Guest post by Natasha Callis, work experience student.
This week, I’ve been doing work experience at the University of Leicester Library. I have worked in lots of different departments have completed lots of different, small tasks related to each area of work in the library, and I have found it to be really informative.
When choosing my work experience, I emailed a few different places. The library was the first to say yes, and pondering my options, I thought it would be very cool to discover what actually goes on in a big, academic library. I didn’t realise just how much had to be done to run this place, there were lots more people, but fewer books than I had expected, and I now know that a lot more goes on in a library than dealing with books. The library does stamp and shelve books, yes, but they are also one of the first ports of call that a student has, they help students understand how to write academic essays and how to avoid plagiarism, they help researchers to meet their funding requirements and publish their research so the public can access it. Plus, now, when I visit a university library, I will have a little head start on everyone, I won’t be so lost and I’ll have an understanding of what to do in the library and how to do it.
On a side note, I was also impressed to discover that a lot of people working in the library have PhDs in various subjects! I have been among some very intelligent and interesting people this week!
Without doubt, my favourite department this week was the Archives & Special Collections department, and I imagine this is a particularly popular choice, because it is extremely interesting and thoroughly enjoyable to see all of the old and rare books that they have. I worked with them on Wednesday, and Friday morning, and they set me a very exciting task. I had to create a small exhibition about fairy tales, to be displayed down in the basement where the Archives & Special Collections team are hidden. It was a great job that kept me busy, and having read and enjoyed the fairy tale as a young child, I decided to create my exhibition on The Ugly Duckling, by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. I wrote my captions, decided which books to display and where everything should go, and we installed the exhibition.
If you go into the library in the next few weeks, it would be much appreciated if you could take some time to come and look at my exhibition down in the basement. I’d like to thank Catherine and Bal in Admin for helping me to set up the work experience here, Esther, Alison, Sarah and their departments for showing and telling me more about their jobs and what they entail here at the library. Finally, thank you to everyone who I have encountered at the library this week, you have all been very friendly and welcoming, I have had a lovely week and will take this experience back to school with me.