A day in the life of… A student mentor

A day in the life of


Hi, my name is Tahreem Tahir and I am a Library Support Assistant for the library and Student Mentor for the Learning and Teaching Team. I am also a third year Psychology student. I am based in the Curzon Library.

My key role in the library is to provide undergraduate and postgraduate students with one to one support regarding the library resources we provide. I have provided a programme of library sessions so students are able to access library materials efficiently. The support includes helping students explore strategies such as key words and search tips which can help them research the information in the library and externally. Through my role as a Library Support Assistant, I have helped out in the library by shelving/ sorting out books. This role has allowed help students find books and information about subjects they are unsure about.

Over the last few months, we have held drop-in sessions for students who are struggling with library resources. These drop-in sessions have allowed students to ask any question from us mentors about the library and in return we have showered them with coffee, cakes and chocolates!

Over the last 8 months, I have really enjoyed my role as a student mentor. Both roles have helped me interact with many students over different courses and different years. The roles combined has given me a chance to spread my knowledge about the library. These roles have also helped me guide first year students about information they are unsure about and has also allowed me to be there for third year students that may be struggling with stress due to their last year.

^Posted on behalf of Tahreem Tahir


A day in the life of… a Research Fellow

A day in the life of

I’ve really enjoyed reading the ‘Day in the Life’ posts from my other library colleagues, so am sharing my contribution. My role is a very unusual one so it’s probably not a typical library day in the life, but then maybe there isn’t a typical one really as our roles are so varied!

My job title is Research Fellow and I work in a small department within the library called Evidence Base, which is a research centre specialising in library and information services. I’m a chartered librarian and used to work as an academic librarian but now my role is one that predominantly supports other librarians rather than library users. Some of our research is for BCU Library and Learning Resources, but much of our work is external.

Our work is all project based, so the types of things I do vary depending on the projects I currently have on. At the moment I have three main external projects I split my time between, plus additional tasks to support BCU Library & Learning Resources. Below shows a snapshot of some of the things I worked on one day recently

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A day in the life of… a Library Assistant

A day in the life of

I’m Stephanie, a Library Assistant – as opposed to an Assistant Librarian or Faculty Librarian or any other kind of Librarian you may come across. I tend to think of the difference as like a Legal Secretary to a Lawyer or a Dental Assistant to a Dentist. Though, just to muddy the waters a bit, there are Library Assistants who happen to be qualified librarians too.

I’m currently based at the Conservatoire Music Library where my day can vary from sourcing and preparing the scores and printed music sets for nationwide or local orchestras and school choirs, to helping a young child from the Junior Department find a piece of music for his lesson from among our collection. Partnership working at its best 🙂 A library assistant role involves (but is not confined to) a lovely blend of customer service, admin, IT, marketing and advisory work and is definitely NOT limited to issuing and shelving books.

I know libraries are traditionally quiet places, and we do have areas that we keep for silent study. However, it’s not always possible here and it’s one of the things I love about the place, that you can be serving on the Help Desk but hear the Conservatoire students practising in the Adrian Boult Hall for one of their upcoming brilliant concerts (all of which are free to attend for BCU staff and students by the way). It’s never reached the levels of the old ‘Fame’ movie, but you do get occasional bursts of song from a student browsing the vocal section.

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A day in the life of… a Learning and Teaching Librarian

A day in the life of


Hello, I’m Janice and I have worked here at BCU for a little over 10 years.  I started as a Subject Librarian, based at the beautiful School of Art, supporting courses such as Fine Art and the Art-Based Masters Programme.  I now support courses across the Faculty of AD&M, as part of Library & Learning Resources’ Learning and Teaching Team.

My key role is to provide library induction and follow-up sessions to both undergraduate and postgraduate students.  Sessions can range from standing in front of 200 new first years and delivering a presentation about how the library can support them throughout their course, through to smaller computer workshops which enable participants to try out our resources for themselves.   The Learning and Teaching Team provide a programme of library sessions which academic tutors can incorporate into their course, so that we come along at the most appropriate time to support students’ research.  Such sessions see us helping students to develop a search strategy by considering keywords and highlighting search tips which can help them to get the best out of both library and external sources of information.  Our focus is to enable students to become independent researchers, who develop the knowledge and transferable skills to achieve the best results they can whilst at University, and beyond.

The Learning and Teaching team also support students with individual tutorials which can focus specifically upon the individual’s research, and help to develop a search strategy.  I particularly enjoy this aspect of my role as it gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience of using resources which can help the student to fully research their topic area – something which is essential at dissertation stage.  Not only do I find such tutorials personally satisfying, they are also very interesting and I find that I usually learn something from them too – whether they focus upon smart textiles or the concept of British values within contemporary photography.  Tutorial support is available to students at all levels of research, from foundation through to PhD, and can be booked via our Book a Tutorial page on ‘moodle’.

I also help to staff the Help Desk at both Curzon and Kenrick Libraries, so you may see me there from time to time.  Again, this is an aspect of my role which I really enjoy as you can find yourself being asked almost anything – takes me back to my days of working within a public library where you could really be asked anything…

Along with a small team of librarians, I help to look after our Twitter account which I feel is a really important area for Library & Learning Resources to engage with, to ensure that we reach as many students as possible through as many means of communication that we can.  Twitter and other social media is a useful place for us to share what we are up to with the rest of the library world, as well as borrowing other peoples’ ideas too.


Being based within Millennium Point, it is vital that I get out and about whenever I can to ensure that students and staff within AD&M remember who I am and what I can do for them.  I visit both the School of Art and School of Jewellery on a regular basis, so if you see me there just come along if you have a question or if you simply want to let me know what you think about the library service.  I usually spend a couple of hours every month during term-time at each site and often come bearing sweets and chocolates.  Forthcoming visits and events are advertised on Twitter and our online Subject Guides, so check there to see when I will next be visiting.

As well as advertising events and highlighting news within Library & Learning Resources, our Subject Guides are a really good starting point for your research.  Simply choose the guide which best fits your topic and have a look around it for suggestions of key resources for that area, in addition to contact details for the librarians who can support you further.


^Posted on behalf of Janice Wright

A day in the life of… an Enquiry Services Librarian

A day in the life of

I’m Laura, and I’m an Assistant Liaison Librarian in the Enquiries Team at Curzon Library.  We moved into Curzon Building in July 2015 and it was a busy first term of the year!

The Enquiries Team is one of three teams of librarians, the others being Learning and Teaching (the good folk who you’ll usually meet at inductions, literacy sessions and workshops) and Collection Management (they work hard to make sure you’ve got all the resources you need).  The Enquiries Team are normally the librarians you’ll see at the Help Desk and the people you’ll chat to online. We are a small team based at Curzon, Mary Seacole and Conservatoire Libraries.  We do our best to either answer your questions straight away or point you to the person who can help.

One of my favourite things about being an Enquiries librarian is that we’re a sort of jack-of-all-trades – at Curzon in particular we support a wide variety of subjects ranging from fashion to law, management to motorsports!  We run an online support service (Library Help) which means we can answer queries from any subject across the university.  It makes for an interesting day, especially when it’s busy.  The first two hours of my day are typically spent catching up with questions we received overnight both on Library Help and social media, scanning news and updates to make sure that we share important information with users, doing some of the behind-the-scenes admin work, and drinking plenty of tea (very important). The rest of the day is spent on the Help Desk or running the online chat service, and continuing the morning’s work.

I’ve got a keen interest in marketing and social media, so I’ve been working hard with colleagues to develop our Twitter account and this blog, and I’m seeing where else social media can take us in terms of engaging with users and marketing our services.  My colleagues have been experimenting with video and animation to improve this even further.  We run events such as the coffee and cake mornings, we produce publications, and we research to see what awesome things other university libraries are doing!

The sorts of queries we get asked are:

  • Where can I find information on…? This is where we need a good knowledge of different subjects and their resources. One minute you can be asked about company financial reports and the next you could be asked about images of rocks and gems – there’s a huge variety of subjects to deal with.
  • How do I reference…? Referencing can be tricky, but we can help with basic one-off queries and show students where to get in-depth support.
  • I’m writing an essay on… This is where we demonstrate the basic search tools that are available, explain different ways of accessing things, and try a few sample searches. For more in-depth assignment/subject help we refer to our Learning and Teaching colleagues for a longer one-to-one tutorial.

It’s a great job, and I’d like to think we spend much of our time trying to make things easier for our students. That way they can spend less time worrying how to find information for assignments, and more time enjoying the University experience.