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Working from home

Page history last edited by Fiona O'Brien 13 years, 5 months ago

Library day in the life project 6


I work as Academic Liaison and Training Manager at the University of Westminster and have been here for just under 18 months, following a re-organisation and the creation of my post. I manage a team of eighteen librarians and four IT training specialists. We are at an interesting moment just now, with several refurbishment projects underway and potential to develop our role as part of these in the context of evolving teaching and learning practices and not least also due to technology - 23 things is also key to this.

At the time of writing I am recovering from a recent operation on my foot and am housebound. Because I am no longer a frontline librarian but a manager and thanks to technology, this does not preclude me from most of my duties - the most obvious being that I'm not attending face to face meetings at the moment.  Even so, Skype also allows a restricted version of that too. Thus, for most of the working day, I am sitting on the sofa, my right leg extended on a chair, laptop on lap, writing and responding to emails. Even a few years ago I'm not sure this would have been possible.

Here are the themes that have kept me occupied this week:


  • Working with training consultant who is facilitating a session with the team next month to establish Myers-Briggs Type Indicators
  • Liaising with colleagues in order to respond to feedback from the Students Union about our newly introduced resource discovery system, Library Search
  • Emailling team leaders at sites where refurbishment is imminent and following up conversation by phone and email
  • Attending a team meeting via Skype
  • Arranging and confirming budget allocations by email
  • Commenting on a colleague's written assignment


  • Responding to email from colleague on maternity leave
  • Dealing with a couple of personnel issues: additional hours; training requests
  • Liaising with web editor regarding page revisions
  • Drafting a revised filing system for shared drives to reflect the team's workplan - for consultation and discussion at a meeting later in the week
  • Contacted a potential speaker, an academic at City University, for our team event scheduled for June, the theme for which is likely to be research.
  • Planning schedule for induction sessions for January cohort of PhD researchers and liaising with Research Office to confirm their requirements


  • Tracking down article about value of library services then ordering from CILIP.  It turned out to focus on public libraries but it did remind me of the BL cost:value ratio of 1:4 (i.e. for every £1 the service costs it provides £4 value to users)
  • Contacted a colleague elsewhere about ways in which they have addressed disruption to students during building work so we can share good practice
  • Reviewed and commented on minutes of Monday's meeting
  • Responded to concerns about facilities for disabled students in our refurbishment plans (I am responsible for services and facilities for disabled students within our division)
  • Drafted an email update for Directors or Learning, Teaching and Quality about the team's work and circulated for comment from senior team members


  • Most of the day spent reviewing our web pages  for currency and accuracy in order to propose a new distributed system for editorial maintenance 
  • An email enquiry to our team discussion list surfaced some useful resources for information literacy sessions and broke the sameness of  days spent reading and writing only 
  • Systems team reported solution to one of the Library Search issues raised by the Students' Union on Monday - hurrah


  • Continued and refined website audit
  • Reviewed copy for Essential Tutor's Guide on the role and services of my team
  • Made arrangements for the removal of my effects from Harrow site to the West End
  • Chaired a meeting of team leaders via Skype: two hours without a technological glitch 


Previously, when reading the weekend newspapers, I found that Charlie Brooker studied at Westminster and it occurs to me we might invite him (and other graduates) to write a guest piece for our blogs. Something to pursue next week....

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