Work Experience in the Library

By Anonymous

My school, Dorothy Stringer, gives a chance for every student in year 10 to get some work experience. It can be a very nervous thing to do, but where I went I felt extremely welcome. I chose to work at the University of Sussex Library initially because my Mum worked there, but as the days went by, I really came to enjoy working there.

The reason why I am sharing my experience at the Library is because I felt so welcome when I entered the building. I also want to express how kind and caring all the members of staff really are. From sorting out and planning my day, to taking me to tea breaks, buying me lunch and all round being very positive. It seems to me that it could be quite a stressful job, especially for the Frontline team, however it doesn’t seem to stop them from having a good time and saying the odd joke here and there.

I enjoyed every single day I was there. I was taught about reading lists, fines, shelving, the process of overdue books and really how everything operates in the Library. It may sound like your typical boring library where you have to be silent and you feel like you can’t do anything. The Sussex Library is the complete opposite of that. Obviously there are some areas of the building where you have to be silent and of course there are rules. However this library is a lot more complex and advanced.

I am pretty sure there are around 800,000 books in the Library, plus another 50,000 online books and journals. That is a lot of books when you think about it and it requires loads of time and effort to keep them all organised. It seemed like they had that area covered.

Obviously there is a definite age gap since I am only 14, but personally I believe that I got on very well with the members of staff there and I really did feel welcome.

I am going to be completely honest and say that I thought it was going to be very boring at the Library, just compared to all the interesting things my friends were doing. But I really showed an interest in what some of the things people were working on. One thing I particularly enjoyed was inputting reading lists. It is where you check if you have a certain book that a tutor has asked for, and you create a list online for students to see what books are essential for their class. It may not sound like the most interesting thing in the world, but I found it very satisfying and enjoyed doing it.

If anybody is looking for some work experience I recommend the University of Sussex Library because without a doubt I promise you, you will have an excellent time and meet lovely people along your way. I don’t really like reading or writing but for once I think I came to enjoy it and so will you.

Turkish Delights (Rahat Lokum) Flavour Four: Frontline services, space usage, and support for families (Cinnamon)

By Philip Keates

Today’s tasty topic is broadly on the usage of the library space itself, with just a pinch of info from the coalface of library services (but not a pinch of coal. You probably shouldn’t put coal in your food. Just like you probably shouldn’t mix metaphors).

Phoebe Leung of Lingnan University mentioned a couple of ways in which they make their frontline services more engaging. They offer easy communication with staff through their WhatsApp a Librarian service. They also make their librarian orientations more exciting by including a QR code treasure hunt, with prizes for the winners.

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Documents in the Legacy Collection

By Chloe Dobson

The largest part of the Legacy Collection will be the 20237 documents we have accumulated since the opening of the University.

Official Publications used to have its own dedicated area in the University Library, with a counter service to help users retrieve and discover new items and dedicated staff to develop and manage the collections.

The Documents Librarian, who had a responsibility for the Social Sciences and Parliamentary materials was keen to fill the shelves with pamphlets, reports, ephemora and papers relating to current issues at the time as well as reflecting the research interests of the new University. The  building had no space limits and a healthy budget for acquisitions, so many donations were accepted, standing orders established and staff would even travel around collecting new materials.

“I wanted our Library collections to reflect the mood of the times, and this directed me to the ephemeral publications of the interest groups and pressure groups that were active in those decades. We aimed to collect together the output of such organisations,  that represented the current  social and political views of the decades. Some publications were standing orders from “regular” sources, political parties, research organisations, etc.  Many of the pamphlets we collected were the result of scanning the press and being alert to media reports. Those four little words, “a report out today” were sufficient to raise an order for that report.  We also went on regular foraging trips to “known” venues in London, such as 9 Poland Street, where pressure group publications were available for sale.”

David Kennelly, former Assistant Librarian.

There was a focus on events such as general elections, strikes, changes to infrastructure and following political and social movements locally and across the UK.

The Documents collection was a strong feature of the Library at the time. Monthly acquisition lists would be sent out to academics and researchers to ensure that all parts of the University used the collections. The then Librarian Adrian Peasgood recalls an external examiner commenting  very favourably on the quality and quantity of the material to which candidates had clearly been exposed.

As the section had its own area and was shelved away from the other collections, much of it was uncatalogued, as staff knew the contents very well and could help students directly, often using lists and indexes rather than a card catalogue.

The Collection Development Librarians and the Special Collections Archivist are now working through the extensive spreadsheet that our teams have produced, detailing all of these items of which 40% are uncatalogued.

We have identified the following themes running through the collection and have been examining each item to give it a category:

Gender Studies and Feminism

Popular and Counter Cultures

Post WW2 World Order

Political Movements and Parties

Trade Unions

Social Movements

Social Welfare

War

We hope that this will help with discoverability, as one or more themes will be added to the MARC record when it is recatalogued. Researchers using the collections should be able to easily identify items of interest to them and this will help us with promotion and use in teaching if we can easily identify items by topic.

As the cataloguing will be an extensive part of the project, having smaller collections within collections can help us to break it down into manageable chunks.

We have just completed the review of all items and can reveal that the sections will look like this

Political Parties and Movements  10658
To be decided  2677
Social Movements 1887
Social Welfare 1717
Trade Unions 1342
War 943
Popular and Counter Cultures 402
Post WW2 Order 393
Gender Studies and Feminism 218

Here are some examples of our documents:

This is an example from the War category. It is a pamphlet called The War Resisters' International in War-Time

This is an example from the War category. It is a pamphlet called The War Resisters’ International in War-Time

This is an example from the Trade Unions category. It is a booklet by the National Union of Teachers called Race, Education, Intelligence.

This is an example from the Trade Unions category. It is a booklet by the National Union of Teachers called Race, Education, Intelligence.

This is an example from the Social Movements category. It is a pamphlet called British-Soviet Friendship

This is an example from the Social Movements category. It is a pamphlet called British-Soviet Friendship

This is an example from the Post World War 2 World Order category. It is a pamphlet called Co-operation in industry, the next ten years by Herbert Dove

This is an example from the Post World War 2 World Order category. It is a pamphlet called Co-operation in industry, the next ten years by Herbert Dove

This is an example from the Popular and Counter Culture category. It is two pages of a leaflet called Black Flame

This is an example from the Popular and Counter Culture category. It is two pages of a leaflet called Black Flame

This is an example from the Political movements and parties category. It is an example of the Magazine of International Labour

This is an example from the Political movements and parties category. It is an example of the Magazine of International Labour

An example from the Gender Studies and Feminism category. This is a journal called Women and Education

An example from the Gender Studies and Feminism category. This is a journal called Women and Education

This task has had tricky moments as we grapple with crossover publications covering Socialism in wartime or areas such as airport expansion and the market economy which we struggled to fit into our categories. We now feel the next step is to add Infrastructure and Trade to our list to cover these gaps satisfactorily.

We are almost ready to start cataloguing and the War section is looking good to start with, as the items in there are without any doubt in their right place.

Please do drop us a line if you would like to know more or be involved in the creation of Legacy:

Library.collectiondevelopment@sussex.ac.uk

 

 

 

Turkish Delights (Rahat Lokum) Flavour Three: Marketing, student engagement, and visual design (Citrus bergamia

By Philip Keates

Merhaba, all! This time we’ll be looking at ideas for effectively promoting library services, and generally engaging with student users.

Vasia Mole of Koç University told us about their Library Survival Kit, which all new students receive, and which includes essentials like a grappling hook a bilingual foldout survival guide full of useful tips, a bookmark, and even a stapler. Lizzy and I got one of the guides as part of our haul of goodies, so just ask us if you want to have a look. Continue reading

Turkish Delights (Rahat Lokum) Flavour Two: Information Literacy (Lemon)

By Philip Keates

Hello again, and welcome to part 2 of my library-famous blog series! This time, we’ll be looking at Information Literacy (or IL). IL was a hot topic amongst our speakers, receiving at least a mention in many, if not most, of the presentations.

I’m sure a lot of this will be familiar stuff to our IL professionals, particularly the core IL concepts, but I hope that even they might be able to sift a few useful golden idea nuggets from the… um… mineral-rich waters of the training week, using the… uh… the brain-sieve that is this blog post… no, this metaphor’s got away from me. You get the idea.

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Istanbul calling: travel tales from Koҫ University Library Staff Training Week

By Lizzy Pennock

I have a confession to make. In my application for the Erasmus+ Staff Training Week at Koҫ University in Istanbul, I made a promise I didn’t keep. Brimming over with enthusiasm and good intentions, I promised a video blog. I imagined an expertly shot montage of Istanbul, Philip and I in charismatic candid moments, sensitive and illuminating portraits of the people I’d meet, all set to sweeping inspirational music. What I actually achieved in the entire six day trip was a three second video of Philip on the moving walkway at Gatwick airport. Which I can’t even show you here because it’s the wrong way up. Good work Lizzy.

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Library Show & Tell

The Innovation Group hosted the second Library Show & Tell event in the Barlow Gallery. Staff from across the Library and The Keep presented wonderful examples of their work, and a grand time was had by all! Look out for links in the photos…

Brighton winter palace
Andrew Bennett showcased the Unbuilt Brighton project
Proposed summer and winter palace, situated on Kings Road to the west of the West Pier, c1910 (ACC 2791/8/1)
Including some fascinating images of Brighton architectural features that never quite got made...
Unbuilt Brighton
Collection Development
Elaine busting out the moves!
Ed & Mike take a virtual tour of the BLDS
Catrina's Open Access demo
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Click on laptop links
LATS are in Kahoots!

Rachel, Claire and Helen demonstrated Kahoots and PollEverywhere

Heading layer

Samira showed us the German Jewish collections site

Phil glimpsed the future...
Book Sprint
Thanks also go to:

...and HUGE thanks go to Lindsay, Jade, Kerry and Ed for organising the Show & Tell!

Adam Harwood on SURE
Tim Graves on Fusion Charts
Doug Broadbent-Yale on e-textbooks
Gavin Byman on digitisation
Beth Logan on Hive Scholars
Ed Hogan on virtual tours
and all who participated...

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Book Sandwiches

by Clare Playforth

bookshelves

 

Classification is a big part of my job and certainly the part that I find most enjoyable and challenging. The other day I was looking in vain for a resource that would provide me with a table of ‘date letters’ that are sometimes used when classifying collected works. After a couple of discussions about this it became clear to me that there are many practices in cataloguing and classification that might seem like they are needlessly complicated and opaque. I want to explain that there is a reason for things to be done this way.

Every time we make a decision about how to classify something we are doing it with the collection and ultimately the user in mind. When someone has looked up a book on the catalogue we want them to be able to find it easily on the shelf, but when they get to that shelf we also want them to find a load of other books that are relevant on either side i.e. we want to enable browsing. We want them to arrive at the shelf and first find the general books about a topic and then to be able to walk down that stack seeing how the subject narrows and becomes more specific as the classifications are expanded. In an ideal world we would want each classmark to represent only one book – this is part of the reason for doing the reclassification projects which you can read about here.

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Why I work in a library (and other questions I get asked at parties)

By Lizzy Pennock

Picture the scene – you’re at a party, a gathering or any occasion where you might meet someone new for the first time. You greet each other with awkward smiles, you swap names and as the rules of small talk dictate, you must find out each other’s jobs. That’s just what you do. He works in digital marketing because of course he does, it’s Brighton and he has a beard. You take a breath and you say “I work in a library”.

A flicker of something you can’t quite make out flashes across his face. “Oh wow, that’s cool”, he says, nodding a little too enthusiastically, “So…do you just get to sit and read all day?” Your mind flashes back to the mountain of invoices you typed out yesterday, the student sobbing at the front desk, the time you sang Baa Baa Black Sheep to 40 uninterested parents and babies. “Yeah, something like that”.

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