The Institute of Historical Research
Hello, I’m Tundun, the new graduate trainee at The Institute of Historical Research Library. Before starting the traineeship in September, I was a Library Customer Service Officer at Barnet Libraries. I graduated from Kingston University in 2015 with a degree in International Relations with French, and like many others, considered many avenues after graduation such as the Civil Service, teaching and further study. In the end, my positive experience with the academic liaison librarians at my university as well as my experience of working in a public library led to my decision to become a librarian.
So far, I am really enjoying being a trainee. 10 weeks in and I am now overseeing a range of daily tasks. A typical day consists of shelving, fetching requests from the onsite store, checking the library’s social media accounts, answering enquiries and French acquisitions. I also help with cataloguing and reclassifying the Latin American and North American collections, book conservation and repairs and creating research guides to the collections. This has involved a fair amount of research, locating books and journals, and definitely tests the limits of my language skills from time to time. It has taken quite a while to settle in and get used to new library systems, collections and readers, but I am definitely starting to get to grips with what it means to be a ‘real’ librarian.
What is so great about the traineeship is that as well as receiving a great deal of support and training internally, we are also encouraged to attend courses and visits throughout the year. It is also a huge comfort being part of a group of trainees in London, as not only do we get to visit other libraries across London and beyond, but we can discuss issues that come up along the way. I’m still not sure if I want to study full- or part-time next year, or look for further library work, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the traineeship and what might follow.