Working as a Collection Access Assistant

During my first semester of studying my Masters in Information and Technology I managed to get a contract position working part-time as a collection access assistant at QUT’s Gardens Point Library. Whilst working there I learnt a lot of things and gained some valuable experiences. Fortunately, the staff I worked with, including my direct supervisors and the branch library manager, Helen Hobbs, were all supportive of my goal to become a well-rounded and successful librarian and wanted me to gain as much as possible from my short stay there. I was allowed to shadow both the Business Liaison Librarian and the Science and Engineering Librarians to find out what they do on a daily basis. I also was able to spend some time on the Learning and Research Desk where I could utilise my customer service skills. Overall my time as a collection access assistant has given me valuable experience and helped me grow as an information professional.

I learnt many different jobs and systems at Gardens Point Library as a collection access assistants. These include working in returns where I learnt how to use the millennium computer system to process the incoming books. I was able to successfully follow prompts and clear sanctions, put books onto the hold shelf and identify books designated for Kelvin Grove, Document Delivery or Course Materials. Another job that I successfully learnt was sending documents via document delivery using the Ariel Scanner. I also was able to spend a couple of shifts doing Document Delivery. At the end of my time there I understood the whole process of Document Delivery, from receiving the requested from different students/universities, finding the correct document and scanning and forwarding it to the client. I learnt how to use LADD to process the requests and reply to the universities. I also used LADD extensively when I had a list of damaged books and had to determine if the same books were held at any other universities. Other duties I completed on a daily basis was shelving books, which helped me become familiar with the dewy decimal system, tidying the library, making labels for books and sorting out the serials. A lot of the times my shifts were made up of shelving books, especially towards the end of the semester. I had to work together with my colleagues to get all the books shelved efficiently. All of these tasks that I completed were important behind the scenes customer service jobs that helped give the clients the best experiences possible regarding the QUT Library services.

Whilst working at Gardens Point Library I was also able to spend a couple of hours on the Learning and Research Desk. This was an enjoyable experience as I shadowed Library Advisor Amanda Perrins and was able to ask her questions about her job. I saw what kind of queries came through the desk, such as sanctions, document delivery pick ups and lending questions. Amanda also advised me that they experience a lot of referencing questions also particularly Endnote questions. During my time on the desk I was able to utilise my customer service skills and help some clients with their queries. Working in this section of the library highlighted to me how much I enjoy helping people with their queries and that this particular role is something I will aim for in the future as I can utilise my proficient customer service skills and grow as an information professional.

I was also fortunate enough to spend two shifts shadowing the liaison librarians from both the Business Team and the Science and Engineering Team. The librarians from the Business team took me through their individual roles with the three of them having their own tasks such as ordering, research and classes. I was able to attend a vendor meeting with the librarian in charge ordering. The vendor was from Alexander Street Press and the meeting was regarding updating the current librarians with their new additions to their video database. It was very interesting as they explained as each video was transcribed you could search the transcripts and then by clicking on the area in the transcript you were interested in it would start the video from this section. We found out that they don’t have many videos relating to Business but they were still expanding as my Liaison Librarian was very interested in it they would make it a priority to build this topic for the library. Shadowing the Business team also introduced me to study guides which the librarians put together for students to help them with their units. These seem very important and interesting to put together as they include videos, pictures, links and text.

Spending time with the Science and Engineering Team allowed me to do some actual work. Using a particular data base I went through all their articles relating to Environmental engineering in order of how often they were viewed by others. I then looked them up on the QUT catalogue and made a list of all the articles and journals that are popular in the engineering world but that QUT doesn’t currently hold. The appropriate Liaison librarian would use my list to see if they should purchase any of these articles for the QUT collection. Shadowing and working with the Liaison Librarians gave me great insight into their duties and reinforced my goal of becoming a successful librarian like them.

I have also attached my completed Performance Planning  and Review for Professional Staff. This was completed at the end of my contract at QUT Gardens Point where I worked as a collections access assistant for semester 1, 2012.

QUT – Collection Access PPR[1]

Overall my time at Gardens Point Library as a collection access assistant was hugely beneficial to me. I learnt many new skills and gained some valuable insight into various roles that are played by the staff in the library. It has reinforced my desire to become a librarian and given me some further goals regarding becoming an information professional.


Go back to Part D – Professional at Work


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