Sunday, 22 January 2012

Placement: Cambridge University Library

The second part of my work experience placement was in the Music Department at Cambridge University Library.

Working at the UL, everyone seems to agree, is very different from working at any other library. It is a legal deposit library, but unlike the British Library or the Bodleian which keep a lot of their material offsite, everything at the UL is onsite, and much of this is on open shelves.This does mean that the library is almost continuously being extended. In one of the most recent extensions, the Aoi Pavillion has sprung up on the side of the Anderson Room (the reading room for music) and so now the music office has windows on two sides, and the staff fetch books for both music and East Asian studies.
By TheRevSteve on Flickr
While I was there I did quite a bit of cataloguing of music (literature on music is sent the Cataloguing Department where there are sections for English and Foreign Language Cataloguing). I've done some of this before at Newnham but now had the very helpful Margaret on hand to tell me what I've been doing wrong, and to guide me through some of the things that are different about cataloguing at the UL.

At most libraries the books you receive are mostly things the librarians have decided they want, and have ordered. You get donations which are sometimes...less than useful, but you can usually either sell them or give them away or just not accept them if you don't want them. However in a legal deposit library there is a constant stream of sometimes strange things coming in which have to be kept, and dealt with! Some is academic literature and will be useful for the students, so gets catalogued and goes out on the shelf. Others, such as Aled Jones' Favourite Christmas Carols or The Very Best of Adele for Ukulele are classed as secondary literature and go down in the stacks. And sorry Mum, but we put Michael Bublé: Onstage Offstage down there too.

I was in the music office for the majority of the time, but I also got the chance to look around a couple of other departments too. I was given a tour of the Periodicals Department by Clive Simmonds, and had a really interesting chat with Patricia Killiard, head of Electronic Services and Systems. I feel like I've packed rather a lot into two short weeks!

1 comment:

  1. Not just the best of Adele, but the *Very* Best of Adele for Ukulele. Love it!