Saturday, January 9, 2010

First week back

Happy New Year All!

I hope Christmas proved relaxing and enjoyable. I'm afraid I spent a chunk of my Christmas break wrapped in a blanket on the sofa with a chest infection and antibiotics, but, lucky me, I recovered just in time to go back to work! 

The snow is gorgeous here, and the bus route to work has been transformed from grey roads and rows of boring houses to a really quite impressive blankety whiteness. This is the view from my living room window this morning:

I suspect snowmen are going to appear later on today's agenda :-)

My new job is now starting to take shape, the restructure at Warwick over the summer saw me move from my established post as Science Information Assistant working with Subject Librarians to support the Science and Medicine faculties, into a newly created post as Enquiry Support Officer setting up and managing the brand new Enquiry Support Team which was created in the restructuring. 

Being a new team and a new service everything has started pretty much from scratch, which has been, and continues to be, a great opportunity to shape the way the service runs. It has also meant that the basics have not been in place so everything from rotas and stats collation to policy and proceedure and whole service models were/are still "missing".

The team came into existence on October 1st 2009 and since then we have been working hard to provide key services (such as basic enquiry email management, face to face support through use of a kind of "roving" service and also basic User Ed sessions) whilst also doing all the behind-the-scenes setting up and getting development projects off the ground. It's been hectic to say the least, especially as, until this week there were only 2 of us full time plus 4 students helping out for a few hours a week each during term time.

My first week back at work has been incredibly productive, and has seen the completion of several ongoing things that I have been trying to organise for some time now, such as the ordering of new uniforms for the Library Advisors in line with our library branding and the set up of an Information Point with a networked PC near the Library foyer so that Library Advisors can have a base to work from and meet students, with access to the internet etc. (to  go live on Monday - first day of Term 2).

In the hope that we can soon implement, not only a more flexible roving service allowing hand-held access to the OPAC etc. (see Jo Alcocks recent post for thoughts on this), but also an SMS service which allows students to request that a member of staff goes to meet them at a given point in the building (for example to address disruptive student behaviour, or assist with use of microfiche readers) I have recently submitted a recommendation to management requesting the purchase of a Nokia E72 which is not the ideal choice but is the best option available given the phone contracts and internal tech support available to us. If and when the smartphone appears I will make sure I write a post on how it is working.

Best of all, Thursday this week saw the arrival of a new member of Enquiry Support staff so we are now closer to a full compliment and things should start to settle and take more shape over the rest of this academic year.

Thursday and Friday saw 2 half days of training for the team (which was something else I had been working to arrange before Christmas). It included a really useful overview of advanced features of our OPAC delivered by Data Services staff, such as the Saved Lists and Alerts functionality, exporting bib details to reference management software and accessing data from Worldcat, Google Books and Amazon from the OPAC interface. 

Friday also allowed our first real team meeting and loads of ideas were generated, useful issues raised and training and resource needs identified.

All in all it's been a hectic and very useful start to the New Year and I am now looking forward to Monday, and the start of term, and the opportunity to clarify our service model, start putting more things into practice and look at additional future developments. 

How have you spent you first week back at work? 
How is 2010 shaping up for your team?

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