Jaqueline Ponka, our ARLG NW Committee Treasurer and the Head of Libraries at Holy Cross College and University Centre in Bury, has agreed to share her experience of a day in the first week back of the new academic year.
This is the first week of teaching time in a new year so we welcome returning students and lots of new, nervous level 2 and level 3 students. Today I am updating the induction presentation that each new student will see in tutorial next week. Photos from the induction day, with our theme of journeying, are included and the script updated from last year. We have made a few changes to numbers of loans and the content of our on-line provision so all these slides need the narration re-recorded.
Then I am working on the library desk for the rest of the morning and most of my time is spent out in the library talking to students. Coming from a school environment most students are not entirely sure what they are allowed to do in our library and so they need a lot of guidance in when and how they can use the study facilities. We are really busy and it is enjoyable to be talking to the new students and getting reacquainted with upper sixth. Queries can range from how to print a timetable, where am I allowed to sit, to in depth queries about resources to use for an EPQ topic. I also proofread a statement that a student is putting together for her application to a university outreach programme.
In the afternoon I have an hour in the office which gives me time to put together a timetable for the Teaching and Learning Meetings during the year, where I and the librarian meet formally with the staff of each subject area. These are really important for ensuring that we are fully aware of the curriculum needs of staff and students and for us to demonstrate our resources, particularly to new staff. This gets sent out with an explanation for new staff about the importance of them attending these meetings. The EPQ tutor arrives to discuss the talk I am going to give to the teachers supervising the projects as well as the research skills sessions for the students. Meanwhile one of our university partners has sent a number of scans that need to be uploaded to our VLE for the undergraduates to access and another has sent the updated slides for their students’ inductions later this month.
Back on the desk for the last part of the day I also manage to order some books to support Libraries Week which has a theme of well-being and libraries supporting good mental health.
At the end of my day I attend a pastoral meeting for the new progress tutors where I am able to talk about the library, the induction, and invite them to bring their tutor groups up to the library for a visit.
It’s been a busy day and I’m ready for home.
Like Jacqueline’s day and would like to share your own? Get in touch with the ARLG NW committee by commenting on this post or tweet us @ARLGNW
Up next in our ‘Day in the Life of’ series is Dawn Grundy, the CILIP NW ARLG Secretary and Support Librarian for Health & Human Sciences at the University of Bolton.
I usually start around 8am but am in a little earlier today, as I have packed out teaching schedule this morning and want to do some last minute preparation. A priority is to check my emails in case there are any last minute room changes, as we deliver all our user education in the classrooms rather than the library. Then I collate my leaflets and note which group I am seeing and when and where.
Before I set off to my classes, I send an email to a colleague who works at the Public Library. The University of Bolton Library is part of BHIP (Bolton Health Information Partnership) and the group had a meeting on Monday and one of my actions was to share a link to a Mindfulness section in LEAP Online which the may promote as part of Health Information Week.
From 9am until lunch, I spend the morning conducting Library Inductions and Tours for our new cohorts of Trainee Nursing Associates. As they are taught in three separate groups, this takes up the whole morning.
At lunchtime, I grab a quick sandwich and catch up with my emails. I am currently undertaking the CILIP HEE Leadership course, and as part of that am working within a project group. There are emails pinging about between us, as we are looking at the results of a nationwide survey we have just done. The group is based all over the country so 95% of our conversations are done via email or web chat. I feedback and then go outside for a bit of fresh air!
Post lunch, something a little unusual as there is a book launch and talk happening here at the University. The talk is by Martin Guha, Formerly Librarian at the Institute of Psychiatry London. “What are Librarians for? Some personal reminiscences”.
Martin has contributed a chapter to “The Changing Nature of Happiness: An in-depth study of a town in North West England 1938-2016.” The book has been edited by Sandie Mc Hugh, an Honorary Research Fellow here at the University.
During the preface to the talk Professor Jerome Carson mentions that we have recently won a Digital Literacy National Award for LEAP Online, so I am thrilled to have caught a mention of our success!
Martin also mentions they are looking for new contributors to the journal Reference Reviews, I make a note to mention this to colleagues in the sector as appropriate. Then it’s back to the office to check my email again and also prepare for a meeting in the morning. I am mentoring a colleague for HEA Fellowship and he is submitting this week and I read over the paperwork in advance.
A slightly more unusual day with the book launch but a typical working day in the sense of the majority of my day being involved in teaching and liaison.
Liked Dawn’s day and want to contribute your own? Contact the ARLG NW committee by commenting on this post or tweet us @ARLGNW
It has been a while since our last ‘’ day in the life’’ post, where we invited members of the ARLG NW Committee to reflect upon their different roles. To get back on track, we have drafted in brand new member, Anna Theis, to give us a quick peak into her day-to-day routine.
A day in the life of… Anna Theis
Teaching and Learning Assistant, University of Manchester Library.
Thurs 15 March 2018
Today was a busy day!
09:00 – Start work
I’m facilitating two workshops today so I start my day by checking how many students have signed up and going over the workshop plans again so I’m fully prepared. The first workshop of the day is ‘Using websites and identifying bias.’ The workshop goes well, in this session students work together to come up with their own strategy for critically evaluating whether websites are suitable to use in their academic work – looking at themes such as reliability, credibility and objectivity.
11:30 – Back to the office
After the workshop I spend some time preparing for a tailored session on referencing for a group of first year Japanese Studies undergraduates which I’m due to deliver next week. As well the workshops on the My Learning Essentials Open Programme we also have an Embedded Programme which delivers focused support within the curriculum at the University of Manchester.
13:00 – Lunch
I meet my sister for lunch, she also works at the University of Manchester, I love our regular catch ups.
14:00 – Workshop number two
After lunch I facilitate my second workshop of the day, this one is my favourite one ever ‘Presentation skills: delivering your presentation with confidence.’ This is always a really fun session where I aim to create a relaxed and informal atmosphere where students can start to overcome their fears when it comes to presenting and it ends with presentation karaoke.
16:00 – Business Research Consultation
I finish the day shadowing a Business Research Consultation; I’m being trained up to support the Business Data Service at the University of Manchester Library. I meet a student who is looking for help finding lots of different financial and company data such as share price, supply chains, competitors. I ask him what he’s studying and he’s studying for a PhD in Computer Science, his research is on creating an artificial intelligence programme which could replace a stock broker!
If you, as an ARLG NW member, enjoyed Anna’s post and fancy contributing your own day, please get in touch with the committee by commenting on this post or tweeting us @ARLGNW
Introducing a semi-regular series on our blog… “Day in the life”. We’ve invited ARLG NW committee members to tell you about their days to reflect the range of roles we represent, and hope you enjoy the results. If you, as an ARLG NW member, would like to contribute your own day, please get in touch with the committee by commenting on this post or tweeting us @ARLGNW.
First up is Sarah Mallen, one of our Twitter managers and a Careers Information & Guidance Co-ordinator at the University of Manchester.
I work at a University in the Careers Service. My job title used to be Information Manager & when I started many years ago it was all about managing paper resources; thousands of employer brochures and application forms plus a large Careers Library.
As you can guess the internet changed all that, now all the employer information is online and my role is more about making online information accessible to students. I manage the student facing website and a team of staff including information and advisory staff.
A typical day
There is no typical day, and that’s what I like about this job and why I have stayed in it for more than 15 years now.
The year is basically split into times when most of my day is spent talking to students and times when it’s quiet and I work on the website, publications and random other stuff. It’s February so it’s busy at times particularly in the afternoons and in-between lectures. Typical enquiries at this time of year range from helping students with getting started thinking about career options, help with interviews and assessment centres and students who have multiple job offers and need help deciding between them (lucky them).
Enquiries come by phone, email and in person, usually the best thing is for us to have a chat to determine what level of help is needed and then we can either help the student ourselves or book them an appointment. Most of our phone calls today seem to be student cancelling appointments at short notice – like the NHS, nonattendance is a big problem for us. Fairly typically one of our advising staff had a home emergency which could have meant cancelling all their appointments with no notice. Fortunately that was averted as it’s never a happy task as we don’t have spare staff to see students so they have to wait longer.
Today is our first live day trialling some live chat software, it’s a very soft launch while we get used to it, but it will be publicised for an event next week. We are all on alert waiting for the ping that means someone is talking to us. We all got very excited when our first student asked a question!
It’s the start of our second semester and we only have a short window when students will be interested in Careers before its Easter and assignment deadlines then exams. We have lots of events and programmes that launch over the next week so there has been a lot of last minute web editing getting it all ready. Unfortunately changes to the website often mean changes to our publications, as I updated them all over the summer to make them disability compliant I have delegated the job this time.
In other news, I have also taken on responsibility for our staff website and am currently working on a short questionnaire to go out to staff to find out what they want from us and what format they want it in. I’m currently looking into costings for a kiosk so that students can check themselves in for appointments. Currently we use a PC near our desk but it would be much better near the entrance. The biggest sticking point seems to be getting estates to come out and give me a quote for power and data!
Some days seem to consist of nothing but HR paperwork, timesheets and rotas, but generally I can decide what I want to do when around the enquiry work. It’s an interesting place to work if you like hearing people’s stories and helping them make sense of the world.
What would I save if there was a fire? (humans excepted)
The biscuit tin, I’m not sure the team could survive a fire without biscuits!