Trainee Profile: Katharine Williams

I’m Kat, one of two graduate trainees based at City University. Right now I’m working in the Cyril Kleinwort Learning Resource Centre at Cass Business School, but halfway through the year I’ll swap with Catherine and move to the main library site at Northampton Square. The six month exchange is a great system as it really gives us two-traineeships-in-one. We’ve been updating each other on our experiences and so far they seem quite different.
The LRC has a library of over 30,000 books and ebooks, thousands of journals and an extensive portfolio of databases, all pertaining to business and finance. It’s not a subject I had much background in, but I’ve learned a lot (it’s impressive what you can do with a Bloomberg machine!) and besides, specialist knowledge is not necessary; it’s my customer-service skills that get the most practice. The library is used primarily by postgraduate students of Cass Business School, but also by undergraduates, staff and alumni. Its relatively small size makes it an ideal place to begin training as I get to experience all the general library tasks as well as see what the other librarians are working on. I was originally a little disappointed that there would be no rare book collection to moon over, but actually this high-spec library, with more computer terminals than bookcases, offers thrills of its own, and has opened my eyes to a more modern definition of the academic library.
My own background, as I’ve said, is not in business. In fact it’s not even in libraries, unless you count the many hours I’ve spent as a patron. So how did I get here?! I read Classics, English and Theology at Durham and was in charge of communications for my college student union. I was looking at a range of jobs in the information/communication field when I came across the CILIP website. Librarianship ticks all the boxes for me as a career – books, customer-service, innovation (social media!) and organisation to the point of obsession - while the trainee system offers a valuable support network and the opportunity to attend visits and courses. I applied for a number of the graduate traineeships listed on the website, and was lucky enough to be offered a place at City. I’m now learning as much as I can and making plans for library school next year.

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