I started working in the Jefferson Library at what was then Central Manchester & Manchester Children’s Hospitals (CMMC), in May of 2005, I was employed as a part-time Library Assistant, and this was my first experience of working in a library, let alone a health library. I came from the world of import/export and dealing with TV infomercials, so this was very different!
I joined a team of 2 Librarians and 2 other Library Assistants, who covered the 3 site libraries, which were St. Mary’s, the Lister Library (Royal Eye Hospital) and the Jefferson Library (MRI), our Head of Library Services at that time, who was Chris Thornton.
The Jefferson Library was housed in the Postgraduate Centre, a beautiful old library, although not particularly practical – from our library office, I watched our new library being built across in the old car park and in 2008 we moved in to our new library, which brought together the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospitals, the Royal Eye Hospital and Pendlebury Children’s Hospital under one roof.
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen, is the use of more technology, when I first joined the library, all the library assistants shared one generic email address, there were no shared drives, no online Union List, the holdings list was held in print, and all requests were photocopied and sent out via post, or if it was very urgent request, we could fax the article to the requesting library, waiting to dial up into the Artel system to send British Library requests.
A far cry from today where we send requests via our LMS, and supply articles via email in a matter of minutes, where it used to take days.
Our marketing consisted of a monthly library bulletin including a list of new stock, this was then printed and sent out in the internal post, as were our overdue notifications, now we have social media for marketing, an SMS system for sending out reminders, and an LMS app that readers can use to renew their books, check the catalogue and to make general email enquiries.
In 2014 we had a change of guard, a new Head of Library Services, a new way of thinking and new possibilities…..
In 2015 I was promoted to Senior Library Assistant, with responsibility for supervising 3 Library Assistants, taking care of library/IT systems and statistics, as well as the day to day running of the counter/ILL service.
And here we are in 2021. One thing that hasn’t changed is our wish to support our users and give the best possible service. In the last 12 months, we’ve said goodbye to several members of staff who have retired (we will have that retirement doo!), we’ve had to adapt our services to meet the needs of both staff and users, home working, Zoom meetings, virtual training, and we are still giving the service that our users have come to expect, and they appreciate it, and we appreciate them!
Senior Library Assistant
Manchester Royal Infirmary
Trafford General Hospital
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust