Real-life story - Amy Pellow
Amy works in the Knowledge Resources team based at the Resource Centre in Nottingham. The centre delivers library and information services to staff working for health and social care organisations based in Nottingham.
How I got into the role
Before coming to work in the Resource Centre I worked as a library assistant for 18 months in a public library. My degree was in sociology and politics and I had always had an interest in health and wellbeing so when I saw the job advertised in the NHS it really appealed to me.
What I do
The Resource Centre supports the public health agenda by delivering library and information services to health, social care and a wide range of partner agencies across the city. I work Monday to Friday 8.30 to 4.30 and am one of a team of six people, some part-time some full-time. I’m mostly based in the Resource Centre but also attend events and forums with a stand and resources promoting what we offer and providing information for staff.
Part of my time is spent on the reception desk dealing with enquiries and requests. I find that some people are very clear about what they need whereas others may need a little more help to decide which resources will best suit their needs. We have an enormous amount of stock including leaflets and visual aids, books and teaching resources, so I like to make sure people find what they are looking for.
Our enquiry service plays a big role in providing evidence-based information to inform decision-making, commissioning and clinical practice.
Another aspect of my role involves contributing to various bulletins produced by the department; these include a Themed Resources Bulletin and a Stock Update Bulletin. In addition we also produce a regular newsletter. The following list emphasises the variety in my role:
- handling article requests via the inter-library loan service
- journal management
- OpenAthens administration
- minuting meetings and providing other administrative support
- producing displays to promote upcoming heath campaigns
I also spend a lot of time on stock selection and cataloguing as well as updating social media sites and online databases.
The best bits and challenges
I find interacting with clients extremely rewarding, especially new users of the service who are often very impressed with the range of services we offer. The Resource Centre has been up and running for about 25 years and recent user surveys demonstrate how useful people find it. This shows me I’m doing a worthwhile job!
No two days are the same and I like the variety the job provides. I suppose I’m lucky as I enjoy working in the Resource Centre but I also have the opportunity to attend and support outside events organised by a variety of agencies, such as Public Health Forums. This makes the job varied and I get to meet many different people.
The challenges I am aware of are really to do with uncertain budgets, cutbacks and potential organisational changes. In 2013 the centre became part of the local authority and moved out of the NHS and this has given us the challenge of integrating into new structures. However it has also allowed us to expand our reach and brought new people through the door so that’s positive!
Another challenge is that the workload is unpredictable with some days being extremely busy and demanding whilst others more steady – you never know what’s coming through the door!
Life outside work
I have a good work–life balance – really helped by working regular hours and not having to take work home. In my spare time I enjoy going to gigs and to the local independent cinema I’ve also visited some amazing libraries around the world as I love to travel – I’m a bit of a library-geek!
Career plans and top tips for others
I’m very happy at the moment with no plans to move; I love the team I work with and the environment in which I work – it is a bespoke library that was purpose-built for our requirements.
Be aware that the role of libraries is changing and technology is playing a greater part than ever before. Social media, remote working and data-sharing developments are impacting on the traditional library function and significantly changing the role of library staff. The need to be flexible and a team player are also very important.