My name is Amy Clancy and I am documenting my year as a Graduate Library and Knowledges Trainee with Greater Manchester Mental Health and Cheshire Wirral Partnership.
It’s hard to believe that I’m now over half way through my graduate trainee year. The past six months have been a crash course in everything health library related, and it’s always funny to read my old blog posts before writing a new one and see how much I’ve learned since then! This will be my first blog post in three months, so there’s a lot to update and reflect on. I’ve also included a list of online resources that have helped me this year at the end of this post.
Having spent the last four months dividing my time between two organisations, I feel I’ve gained a good understanding of library services’ roles within an NHS Trust. NHS libraries tend to sit in an interesting middle-ground between clinical and corporate services, and need to have both parts of the organisation in mind when delivering their services. Working for two libraries, one which is part of a health and wellbeing team, the other which sits within corporate services, has been an eye opening experience, and has showed me the breadth of health libraries’ abilities to support their staff from various parts of the organisation. One of the things that I found most challenging at the start of this year was regularly meeting staff with a wide range of job roles and often feeling like they were speaking a different language. If there are any new starters within the NHS reading this – it gets easier to understand all the jargon and acronyms! There are resources that can help with this, however, day-to-day life has been the best tool for picking things up, and one of the most enjoyable parts of my role so far has been learning more about the different ways that the NHS works.
Some of the key projects I’ve been working on recently include weeding the collections at both CWP and GMMH. Both of these processes have been very different. Since CWP doesn’t have a physical library, a large part of the process has been spreadsheet based, and revolves around working out the value of a book by working out its cost, relevance, and comparing it to similar books within the collection. At GMMH, so far the process has been simply pulling old reports and guides from the shelves, which as anyone who has worked in a library can imagine is very therapeutic. Some notable finds from the process so far include a floppy disk, a book about healing with crystals, and guides for the original European Computer Driving Licence! The processes have highlighted to me the complexity of collection management, particularly in the health sector where things can become outdated quickly. Overall, both experiences have been really insightful and it’s nice to be able to make an impact for both of the services that I work for.
Another highlight since my last post has been assisting with the development of a health information course at GMMH called the Better Information Programme. Health literacy is a huge topic at the moment, and is something I find particularly interesting having studied the link between education and socioeconomic status previously. This is something I hope to look into further in the future, and as I am now completing my application to the Library and Information Management MA at Manchester Metropolitan University, hopefully I will have the opportunity during my post-graduate studies. One of the features that drew me to the course at MMU is the introduction of a health libraries module which will start in September 2019. Having the theory to underpin the experience I have gained, and will continue to gain this year is something I’m looking forward to. I feel that completing the MA and qualifying as a librarian is the next logical step following my graduate traineeship.
Overall, I am still enjoying my role and a part of me is sad that I’m over halfway through! Over the past three months I’ve attended a great mix of library group meetings, as well as conferences such as CILIP Conference and It’s Great Up North. As always, everyone I’ve met has been really welcoming, encouraging, and willing to help, and I’m so glad I chose to start my library career in this sector.
Useful links for new NHS library staff:
NHS Explained – 4 week course by The King’s Fund: www.futurelearn.com/courses/the-nhs-explained
NHS Acronym Buster: www.nhsconfed.org/acronym-buster
NLPN’s Useful Resources: www.nlpn.wordpress.com/useful-resources
Graduate Library and Knowledge Services Trainee
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust