference library. New users have to be over 16, have an interest in the subject and provide proof of address. The online catalogues are open to all although there is restricted access to certain materials. For example, the images library has in its collection some sensitive medical images. On request a member of the medical profession may gain access to this but a general browser would not.

The library collections include books, manuscripts, archives, films and pictures. It's housed in a gorgeous1920s building on the Euston road and has had a recent refurbishment: we had a talk in a lecture room next to the glass walled special collections room (about 5 librarians to 1 user! Rows of desks laid out with book cushions) and padded (plush carpet) though some of the book collections to the main library rooms. Users can access free wifi and, despite our guide's protestation that they have a space problem, each shelf has a generous gap for future knowledge and the Wellcome's main closed access storage space is under the main building (really, who can afford central London storage space!).

Having said this, the library is not without its problems: even though Wellcome are solvent enough to catalogue any back catalogue- something which a lot of academic libraries would struggle to finds the funds to do- the cataloguing system itself is at best quirky. Apparently, they use at least 3 different in house cataloguing systems for different collections and within the main medical history collection, the layout of the books is somewhat counter intuitive.

Also, somewhat surprisingly for a medical library, there are access issues for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility because of the way the lifts essentially bypass some of the security doors. These users can only gain access to some of the collection if accompanied by a member of staff. Also on a practical level, there are many tall ladders and books on tall shelves which could potentially be a health and safety issue.

However, all in all, this was on in my top 3 library visits. Of course, this was also helped by the Peyton and Byrne cafe downstairs and some divine cakes....High recommended.

Micol's profile

Hi, my name is Micol and I am the trainee at the Institute of Historical Research (www.history.ac.uk).
The Institute was founded in 1921 by A.F. Pollard and used to be where Birkbeck College is now. The IHR’s aim is to promote the study of history and provide a meeting place for researchers. In order to achieve this, numerous seminars and conferences are organised every day, as well as MA courses. The Institute also houses three research centres: the Centre for Metropolitan History (CMH), the Centre for Contemporary British History (CCBH) and the Victoria County History (VCH). More crucially it also has an amazing library!
The collection is mainly focused on printed historical primary sources for the medieval and modern history of European countries and their former colonies. Therefore, we would collect things like diplomatic papers, ecclesiastical records, charters, correspondences and diaries. Apparently it is the best/biggest open access library of this kind in the UK, holding around 177.000 items and over 300 periodicals (needless to say that I’ve copied this from the website). The collection also has substantial holdings of reference works, such as guides to archives, bibliographies, historical dictionaries, atlases and biographical sources. In short, anything that could help a researcher with his work.
Only postgraduates can have access to the library, as well as members of the public who wish to join the Institute. However, the latter are not particularly numerous so most of our readers are MA/Phd students and researchers. The library is for reference only therefore, we cannot issue books and hold only one copy of each item.
As a graduate trainee I am mainly involved in acquisitions, dealing with sellers, processing invoices, check the books in when they arrive, classify them and on some occasions, catalogue them. Luckily a cataloguer checks my bibliographic records so we don’t end up with bizarre entries! I also have to answer enquiries from the readers, which I find particularly interesting and challenging.
I really enjoy working here as it’s a very varied kind of job and I am constantly learning new things. Moreover, I have studied history at uni so reading book reviews of newly published works in this field and finding out what historians are working on is great. I also love the training programme and the visits to very different types of libraries, which are giving me an idea of where I would like to work later on.
Next year I should hopefully start the MA at UCL. I am really looking forward to that.

Victoria's Profile

Hiya, I'm Victoria and I'm a trainee at the Courtauld Institute library.

A bit about the Courtauld library: The Courtauld Institute of Art is a centre for the study of art history and conservation. Hence the majority of library users are Courtauld BA and MA art history students and Courtauld research and teaching staff.

The Library’s collection reflects this, covering the history of western art and comprises books, exhibition catalogues, permanent collection catalogues, sales catalogues, theses, rare books and pamphlets and some online and digital material.

The Institute is based at Somerset House (a pretty swell location) and the library itself is underground, in the old brick vaults which apparently used to be grain storage and cellars. This has the advantage of having no mobile phone reception but also a worrying tendency to flooding and leaks!

Most of the collection is catalogued on the online catalogue however there are still a large number of items only recorded on the old card catalogue. There are no plans for retrospective cataloguing, rather such catalogue such things are catalogued on an as-and-when basis, if a user wishes to borrow them.Most of the collection is borrowable and on the open shelves but some of the older and more precious material is stashed away and staff retrieve material several times a day.

My own background is in art and I’m a total bookworm so I love working here. On a day to day basis I do a bit of everything: issue desk, cataloguing, accessioning, serials and helping sort through some of the special collections.I’m currently torn between applying for library school or returning to art college!

Beyond Google

Months ago in the CILIP gazette I saw a small article by Martin De Saulles at the University of Brighton who has developed a programme called "Beyond Google: Developing Training Skills for Library and Information Professionals". The programme has been funded by the Higher Education Academy Development Fund. He offered to send a copy to the first 20 people who emailed him. I did and he has now asked me for comments. I told him about our training programme and he offered to send more copies if the recipients would give him comments.

Would anyone like a copy with a view to keeping it and in return emailing him some comments. He would like to use them to get funding to develop his programme further

Deborah's Profile

My name is Deborah Butcher, and I’m the graduate trainee at Birkbeck college library (www.bbk.ac.uk/lib). Birkbeck is a world-class research and teaching institution and the student population is very diverse: a wide variety of programmes is offered, ranging from full and part-time traditional undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to a range of short, certificate-based courses. The college is London’s only specialist provider of evening higher education, and our library’s extended opening hours, and its emphasis on providing and extending its broad range of e-resources, reflect the needs of part-time and distance learners.

The college encourages applications from those without traditional academic qualifications. Every year around 19,000 students study at Birkbeck. A large proportion of our students are mature students, sometimes returning to education for the first time in years – often a daunting prospect but eased by the library’s provision of a wide selection of study skills materials and the provision of inductions and specialist training sessions offered by our subject librarians in course-specific information resources as well as generic sessions offering support in accessing electronic journals, databases and research skills. We also have a strong Access Support section, which provides IT and practical resources and assistance to students with disabilities. The library therefore provides academic support across a variety of arts, humanities, science, vocational subjects and short courses. Birkbeck also welcomes membership applications from a range of affiliate users via the M25, alumni and SCONUL access schemes.

As a trainee at Birkbeck, and part of a large team of staff, I have been fortunate enough to be able to sample the work of each department, spending at least a month with each individual team. However, the bulk of my time is spent within the Resource Management team where I have been responsible for accessioning items, cataloguing theses and reclassifying items. I have also worked extensively with the e-journals assistant, and learned much about managing online subscriptions and troubleshooting access queries. At the beginning of term, I had the opportunity to work on updating the library’s webpage, which I really enjoyed.

On a daily basis, I work on the busy issue desk, dealing with membership and circulations enquiries, and I very much enjoy the interaction with the readers that this provides. I have also given library tours and brief training sessions in the use of the library Opac to groups of students at the beginning of term, which gave me the opportunity to chat with new students and to discover more about their research needs and expectations of an academic library. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to promote the library’s services at the open evening, and to meet and encourage prospective students. I look forward to spending time with the Systems, Reader Services and Subject Librarian teams, and learning more about their roles, over the next few months.

Before my graduate traineeship, I had already spent a year working at City university’s Reader Services’ department. I had also worked for 2 years in public libraries, mainly in the children’s section organising outreach events and homework clubs, liaising with local schools, creating displays. I liked this work because it gave me the opportunity to get to know the individual children and to work as part of a small team, which of course gave me the opportunity to get involved in many different activities.

One of the great things about working at Bloomsbury is the large choice of local parks, where I often go for lunch (weather permitting). Being 2 minutes walk away from the British Library is an added bonus, and it’s always enjoyable to visit new exhibitions after work.

Next year I plan to study the MSc Library and Information Studies at City University. Either that or I might up sticks and quit London altogether (very tempting, and probably the more affordable option)! After gaining my masters, I would like to broaden my experience of different information sectors, and to work perhaps in prison media or health libraries.

Visit to Imperial College Library

On 27th January, we visited the recently refurbished Central Library at Imperial College. We were treated to a comprehensive tour of the library by the Team Leader of Public Services, Angus Brown. I for one gained a valuable insight into some of the challenges such a major project inevitably involves, and a hint of what the academic library of the future might well resemble.

The use of space for level 1 of the library has been totally reassigned over the course of a two year refurbishment costing around £11 million. The library now has a very innovative and contemporary feel, created in part by the modern art donated by artist Bob Brighton, the waffle-like concrete ceiling and the vibrant orange and walnut colour scheme. The environment is bright, enlivening and stimulates interaction. Interestingly, library staff have not felt the need for signage to dictate the way that space is used or defining general codes of conduct – the clever architectural design means that the layout itself guides student behaviour.

The fact that much of the furniture is impermanent means that the library has the flexibility to move and redefine spaces to meet the ever-evolving needs of its users: the sliding mesh screens and the round tables (each linked with their own flat screen PC) that are so conducive to group discussion are all easily dismantled and moved, and the thin walls and glass screens separating the short loan collection are easy to relocate, should the section need to shrink or expand.

The whole of level 1 has a spacious, light feel and also contains several semi-open study capsules (each with their own flat-screen PC) encouraging group discussion and the free exchange of ideas. However, students favouring quiet study can still find plenty of space on the upper levels, where the traditional layout of rows of book shelves, and individual study, spaces can be found.

Downstairs the emphasis is now very much on flexible study, with large sections devoted to group study. The reliance of students on the Internet and various software packages is reflected in the large amount of space devoted to PCs. Wi fi connectivity is available throughout to enable the use of laptops, and around 90 new computers have been installed. There is also a plush 30 seat training room available to support the library’s provision of research and study skills’ training. Seating has also increased generally from 666 to 1090 – Angus identified the increase in seating as one of the most basic yet core aims of the project.

Feedback from student surveys, (assessing student needs and preferences), and the visiting of other libraries that had recently undergone refurbishments informed the new design. Perhaps the most exciting part of the library, for the students as well as for us, was the library café, situated adjacent to the entrance. Open til 11pm most weeknights, the café is in many ways the hub of student activity and offers an array of hot and cold snacks to users working away well into the night – a necessity since the library is open 24 hours a day. The café is separated from the library only by a glass screen, and is more an extension of the study space rather than a separate eatery. Many of the tables are complete with flat screen PCs for group use, and there are also rows of computers for individual use - it’s a surprise to find students actually using the area solely as a space eat and relax!

Visiting the science library of this prestigious college was a real treat, and very different to the arts and humanities libraries where most of us work - in terms of the range of its collections, the length of time materials are kept, the level of funding available and also in terms of the privileges it extends its users.

London Summer Schools


Maybe some of you are interested in the following links:

London Palaeography Summer School

London Rare Books Summer School

The first one is a series of one-day courses which can be booked individually whereas the second one is a one week course (a bit expensive..). The full-day courses of the first one cost £75, there are also some half-day for £50 (one on manuscript making which sounds quite interesting...)

Hilary's profile

My name is Hilary and I am the graduate trainee at The City Law School Library, part of City University. The library is in Gray’s Inn Place, close to the central London law courts and the Inns of Court.

The library’s collection includes: practitioner texts and loose-leaf works, law reports, legal journals, practical skills books, legal encyclopaedias and mooting DVDs. It also makes available electronic law resources to the students, such as Westlaw, LexisNexis and HeinOnline.

The library’s users are mainly students enrolled on City University’s Bar Vocational Course, Legal Practice Course or LLM courses. I have a legal background myself, so the library is the ideal place for me to work!

My main duties are: assisting at the enquiry desk for a few hours each day; carrying out finance related tasks such as maintaining the invoices register and other relevant spreadsheets; dealing with withdrawals of old stock and book returns; and gathering statistics.

I really enjoy being able to help the students with their legal research enquiries and one of the best things about the job for me is that I have been able to help out with training the students on how best to use the legal resources available to them. I also post information on the website for our Law School students: www.lawborepro.net. Through this website, our students access legal resources, find out about news and events, and read articles on different areas of the law.

On Fridays I work in the law library at City University’s Northampton Square Library. I assist the law librarian there with preparing material for City University’s legal portal www.lawbore.net. I also sit at the enquiry desk on the law library floor and answer any questions that the students might have about the collection there. Most recently, I have been involved in the marking of online legal resources assessments which test the students on their legal research skills.

In September I am going to do the MSc Information Science course at City University, which I am really looking forward to.

Sophia's profile

My name is Sophia Hendrikx and I am the graduate trainee at City University's main library at Northampton square, Islington. It’s a great location as it’s close to both the West End and the City. My favourite place close to work is the antique market at Camden Passage close to Angel Station. (I especially love to browse the jewellery stalls!)

The library covers a broad range of subjects including informatics, law, engineering & mathematical sciences, arts, social sciences and health sciences. Our readers are mainly the university's own students, both under and postgraduate, and staff, as well as members of the broader academic community. More than 40 per cent of our students are international, the majority of these from outside the European Union and all following a hugely diverse range of courses. This diversity is one of the things I enjoy most about working here; it’s great to have the opportunity to interact with people from hugely varying backgrounds.

At the moment, the library is executing a long term project making a significant portion of its resources, and the majority of its over 1500 current journals available electronically. This is being combined with a large scale refurbishment increasing the study space and providing a mix of group and informal, as well as individual and silent study spaces. Students are able to connect to the university's wireless network throughout the building and the library provides access to electronic information, including databases and electronic journals. In most cases these resources are available on all networked PCs and many of them are available remotely, enabling students to access material whenever and wherever they want without physically having to get hold of it. Phase one of this exciting project was completed last August, just before I started working here; phase two will take place this summer. Although personally I have my reservations about electronic libraries (for starters a library without many printed books is a somewhat sad sight!) it is certainly an exciting project and it is interesting to see it take form.

The digitisation of the library has had a huge impact on my own job as part of the periodicals department. The library offers an extensive collection of journals and is currently aiming to make all of its current subscriptions available online. Starting in January we have begun to make this switch and the vast majority of our subscriptions are now available electronically. Unfortunately the transmission to online resources has also led to the decision to bin part of our printed journals collection, including material that is not available online; to me this is the sad part of the job. My role in all this has been to double-check that our subscriptions have been changed as planned and to check that no mistakes were made when binning part of the collection. (Sadly, sometimes it turns out we have binned exactly what we wanted to keep and vice versa, but overall it seems to have gone according to plan.) I combine this with an extensive stock take of the whole collection. In addition to this, in a typical day I spend two to three hours working on the issue desk, I maintain our (very small) newspaper collection, and gather the readers’ requests for printed journals twice a day. The hours spent working on the issue desk are often my favourite part of the day. I enjoy the interaction with our readers and particularly getting feedback about the new electronic resources.

My professional background is in the rare books trade and when I started my graduate trainee year it was quite a change and I found it hard to adjust sometimes. But so far my experiences here have been very positive and I definitely would like to keep working for university libraries in the future. At some point I intend to take the MSc in Library and Information Studies at City. I have also thought of taking the course at UCL because of the rare books modules it offers. But the material these cover is quite similar to a course I’ve taken a few years back, and in the end City seemed the better option for me, as the course here seems more in touch with recent developments and changes in the information profession.

End of traineeship outing

I thought it would be fun if we could arrange an outing towards the end of our traineeship year. Sometime around the end of June or the beginning of July maybe before we all go our separate ways

Would anyone be interested in a day visit to Oxford. We could take the Oxford tube (a reasonably priced bus from outside Victoria Station), visit the Bodleian (I'm sure we could arrange a visit), have lunch, perhaps try and meet up with some of the Oxford library trainees, have tea, maybe visit one of the other interesting libraries in Oxford (my manager David Clover tells me there are many) and then come home on the Oxford tube.

Does the idea appeal? Or if you like the idea of an outing but not to Oxford post your other ideas

A name for our website


We're trying really hard to get going with our website. And we'd love to make it look nicer and have a new name. The current one is SAStrain, which we think is a bit boring. At our lunchtime-website meeting today we decided that the new name doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with SAS or UoL - we can put that into a subtitle. It would be nice if the name had something to do with knowledge, library, information etc.

Wouldn't it be cool to have a website called a name that you have come up with?? So please think, google, or even use a fancy dictionary in you library and let everyone know your catchy ideas by commenting on this post....


Visit to the Wallace Collection on 17th February

The Wallace Collection is a national museum displaying the works of art collected by the first 4 Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marques. It was bequeathed to the nation in 1897. It is therefore publicly funded but has to raise a portion of its running costs itself

The library belonging to Sir Richard Wallace does not form part of the collection, although some of the books from his library have since been acquired.

The present library was originally established as a research library for the curatorial staff. The collection therefore reflects the collections within the museum. It is also a reference library open to the public by appointment. Acquisitions since 2000 are on Opac

The library has two members of staff; the librarian Andrea Gilbert who is currently also the archivist, and a cataloguer. The archives relate to the founders of the collection, the actual collection and the history of the museum itself.

A number of challenges were highlighted during the visit. The first was the acute shortage of space, particularly for the archives. Also the library collection is scattered. Most of it is housed in the offices of the different curators. It is therefore important for visitors to state in advance what they would like to see. The most recent acquisitions are in stacks adjacent to the library.
What is key in locating a book therefore is the date of acquisition.

Because curators are used to having what the reference books close at hand there is also a reluctance for the books to be moved so that they can be arranged more systematically elsewhere.

Another challenge with such a small staff is supervising the library so that the public can have access while at the same time keeping up with other necessary library duties.

Very little of the library collection had been catalogued before Andrea arrived and this is now being done systematically. In the meantime location is key to finding a book. While it is possible to download some records, alot of the books are very specialist and therefore new catalogue records have to be created. The library has adopted the classification system used by the Courtauld, where Andrea used to work, which focusses on the type of artificate e.g porcelain, portraits, gold and silver etc.

An interesting visit that highlighted the pressures of a specialist library with a small staff and conflicting demands.

IT Training Courses

Here the dates for Richard's next HTML and Dreamweaver courses:

HTML/XHTML – Level 1 – Web Development – Tuesday 03/03/09 - 10am-5pm

Dreamweaver 8 – Level 1 – Web Design/Development – Tuesday 10/03/08 - 10am-5pm

The courses are free for Central University staff. However, there is a fee for all other UoL staff:
Attendance on an in-house IT training course = £75 per person, per day (for a participant who is not registered to undertake the ECDL with us).

For any participant registered to undertake the ECDL here at UoL, the costs are:
- £28 for the ECDL registration
- £7 per module test (minimum of 7 = £49)
- £7 per re-sit test (if applicable)
- IT training (optional) £60 per person, per day.

IT training courses include access to our e-learning platform and all materials are provided (in a paper copy manual).

I think whoever has done a course so far will agree that they are fabulous. Richard is very helpful and his enthusiasm for the subject is just great.

Society of Antiquaries

On the 10Th of February we visited the Society of Antiquaries and toured their Library. We were met by the Head of Library and Collections Heather Rowland and welcomed with coffee and biscuits and were given a detailed history of the society and the Libraries role within the society. the society have their home in the north west wing of Burlington house, which they share with the Royal Academy of the Arts and four other national learned societies - the Chemists, Geologists, Astronomers and Linnean.

The society was founded in 1700 and in 1751 received its royal charter which charged it with' the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquaries and the history of this and other countries'. Today the societies member number 2,500 and include many distinguished archaeologists and art and architectural historians.

Heather informed us that the societies original library consisted of a box which they acquired to store their books in, today the Library is very much at the heart of the society. Indeed heather commented that their is no room within the building which does not house part of the collection. The Library holds collection on archeology, architectural history, heraldry and the decorative arts, as well as British local history and genealogy. The society also holds a prestigious collection of paintings and illustrations. There are four members of library staff and while the collection deals with antiquaries it is not itself antiquated and is constantly expanding and being updated with new material.

The Library room itself is a delight to behold. it is a three tired building with ornate marble pillars, beautifully bound books and notable paintings. The Library is open to its fellows and to visitors who have a note of introduction. Students may also use the facility if they have a letter of recommendation from their supervisors, while members of the public may apply to the Library for consideration, if the provide proof of identity.

It was a very interesting visit and Heather was extremely welcoming. I think we all relished the opportunity to visit such a beautiful library. It may also be of interest to note that the society's 'Making History' exhibition is currently on in Stoke on Trent and exhibits rare objects from the societies collection.

Sonja's profile

Hi, I'm Sonja and I am working at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies Library, short Germanic Studies Library. It is a very small library with an even smaller team (currently only three, including me). The library is focused on German Language and Literature, holding about 75,000 volumes, 25,000 periodical issues and some archives.

As I have studied German I find it inspiring to get in touch with the whole variety of German Studies . I keep noting down the titles of books that I want to have a look at one day - and this list grows steadily ;-) I am mainly dealing with acquisitions, invoices, periodicals and standing orders, claiming and of course shelving and reader inquiries (of which we unfortunately don't get too many). What I really like about working in a small library is that you get to know the readers and their work, which makes it very personal. The downside of being such a specialized library is that we usually don't have many readers in and I would personally prefer a bit livelier surroundings. Most of our readers are researchers or phD students, most of them with some sort of a German background. And as we get a lot of books directly from Germany, Austria or Switzerland, I am corresponding quite a lot in German. I like this bilingual work, even if it sometimes results in a little language mix-up ;-) And working in Bloomsbury is great too, I love cycling here every morning and seeing Russell Square in the morning light...

Later this year this library is supposed to move into Senate House to become part of Senate House Library. I will be sorry to leave the beautiful building we are in at the moment but on the other hand I am sure it is going to be an interesting experience.

I try to make it to as many library visits as possible because I think this is a great opportunity to see all different kinds of libraries and also to meet up with the other trainees. These visits have actually made me realise how diverse this job can be. And London is certainly a great place to visit libraries. I also have been improving my computer skills thanks to the many IT courses at the University.
My future plans are still a bit uncertain at the moment. I haven't applied for a library course as I am planning to gain some more work expierence first. I then want to move back to Zurich to study part-time there.

Ruth's profile

Hi my name is Ruth and I am the trainee at the London School of Economics Library, also known as the British Library of Political and Economic Science. http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/ It is the largest social science library in the world and a great place to work! Ok, so here are some mind blowing facts that I have taken from our website.

'The library responds to around 5000 visits from students and staff each day. In addition, it provides a specialist national and international research collection, serving over 12,000 registered external users each year. The Library collects material on a worldwide basis, in all major European languages. The extensive collections range from a European Documentation Centre to 90,000 historical pamphlets, with over 95% of Library stock available on open access. 50 km of shelving - enough to stretch the length of the Channel Tunnel! - house over four million items including 32,000 past and present journal titles. The Library subscribes to approximately 20,000 e-journals, just part of its electronic information provision. All collections held at LSE in the Library have been recognised for their outstanding national and international importance and awarded 'Designation' status by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).'

My roles within the library are many and varied. I am based primarily within the Special Acquisitions Unit, within Bibliogrpahic Services which is part of the Technical Services Department. My duties here include, researching, sourcing and acquiring rare, out of print and grey literature for our collection. For those of you unfamiliar with 'grey lit' as I was before i started, these are one of publications by charities, unions, corporations and similar organisations. This is usually done by bibliographic searching over the Internet and direct contact with publishers and organisations and occasionally authors themselves. I also accession incoming books and do some basic cataloging amendments. In addition, I have responsibility for maintaining our law standing orders, government publications and UN deposits. I also have a combination of service counter, admissions and information/help desk duties throughout the week. I enjoy most being on the information desk and having direct contact with the students and staff, learning about their research, helping them with queries and promoting our resources.
I spend one day a week in User Services, last term I was working with the Inter-Library loans team and this term I am working with circulation. I have also spent an afternoon a week moving about all the other teams, so far I have spent time with serials, print collections, teaching support services, and within the Information Services department with collection management, user information and eprints. I could go on but I think I'd better stop there.

I'm hoping to go to library school either in London or Dublin next academic year, and i really think we have chosen a great profession to be in!

I have also partaken in several internal and external training courses and library visits. I have really enjoyed meeting all you other trainees and I think the network is a great idea. Thank you very much to Sheena and to Katie for organising all these events and to Sonja for setting up the blog!


Hi All,

Thought I would post about these upcoming events, email the contact below to reserve a place, they seem very interesting.


The AHRC funded Medieval Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age programme presents two lectures:

Monday, 16 February at 5:30pm: Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Professor Nicholas Pickwoad (The Camberwell / St. Catherine's Library Conservation Project)
‘Bookbindings – The Missing Piece in the Bibliographical Jigsaw’

Friday, 20 February at 5:30pm: University of London, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square

Simon Tanner (King’s College London)

‘Collaboration in Digitisation: Working Together towards our Digital Futures’

Places are limited; if you would like to attend please contact:

Jon Millington


Sheena's Profile

My name is Sheena Ginnings. I am the graduate trainee at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies http://commonwealth.sas.ac.uk/library.htm. As its name suggests the collection focuses on the affairs of Commonwealth countries. It also has a fascinating archive which people come from all over the world to consult. In particular material relating to slavery in the Caribbean and the anti apartheid movement. Coming from Zimbabwe alot of the material has a particular interest for me.

Most of the users are either teaching or studying at a UK university. The majority of users are doing an MA in Human Rights at the Institute. Their course material is in the reading room and can be borrowed by them. The rest of the collection is closed access and for reference only. Being closed access it has to be collected on a duty roster by librarians which gives me a wonderful chance to begin to discover the depth of the collection. Later this year the libary will move into Senate House and become part of the bigger library, so that I'll have the opportunity to see how it feels working in a different kind of environment.

In total there are 6 people working in the library so I have the opportunity to become involved in a wide range of library tasks including inter library loans, accessioning, searching, downloading records, serials, monthly statistics, as well as regular duties in the reading room and anything else that I am asked to do. My library colleagues are a wonderful friendly, supportive and helpful group of people who I shall be sorry to leave at the end of my trainee year.

The graduate training year has turned out to be full of more opportunities than I expected. I am the trainee co-ordinator and help to put the training programme together, a role which I am enjoying enormously. I am also enjoying the chance to network with other trainees. There are regular visits to different libraries, as well as IT training, lectures and seminars which are part the University of London's staff development programme. Before deciding to become a librarian I was a solicitor in industry. The deputy librarian at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies invited me to join their programme of training sessions for legal librarians which is a great opportunity to build on my legal background.

One of the biggest challenges I have at the moment is coping with a broken bone in my foot. I means I can't collect books or reshelve because my foot is strapped up in a big boot and the stairs down to the basement where the collection is stored would be dangerous. I do however now empathise more with students who have to cope with disability and the sheer effort for them of getting about.

I have applied to do an MA in library and information studies at UCL and I am also considering applying to do the course at City University. My feeling at the moment is that I would like to work in user services in either an academic or specialist library, but I will have the opportunity this year to visit a number of other libraries to test this out, including a medical library and two public libraries.

I love working in Bloomsbury, and one of my favourite places in the summer is the Garden Kiosk in Gordon Square, run by the University of London Student's Union. Gordon Square is quieter and less formal than Russell Square


I thought as I was in a blogging mood I would share some details of a few lectures in and around Senate House that I think I'll be attending. Hope people can join me- it looks really sad going to these things on your own- even though I do!

See you soon,

(11th February- Wednesday)

Open University Book History and Bibliography Research Seminar SeminarVenue: Room 273 (ST)Time: 17:30 - 19:30Speakers: Claire Parfait (Université Paris 13), 'Transatlantic Publishing and the Anti-Slavery Debate, 1840s-1850s'Claire Parfait is Professor of American studies, as well as book history, at the University of Paris 13. She has co-directed two works dealing with book history: "Histoire(s) de livres: le livre et l'édition dans le monde Anglophone" (Cahiers Charles V, no. 32, 2002), and "Au bonheur du feuilleton" (Paris Créaphis, 2007).She is the author of "The Publishing History of Uncle Tom's Cabin" (Ashgate, 2007).

(10th March- Tuesday)

History of Libraries Research Seminar SeminarVenue: Room NG16Time: 17:30 - 19:30Speakers: David McKitterick (Trinity College Library, Cambridge), 'Waste management or selling the family silver?: libraries and the second-hand book trade since the 16th century'

(25 March- Wednesday)

Open University Book History and Bibliography Research Seminar SeminarVenue: Room 273 (ST)Time: 17:30 - 19:30Speakers: Amy Flanders (Institute of English Studies), 'Sharing the World: how British and American publishers negotiated the international Anglophone book trade, 1940-1960'Amy Flanders studied history at the University of California, Berkeley, and book history at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, before completing a doctorate at Oxford, where her thesis examined the British publishing industry during the Second World War. In 2004 she was awarded the National Historical Publications and Records Commission Fellowship in Historical Documentary Editing, in which capacity she worked with the Margaret Sanger Papers Project at New York University; "The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger: Volume 2: Birth Control Comes of Age, 1928-1939", was published last year by the University of Illinois Press. Dr Flanders now holds a postdoctoral fellowship with the History of the Oxford University Press project at the Institute of English Studies.

(31 March- Tuesday)

History of Libraries Research Seminar SeminarVenue: Room NG16Time: 17:30 - 19:30Speakers: Peter Hoare (formerly of University of Nottingham Library), 'Library practices and policies in the British Zone of Occupation, 1945-50'

UCL Interview

I had my interview for the UCL MA in Library and Information Studies on the 5th of February. I was interviewed by Vanda Broughton and Lucy Gildersleeve; they were both very friendly and immediately put me at my ease. We started off by talking about my role and responsibilities at the Institute of Classical Studies Library. This then lead on to my previous experience working in a bookshop and in several libraries. They didn't actually ask questions, it was really much more of an informal chat. The conversation mainly dwelt on my working life, rather than my studies. We then talked about my thoughts regarding the options I might take if I got a place on the course. They were also quite keen to talk about funding possibilities, so that took up some of the discussion as well. Throughout the interview I was encouraged by their honesty and openness, and that meant that I felt as relaxed as I possible (considering the situation!) Overall, a very positive experience, no matter what the outcome is.

CPD25 visit to Wiener Library

CPD25 just announced another visit:

Visit to The Wiener Library Institute of Contemporary History
Thursday 12th March 2009 at 10am

"The Wiener Library is the world's oldest Holocaust memorial institution, tracing its history back to 1933. Alfred Wiener, a German Jew who worked in the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith, fledGermany in1933 for Amsterdam. Together with Prof. David Cohen, he set up the Jewish Central Information Office, collecting and disseminating information about events happening in Nazi Germany. After the war the Library's academic reputation increased and the collecting policies were broadened. Today the Library still acquires major collections, holds regular lectures and events, and provides a focal point for researchers, the media, the public and students.The collection relates to the causes and legacies of the Holocaust, including its historiography and documentation. It also includes documentation relating to Jewish refugees and exiles in Great Britain, Kindertransport and the resistance against the racial persecution of Jews by Nazis and collaborators. Please note that places for this visit are limited."

To book a place, please fill in our online booking form http://www.cpd25.ac.uk/component/option,com_philaform/Itemid,98/form_id,2/
or email us direct at cpd25@lse.ac.uk

Trainee Profile- Katie Rose

My name is Katie Rose, and I'm the graduate library trainee at the Institute of Classical Studies. http://icls.sas.ac.uk/library/Home.htm
This library is unique, to say the least. With a small number of staff and a high level of expertise, our collections reflect the high level of research our readers are engaged in. Our attention is focused on obtaining the best scholarly material available on all aspects of the ancient world, particularly the Greek and Roman worlds. We acquire new books daily, and so far have been fortunate in not having to weed our collections too often, despite having had to relocate the library three times in the past ten years (our third move is scheduled for March 2009).
For me, the readers are the best bit of the library; they include undergraduates, postgraduates and academics from universities in the U.K and all over the world, and people who just love Classics. I love talking to them and learning about their work. I am stationed on one of the circulation desks and my main responsibilities include circulation, membership, reader enquiries and research. I am in charge of the postal loans and research(which we do a lot of) and inter-library loans.
I guess this year has taught me to create my own work schedule and priorities, and be more independent. During the year I have gone to many training events, visits and lectures organised by CILIP and CPD25, and I have really valued being part of the SAS/ULRLS trainee group- that has actually become much more important to me than I thought it would be.
My current career plans are to see if I can get a place on the MA in Library and Information Studies at UCL. If I don't go to UCL next academic year, I will continue to work in libraries until I decide to do the MA and become qualified. This year so far has opened my mind to the fact that there are so many different sorts of libraries, and I would love to gain experience in sectors outside the academic research library.

visit to IALS

IALS is an academic law library. There is alot of information on their website ttp://ials.sas.ac.uk/about/IALS_mission.htm Gerry Power gave us a very interesting tour around the library. It has a dual purpose it caters for academics and postgraduate law students in London. Its collection includes the most extensive and unique collection within the UK of foreign and international law. Lack of space is an issue. Its academic function means that more is kept than for example in a commercial library. Such as old editions of text books which other libraries may dispose of. In addition to its academic function it also provides an information service for the legal profession who can subscribe to an email delivery service for scanned documents. Lawyers can request copies of cases, articles etc. There are different delivery levels - from within an hour to longer delivery periods. If it is really busy nearly all the library staff can be involved! This service provides a useful income for the library. Heather Memess gave the trainees a very enlightening talk on evaluating websites. She does the legal evaluations for Intute, an academic gateway funded by JISC