My Job in 5: Vicki Clarke, Information assistant (graduate trainee), Kingston College

My Job in 5: Vicki Clarke, Information assistant (graduate trainee), Kingston College

Describe your role.

A graduate traineeship is designed to prepare you for a postgraduate course in librarianship, so as part of my job I do the things you traditionally associate with library assistants. For example, answering enquiries from students, issuing books and fixing the printer (or trying to), but I’m also involved with liaising with tutors to develop the collection and organising the journals circulation.

What is your favourite part of the role?

My favourite part is definitely the day to day interactions with the students. Helping someone to find the perfect resource for an assignment or discover a novel that they go on to love is really rewarding.

Which new books are you most excited to have on your shelves?

Malorie Blackman’s collection of short stories and extracts Love Hurts is wonderful. It brings together some of my favourite YA writers and it’s really great for introducing people to new authors. We also recently got Bali Rai’s Web of Darkness in. I think his books are brilliant for engaging reluctant readers.

What areas of change are libraries facing right now?

One of the biggest areas of change is the move from print to online texts. It’s a challenge to promote resources that are essentially hidden. Print books are obvious, but you have to work a little harder with e-books. Also, some e-book providers are still figuring out the best way to offer institutional subscriptions, especially to FE colleges, which don’t have the huge budget of a university.

What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?

Try to volunteer in as many different libraries as possible. Most people think of public or university libraries first, but law firms, banks, hospitals, broadcasters and so many other organisations have librarians (possibly by other names). By volunteering you can see which kind of librarianship suits you, gain skills and meet lots of wonderful people.