My name is Amy Clancy and I documenting my experience as a Graduate Library and Knowledge Services Trainee at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

I have just finished my first week with Library and Knowledge Services, which has been a great experience so far. There’s been a lot to take in, but luckily everyone has been really supportive and told me that these first few weeks will be about learning, rather than jumping straight into big projects. I’ve been given lots of time just to explore the library’s resources – both physical and digital – and taken through the tasks that I will be doing day to day. What’s surprising about the role so far is the amount of ownership I have been given over my time and to manage my day. The library is managed by a small team, so it’s also great to be around people who are in decision making positions and to be able to observe these processes.

The most interesting part of the role so far has to be working with the public health education resources that the Library and Knowledge Service offers. The library has a large collection of clinical and educational models that seem to be well loved by NHS staff, to teach people about various public health issues such as smoking, alcohol, healthy eating and more. It’s great to hear the creative ways that staff plan to use the resources, such as one safeguarding officer who asked to borrow all of the ‘grossest’ things we had to attract the attention of a group of A Level students. It’s clear that these resources are being used to bring public health issues that we are so used to hearing about to the general public’s attention in a way which will have a lasting impact. You can hear ‘stop smoking’ a thousand times, but you only need to see a jar containing a year’s worth of tar that will build up in a smoker’s lung once!

Something that seems to be a large part of a health librarian’s role is supplying evidence from electronic databases to NHS staff. Something I have heard frequently since starting my role is how integral these services are to the NHS, increasingly so since more and more practices must be evidence-based. This week I have begun to learn the basics of how these services work, and am looking forward to developing my skills in this area. It is interesting that so much of a librarian’s work now involves electronic, rather than physical resources, but it is refreshing to see an NHS organisation being environmentally aware and providing a paperless service, as well as aiming to provide an efficient service to busy NHS professionals who need to be able to access evidence remotely.

The last thing that has really stood out to me this week is the focus on learning and personal development that this role provides. Despite being a one year contract, the library team have made it clear that this role is meant to be a formative experience that will help me throughout my career. On my first day, my line manager and I sat down and filled up my calendar with meetings, training days and conferences where I will be able to develop my skills and meet new people in this field. A large focus is put on building a network of peers (despite the idea that librarians spend all day telling people to stop socialising!), and within my first week I was given the opportunity to possibly speak at a conference and, of course, to document my experience with this blog. I have been encouraged to apply for a Masters degree alongside my role, and have been offered support with my application for certification with the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Overall, it seems like the team are invested in my future and have been really encouraging and supportive.

All in all, a great first week!

Amy Clancy
Graduate Library and Knowledge Services Trainee
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust