Trainee Profile: Eleanor Keane

Trainee Profile:  Eleanor Keane

Hello, I’m Eleanor and I work with Harriet (Lam) as a Graduate Trainee Library Assistant in the Courtauld Institute of Art Book Library. I started here in September after working at Goldsmiths College Library, City University Library, and City Law School Library. I’ve also done volunteer work in the specialist Women’s Art Library and volunteer work and training at the Feminist Library (both very useful resources with diverse collections) that educated me on aspects of ‘radical’ independent librarianship . (I even ended up writing an article for their newsletter!)

After working in Goldsmiths College Library, I decided that I really liked working in that environment, that I enjoyed helping students with their enquiries and that I wanted to learn more about what was happening in the information sector.  After doing some more research into information studies courses and the information sector, I decided to do an MSc in Library Science at City University. I chose this course because I thought it would be a good grounding in the fundamentals of library science, because it was accredited by CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) and because it was situated in London where there are many different and interesting libraries to research.  I really enjoyed my course and would recommend it to anyone thinking of undertaking a course in information studies/library studies. I felt it was particularly strong on Web 2.0, digital libraries, and the publishing sector, plus it gave students a lot of scope when it came to choosing the topic of their final dissertation. Whilst studying I was also lucky enough to get a post working as a shelving assistant in City University Library, where I learnt a lot about working in a law library, and dealing with a range of user enquiries.  I also did the ’23 Things’ programme on e-resources.

I  was thrilled when I saw this post advertised. I was keen to learn more about art librarianship and about working for an art library. I have always loved visiting art galleries and museums, so I felt that this post would fit well into that, too. The Courtauld Institute is one of the most prestigious art institutes in the UK, and I felt that this post would be an excellent opportunity to train, learn and grow as an information professional. So far I’ve learnt about dealing with interlibrary loans, cataloguing, handling closed-access material and had the chance to see some truly rare books. (The Courtauld has a Closed-Access section of books dating from before 1850, and many have interesting provenances.) I also work with people who are passionate about art and about preserving and maintaining these collections for future use. My work involves doing interlibrary loans, (wo)manning the issue desk,  collecting Closed-Access material, processing short loan books, handling telephone enquiries and informing students about things like our opening hours  and our collection times. I feel very lucky to have a full-time position here at the Courtauld, where I feel I can make a positive contribution to this art library, and find out more about its extensive and fascinating collections.
The Courtauld Institute Book Library:
The Courtauld Institute Book Library Blog: h
Women's Art Library:
The Women's Library:  (From 2013 the Women's Library will be based at LSE)
City University Library Science Home Page:

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