In the first of series of intermittent posts throughout 2015, we are highlighting our wonderful staff. Karin is the first to tell a wider audience about how she contributes to our excellent library service in one of our site libraries.
A couple of months ago, I had the good fortune of getting a job at the Health Services Library (HSL), a University of Southampton site library, at Southampton General Hospital. I moved from working in the interlibrary loans team at the Hartley Library to become Senior Library Assistant in Loans. I now oversee the loans desk and work with the front line team to deliver the loans service.
Moving from Hartley Library to the HSL was an interesting change in many ways, not just in terms of the role I was fulfilling.
Our client group in the Health Services Library is very different to what you will find at Hartley. The most obvious difference is that at least half of our client group is made up of qualified NHS staff: doctors, nurses, radiographers, etc. The other half is made up of medical students and some nursing students doing their placements. This gives the library a quieter, less frenetic feel because the people using this space are here to study and do not see the library as a space for socialising.
That said, one of the biggest and most significant differences between the two libraries is size – in lay terms Hartley is huge and HSL isn’t. This has some fascinating ramifications: for example I am now on first name terms with many of the clientele here at HSL. I know something of their studies or their work. Many of the clientele know the staff here by name and will sometimes stop at the desk for a quick chat, just to say hello. This means that all the staff here are much closer to the users and can offer a precisely tailored service.
Another difference between working in a smaller library is the work – not so much what we do but how we do it. We offer most of the same services that Hartley offers, plus many that are specific to the NHS clientele. However, because the team here is much smaller and our roles and remits tend to overlap much more, as well as the fact that we work closely together geographically, we all have a very good understanding of each other’s jobs and actually fulfil some aspects of each other’s roles at different times. This has meant that I now have a much clearer idea of how all the different jobs fit together to create a single service and how a change in one area might affect another.
Without a doubt – I had a lot of fun at Hartley and made some good friends there. That said, I enjoy the personal and closer knit environment of HSL and feel quite privileged to be part of this incredible, up-beat team.