Archive for July, 2012

July 27, 2012

Visit to the Museum of English Rural Life

Being an urbanite a visit to the Museum of English Rural Life was one where I found it difficult to form expectations. My experience of the country is one of simply passing through and a means of escape from the city. However I had only ever witness rural life on television or films and felt my knowledge to be very limited. To go as part of the professional visit meant I was prepared to take in as much as I was able.

The visit took place on Thursday 19th July. The new experiences started upon arrival to Reading. This was the first time I have walked through Reading and seen more than just the train station. It is a strikingly beautiful town and does not have that crowded (with regards to buildings) feeling of London.

 Not knowing what to expect from The Museum of English Rural Life none the less I was impressed. I believe it presented a very a specialised subject in a very considered way that drew you in. Although I was rather put out when greeted by a straw man, the kind you might find in grisly fairy tales and not the one helping Dorothy. However the straw moustache did soften its features a bit. This encounter only occurred after being welcomed by the friendly staff at the front desk.  

 We given were an insightful presentation and tour about the library and archives. I particularly liked that the library is housed in former student halls for residence making the spaces more private.

 The library and archives had a wonderful collection that was impressively diverse.

Some of the highlights of the collections we were shown included a farm diary from the 18th century, a first edition of the Origin of Species, a book on four legged beasts which included peculiar illustrations including an elephant with web like feet.

 I thought it was good that they had a discovery resource tool for searching the catalogues as the library and the archives collections are on two different systems.

 I liked how the Museum arranged its object collections by material which was an interesting way of displaying collections. I like the range of crafts that were on display, the clothes and the wagons. Our host rather intriguingly drew our attention to a mystery object which was made out of metal and had two small tennis-sized balls attached to a metal chain. We were informed that it could either be a curtain draw or sheep’s contraceptive.

July 27, 2012

CPD 23 Thing 11 Mentoring

I am a great believer in experienced professionals sharing knowledge and providing guidance to new professionals. Although I have not yet had an official mentor, I have thought about all the informal mentors I have had.

I like to ask questions. Sometime lots of questions. Sometimes standard ones. Sometimes challenging ones. For me this is one of the ways I learn. My questioning can lead onto my understanding. My professional questioning has often been directed to experience colleagues who have helped to shape my understanding about the librarianship. I thank them for their patience.

My hope is to be able to find an official mentor. Uncertain of how to go about such matters I have found the following articles very helpful, particularly Priscilla Shontz point about not waiting for others to teach you things:

Sophie R. Brookover “Mentors:  What Are They Good For?”, on

Priscilla Shontz “Be a Proactive Protege’”
(an excerpt from Jump Start Your Career in Library & Information Science) on

I shall continue to ask questions.

July 16, 2012

CPD Thing 10: Qualifications

Graduate Traineeship

I was able to do a traineeship straight after completing my first degree. It was at a law library. The role was a library assistant and I worked in a small team. This proved to be ideal as I had a very diverse role and was able to learn about the operations and functions of a library. The traineeship involved working on the front desk, dealing with enquiries, processing stock, housekeeping and other ad hoc duties. We were also able to go on visits to other libraries and training on legal research. I was able to determine very early on that I liked working in a library and was keen to join the profession and so I applied to do my Masters following the traineeship.


My degree was in Library and Information studies and provided a wide scope about the profession and gave me a solid foundation. I was able to establish areas of interest and have explored these since completing the degree. I have also drawn upon many aspects of the degree as part of my first professional post.

July 16, 2012

CPD Thing 9: Evernote

The benefits of using this tool seem to come through when working on a collaborative project that involves conducting research online. I can also see how in some cases it would be better to use this in place of bookmarking as such if a site is regularly updated and the bookmark does not return you the content you wish to view. I have also witness how this prove a good tool when you are travelling and need to carry documents and other vital information.

July 16, 2012

CPD Thing 8: Google calendar

This seems like a useful tool and I can see how it would be great for libraries that have a lot of public engagement. At present I have no need to use this for work purposes as the calendar tools provided by my employee has proved sufficient. I read the articles on how other libraries are using Google calendar and thought the email alerts were an interesting way for setting up reminders. I also still like to use a hard copy of a personal organiser.