Thursday, 30 September 2010

Ironically, I can't think of a name for this post.

Working in a building containing tens of thousands of books, authors' names and book titles are in front of me every day. Maybe I'm childishly simple but when I'm checking through a reading list sometimes some names make me stop and smile. Some of the most awesome names I've seen this month:

Sluglett, McPhail, Blinkhorn, Colin Yallop, Mugglestone, Scoffin, Odd Arne Westad (poor old Arnie, he never had a chance...), co-authors Scnhackenburg and Schneewind, and my absolute favourite first name ever..*drumroll please*....FRISBEE C. C. SHEFFIELD.

A moment of silence please for the awesomeness of that name.

Thank you.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Banned Books Week

This week is Banned Books Week, so a good time to celebrate our freedom to read, and try a controversial (or in some cases seemingly innocuous) book that has been banned at some point. Here's a handy wikipedia list of many such books, and a list of the 100 most banned books as recorded by the ALA.

The times, they are a-changin'.

I think I can say that the quiet, vacation library I've known for the last 3 weeks is going to be gone starting tomorrow. On Monday some workmen are coming in to install wireless (yay!), on Wednesday we have a film crew coming in, and meanwhile we will be starting doing induction tours for the new graduates. All this will be going on, but actually I'll be missing most of it to go on my first course in MARC 21 which is a 3 day course, and then on Friday I'll be off to London to CILIP's new professionals information day (which if you're not going to you can follow along on twitter: #NPID2010).

Last week I spent making the graduates readers tickets, trying to get some cataloguing practice in before the course, putting my first CUP order through and being shown how to lyfguard paperback books (although when the person showing me how to do it finishes sticking and cutting and says "there!" *turns the books over to the other side* "...oh god.", I'm not filled with hope for when I actually do it myself!) Lyfguarding is basically covering the book with protective sticky-back plastic, a la Blue Peter, and as I've found out, newly lyfguarded books have very sharp corners! (ouch...)

As this weekend was Alumni Weekend, we had several alumni in on Thursday and Friday to look around the library, and two of them seperately commented on how warm the library was compared to how chilly it was when they were studying. One lady said to me "this used to be a two-jersey-and-a-coat library!" I'm glad times have changed...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Bits and bobs from today

An update on the archaeology dig - it turns out that Newnham College was built on a previously unknown Roman village, very exciting! You can read the article here.

This morning we closed the library office and all went to a talk at Wolfson College on the university's medical library. Anna Jones who organised it had asked if one of us from Newnham could take notes, and I'd volunteered so I was scribbling away! Peter Morgan, the librarian, gave us an introduction to the medical library - as part of the UL they're getting a constant stream of new journals from the legal-deposit system, but they're taking up a lot of space and are barely being used so they are trying to get rid of any that are unused or duplicated in electronic copy (amazingly they got rid of 18,000 journal volumes in 2008, Peter showed us a picture of the massive skip that they filled twice). After a biscuit break, Isla Kuhn, reader services librarian, showed us some of the online resources medical students would be using, mainly PubMed. She also quickly ran through a demo of EndnoteWeb, which I wish someone would have told us about at Nottingham! Seems like I've wasted many hours writing out bibliographies and footnotes...

This afternoon I've been doing some cataloguing for a bit of practice before my course next week, and Sarah came by to visit us before she starts her Masters at UCL. I also got my university card! YES. Finally after 3 weeks!

(Also, yesterday I posted about it being the Hobbit's birthday, but I failed to mention that it was ALSO Stephen King's birthday. Happy birthday Mr King, I'm sorry.)

Aww come on, don't be mad.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Not quite eleventy-first...

...but the Hobbit was published 73 years ago today. Just thought I should let you know, with the name of my blog being what it is and all.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Aquabrowser and Archaeology

This morning I went to a presentation on the university's new catalogue search tool, Library Search, which uses the Aquabrowser interface. While it's not going to replace our old search tool, Newton, straight away, it sounds like it's going to be phased in over the next year or so. I was pretty impressed with the presentation, and although they made it clear that there are still some problems with it and it's not perfect by any means, there are several things that I think are going to be really good about it.

One of the main aims of Library Search is to promote discovery when using the catalogue, so it uses some kind of word association to nudge users towards books on similar topics, and there's an optional word cloud which will hopefully do more than just look pretty.

The MyDiscoveries feature sounded great, users will be able to tag books themselves and comment on them, and you'll be able to see comments not just from Cambridge libraries but from any other libraries using Aquabrowser (including Harvard, Chicago, RICE, and York universities). Apparently it's bringing in tags, comments and also star ratings from LibraryThing too which will be cool. I like the fact that when the first Cambridge students start using this, there will already be comments, tags and ratings up there.

The main bad news for me is that just after learning to use Newton I now need to learn how to use Library Search, but I guess everyone will be learning to use that together.

I met Jen, the Murray Edwards trainee, at the presentation, we didn't really get a chance to talk but we're all meeting up on Tuesday after work so that will be good to get to know the others!

After the presentation we came back to the library, did some work, had lunch, then went outside to look at the digging going on in the gardens!

In World War II when they were digging to put in an air raid shelter, they found some human skeletons. Throughout the week, about 20 sixth form students, as well as some archaeologists from the college, have been digging two trenches where the shelter was, to try and find any more skeletons, or anything else interesting! So far they haven't got deep enough to find skeletons (they've only dug out 18 tons of earth, the slackers!), but they have found lots of bits of pottery of all shapes and sizes going back to Roman times, tiles, bricks, glass, and several bits of bone including one possible human finger bone! I took a few pictures, trying out my phone camera which turned out to be not great but not terrible either *shrug*.

There were two trenches a few metres apart from each other, and it was quite interesting to see the difference between the things dug up in trench 1 and in trench 2. You probably can't see in these pictures though!          

I might go back on friday to see how much deeper they've got and what kind of stuff they've uncovered by then!

Tomorrow I have a Cambridge Library Group meeting after work, then Rory is coming to stay for a couple of days, before we both go back home at the weekend, I'll be lending my *ahem* sharp young mind *ahem* to the parents' quiz team hehe :)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Open Cambridge

Open Cambridge was days ago sez you, better late than never sez I. (Also I'm waiting for an episode of House to buffer.)

So last Friday was the first day of the two day event Open Cambridge. Loads of things normally closed to the public were opened up for the two days, all sorts of things that I didn't get a chance to go to like the fire station, the behind the scenes bits of John Lewis and the crematorium (which my brochure handily told me was unsuitable for those of a nervous disposition!). However luckily for me, this also included loads of the university libraries, and Debbie suggested I take the morning to go round a few of them. Just across the road from Newnham is the Sidgwick site, and as three of the libraries on the list were there, I decided to visit those three.

First up, the Radzinowicz Library of Criminology. I went on a walk round the library, which has loads of art on the walls that's been done by prisoners, which was kind of half "bowl of fruit and a bottle of wine" type still life, and half the kind of art Phoebe from Friends would make. Then I went over to look at the display they'd put out for the open day, they had a collection of letters from the serial murderer John George Haigh, also known as the "Acid Bath Murderer". Being a somewhat macabre person I found these really interesting, heheh.

Next, I moved on to the Modern and Medieval Languages Library, which was basically next door. They didn't have any displays but the librarians there were more than happy for me to wander around and ask them questions. When I (eventually) get my university card I should be able to get books out from faculty libraries so I'll maybe be getting some more french books out from here!

On my way out of the MML library I saw a figure in the distance waving at me which materialised into Sarah, who had just been to the Pendlebury Library of Music where I was headed, and was on her way to the two I'd just done. The music library was nicely familiar*, and I gave a mental wave to George Grove as I passed his 29 volume dictionary! Chatting to the music librarians was very helpful, as that would be something I'd be interested in going into. I also gathered up a load of concert season programmes and leaflets so I'll have plenty of things to go to (if I ever end up being in Cambridge at a weekend that is!)

Finally I went back to Newnham to get ready for our own Open Cambridge. We were doing more of an organised tour kind of thing, people booked places on a tour round the college and gardens, and stopped in at the library on the way. We (mainly Jo) had made a display of books by Newnham authors, including Sylvia Plath, Germaine Greer, and my own favourite, Emma Thompson. Anne had put out some archive photos of Newnham, and of course there was the ring with Charlotte Bronte's hair in...

Ignoring the fact I'm totally biased, I'd have to say we put on the best Open Cambridge of all the libraries I saw on Friday! Can we collect our prize now? No? Oh well. I'll just settle for watching my House :)

He was an Emma Thompson fan too, if you know what I mean.

*On a side note, speaking of things being familiar, I went to reshelve a new Miles Davis book I'd just finished processing, and found the right place on the shelf, just next to a book by Mervyn Cooke! It's like I never left Nottingham...

Monday, 13 September 2010

A valid question.

What one or two of the tickets may have looked like.
*A situation that will probably arise in early October*

New Student: "Why does my readers ticket look like it was made by a drunk two year old?!"
Me: "Because I made it when I was still knackered after an AWESOME weekend!"

This weekend was my best friend from primary school, Laura's hen weekend, which was incredibly fun, and very silly, and involved a kind of scavenger hunt with challenges and games along the way all around Canterbury and the surrounding woods and beaches :) Someone described it as being like Challenge Anneka but with crammed into small cars instead of helicopters! (We didn't have jumpsuits but we did have silly hats - it was a Where's Wally theme!)

Laura's friend Rosie had made some cool clues which Laura had to follow from place to place around the city and then out towards our hostel, and at each place there was a challenge such as:

Seeing who could make the most bubbles brushing their teeth...

 Making beautiful wedding dresses for the bride and the maid of honour out of toilet paper...

And doing a real life Where's Wally, AKA hide and seek in Blean Woods :) Then all off to the beach, hurray!

 The evening was really fun as well, with a BBQ, and then when it started raining, lots of games in our room at the hostel. On sunday morning we had a walk in the woods around about, and then drove to the beach and had fish and chips for lunch :) (using fish in the most general term, as I certainly did NOT have fish).

And then a horrendous drive back where it took us AN HOUR AND A HALF to get the 8 miles to the M2...

....but it was totally worth it! Now roll on the wedding!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Once you do something, you never forget. Even if you can't remember.

Go and watch some Miyazaki films :D
I'm going to watch the Hayao Miyazaki film Spirited Away tonight, one of my favourite films. When I've watched anime films, I prefer having the English voice over dub rather than have it in Japanese with subtitles which would be Rory's choice. I find it distracting otherwise. But then I've been reading Harry Potter in french which I've found surprisingly easy, and after the first couple of sentences I've forgotten I'm reading in french and it's fine. I guess I didn't forget as much as I thought ^^

I'm getting very impatient to get my university card now, not just so I can get in the carpark and get out of the building at night but because I need it to check out library books and I keep seeing books at work that I want to borrow! Hurry up tutorial office!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

In which they let me loose with purchase orders!

This week so far has been pretty interesting, I've learnt to do a lot of new things at work, and I'm slowly but surely getting used to the layout of the library, I'm still being quite slow at reshelving books but I think I'm getting the hang of where most things belong!

Yesterday after work I went with Debbie and Jo to the University Library for the launch of a new video explaining how the library system in Cambridge works. There were a lot of other Cambridge librarians there and we met up with Sarah (last year's graduate trainee). There was wine and nibbles, all very civilised ^^ I actually found the video really helpful, as it is kind of confusing with so many libraries! The video is here if you're interested. (There, doing my bit to plug it!) It was also good to be going to the UL as I'm going to be having a few training courses there, the first one in a couple of weeks time, so now I know how to find it!

Apart from that, this week I've learnt how to: order new books from the bookseller Dawson, process new books that have come in (getting them ready to go out on the shelves), and today Jo and I were adding all the new college undergraduates to the Voyager cataloguing system. This was a pretty slow process, and the system seemed unneccessarily complicated! But we finished just before we went home today so that's good. Just the post-grads to do now!

I had a great weekend in London, saw the cast of Hair in all their last-night glory, met some 'interesting' characters in the queue for the prom, and got to see Rosie's new flat which is very nice. Rory came up on the train last night which was a nice unexpected treat :)

I entered this in Pioneer Woman's funny photos competition today, what do you think?

Saturday, 4 September 2010

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door... step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. (Bilbo Baggins)

And that's roughly how I ended up writing my first blog post in several years.

I started my graduate trainee programme at Newnham College library on Wednesday, and I heard all about the Cam23 programme that Debbie, Jo and Sarah had been involved in. (Well done Sarah for the best blog title award for A Delve in the Shelves). To complete the programme, each librarian had to blog as they learnt about each new Thing. It sounded like a great programme and I hope they run it again at some point. (I'm aware I said the word 'programme' over 9000 times in that paragraph. I just hope I got the right spelling.)

Adding the new blogs I discovered from Debbie's recommendations, I'm following about 50 blogs on my google reader (mainly foodie blogs including the incredible Pioneer Woman but also a fair few librarians including the Swiss Army Librarian and one of my favourites, Love the Liberry). So I figured it was about time to start my own! has been very good so far, even managed a little party with cake and wine for Tony, the head gardner who turned 60 on Thursday :D I've been going through the reading lists sent to us by all the faculties and checking them against our catalogue to see whether we have the books in the library, if not finding out the prices and sending them back to the DoSs. Free lunches at the buttery means I'm just having a sandwich or some soup for dinner, spending less money at expensive waitrose! *fist bump*

This afternoon I'm going to London, not to buy a Heat magazine but to see Rosie, go to see Hair and I've been told there's a distinct possibility I'll be dancing on the stage with flowers in my hair? We'll have to wait and see. Depending on whether we feel like queueing we might go to the afternoon prom tomorrow. Good weekend times ahead!