Thursday, 5 July 2018

It started with a move ...

... never thought it would come to this!! A rare blog post on, ummmm, cataloguing, well, librarianship, and all things related!

Many years ago our cataloguing team were based in the library, until we were moved out to a nearby building: for the life of me I can't remember why, especially as I was on maternity leave at the time of the move. I do remember being told it was only for a year or so ...

9 years later we moved back into the library. It took us about 3 months of discussions, floor plans, moving desk / drawer / cupboard icons on bits of paper, before we came up with a workable office layout for our new office - in the basement of the library. What? Well, where else would you expect to find a cataloguing team?! Once we were installed, we made the space work or us and our processes. After a couple of years, we did some subtle move arounds when our "sister" team moved out. And it's stayed like this for quite some time. 

During our time in the basement, and as a result of many other things (including, but not exclusively, the HVCats initiative, the preparation for the coming of RDA, the move from OPACs to discovery systems) it became [even more] apparent that few colleagues actually  knew or understood what happened in a cataloguing department, and for cataloguers themselves, it was felt that the role was changing somewhat. Even when we were based in that other building, we realised the importance of promoting ourselves and our work, and so we initiated the Open Morning series of events which are still on-going today.

Our first foray into Open Mornings was a huge learning curve. It attracted a huge audience, and we found that some of our work was so complex that it took far longer to explain and do it justice than we had allowed for. To overcome this issue, subsequent events were themed, and the topics reduced, or targetted. Participants on our Open Mornings are always treated to something different: so in 2013 everyone received a party bag and copies of the READ-ability Initiative and PIC Project leaflets, whilst at the last event attendees received a #delaytheonsetofdementia -related item and swanky updated versions of READ-ability and PIC. Not sure what will the next event will bring, yet!!!

Where am I going with this? Ah, yes, to another building! Yes, cataloguing are again moving to another building, but this time we are in the good company of many other library colleagues. Open Mornings will take a different approach as some of our operations are split over two floors of the new building, and also in the library. Interesting times, as they say!

Interesting times also, happening over at the CILIP Conference. I must admit, I've surprised myself by feeling a tinge of envy of those who are in attendance. In truth, I haven't been to a full CILIP conference since about 2001, in Manchester (not a particularly easy place to get to), and I had great fun. I have more recently been to a couple of CIG conference (which I have to admit, were even more fun!!!) and had a thoroughly great time, but in all honesty, I haven't actually done much cataloguing since those exciting days when we moved to RDA. 

When looking at this year's CILIP conference programme, I must admit, my out-of-work activities (gosh, that sounds awful!!! but what I mean is mostly my local history stuff - being on the committee of the Loughborough Archaeological and Historical Society, an Honorary Member of the Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers, a local tour guide, blogging weekly about Loughborough, writing a book - as well as trying to keep reasonably fit, etc., etc., etc.) seemed to be occupying much of my mind and my time, and I really thought I was feeling less committed to the profession than I had been, but on reflection, I've found this really isn't the case! 

Yes, the fact that we're moving to another building, changing our working practices (you'll be surprised to learn that we are finally going to go shelf-ready - and you'll be surprised we already aren't!), yes, we are finally doing away with bits of coloured paper, and we're taking on new services etc. have all been occupying my work time, as well as following discussions on RDA and other library-wide issues, so I am committed, and would probably still get a lot out of the CILIP conference, despite the slow, relentless crawl towards retirement! I still have much to learn (whoever stops learning??), but I hope I still have a little bit to offer the profession.

Talking of "little", according to my Twitter replies, a good boss is bossy and contrary, as well as being determined, wise and kind! I'm hoping this describes me, but feel I need to add the following little miss-tree: