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