So it has been about a solid 6 months into my traineeship and I have been making good progress into all my duties. So, I thought it would a good idea to document a typical week in my traineeship at Kew.
Bright and early into the office this morning and first on the agenda is changing the book display. This gets done about every two weeks but considering the fact that I have been cataloguing so many new books and now it is the end of the financial year, the inflow of new books is scarce. Nonetheless, there is still a pretty good variety of books and journals present.
Next on the list of my many duties is retro-cataloguing some serials from the South American region. The majority so far have been completely in Portuguese or Spanish with a few in English. Not being a native speaker when cataloguing can sometimes be problematic. Especially when identifying if the publisher is an important institute, government body or society, which should be named as corporate author responsibility in the 710 MARC21 field.
After a much needed tea break to keep me awake, I am on the enquiry desk for a two hour shift from 11am-1pm. As a closed-book library for external visitors I would usually take telephone enquiries, schedule visitors onto the calendar to alert other enquiry desk staff and generally communicate with roaming Kew staff. Thankfully today there were no expected visitors, so no real supervision to do. This is nice because the reading room quiet enough to get on with some work. Usually this would be cataloguing but today I was checking through previous catalogued records for mistakes. This can be tedious but important to ensure that the record is as accurate as possible. With all the mass cataloguing (about 10 books or serials) I like to do in a day, there is a lot of room for human error. Alas! Trust me to find that I forgot to fill in the physical description field for one record. However, it all part of the learning process and I know with the fewer mistakes brought to my attention, the better I am becoming as a cataloguer.
Another piece of work to do while on the enquiry desk is a spot of spine labelling. Oh how I enjoy the buzzing noise of the “LabelManager450”machine, the sticky labels which I snip down to size and reinforce with some special magic tape. After good hour of this, the excitement of a little arts and craft quickly goes but it is good distraction from the computer screen. The rest of my day will undoubtedly be spent going through my project but I can talk about that another time.