Monday, 20 July 2015

Something completely different to what I expected

Honestly, since I started year 10, work experience was one of the things I was dreading. I thought it would be two weeks of just doing nothing. However when I came to the Marshall Library I found myself quite surprised with the considerable amount of work to be done, with the varied tasks and jobs required to keep the library running.

On my first day of working in the Marshall Library I was kindly introduced to the staff team by Sue, whom all of which were welcoming. My first day proved to be the most difficult as I was getting into a new routine, as well as in a new place with people I didn’t really know. But as the days went on, work began to get easier and I feel like I made a closer connection with the staff.

Getting to work took me a while as I had to get the 8:11 train and then walk from the station, which took around 25 minutes. However, I soon realised that the library was reasonably close to the town centre, which gave me the opportunity to see my friends at lunch as I had a whole hour, which I took from 13:00-14:00 every day.

During the week my work varied with the tasks I was doing. Firstly I learnt how to issue and receive books to university students as well as collecting book references and checking where they are kept. On one particular day, I was introduced to Anita’s work and how she does cataloguing, which took me by surprise as to how much thorough work has to be done. I found that the work became easier as I became more confident, and it gave me a better understanding of the library environment as well as a work environment.

Aside from all the work, Sue was kind enough to organise visits to other libraries for me. The Cambridge University Library was astonishing; when I was told there were around 8 million books, I found this hard to believe. Finding one specific book which we needed for the Marshall Library was actually enjoyable, and something completely different to what I expected. Because of my particular interest in physics, specifically Cosmology and Astronomy, Sue organised a visit to the Moore Library and the Library of Astronomy. This was exciting for me as I hope to pursue a career in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, specialising in Cosmology.

Overall, working in the Marshall Library was, admittedly, quite intimidating at first as my knowledge of the library work environment was limited. However, as the days progressed I began to get more comfortable with working and found it easier to undertake any new challenges I was given. I was particularly enthusiastic when Clemens asked me if I would like to do a project which revolved around Economics, so I thought I would use my knowledge of the German Economy from 1919–1929 and apply it to the subject of Economics to create a display for the library.

Display at Marshall Library: 'German Economy from 1919-1929''
Even without any knowledge of working in a library, I still found my two weeks at the Marshall Library particularly enjoyable, and I now feel like I have a much clearer understanding of what work may entail in the near future.

Jodie (work experience 6 to 17 July 2015)