A Music Collections Summer

Dublin 2011 IAML conference

Now that examinations are over and Cambridge is steeped in an atmosphere of May balls, garden parties and graduation ceremonies, libraries are getting ready for their summer too. Contrary to what one might expect, with so many library users being away from Cambridge, things can be quite busy. Different from full term busy, but we still have a very full schedule.

It all started with the “Pendlebury shelf check” which happened last week. Every year, we tidy and check our open shelves for every single item to see whether it still exists and is where it is supposed to be. Time permitting, we also try to judge whether most items are in a condition to stay on said shelves for another year, or whether they should be (re)moved. We tend to come across some rather strange things involving barcodes and mysterious titles and have quite a few puzzles to solve, especially in dealing with multiple copies and uniting correct scores and parts.

In September we will be repeating this at the University Library during Inspection Week (10-16 September 2012 inclusive), although admittedly, we can’t check every single item from the whole library in one week and the project is restricted to specific sections of the collections.

Summer is also the time of work experience students, Sutton Trust Summer School and a variety of projects. This can range from changes in infrastructure and equipment (or even building works) to book moves, signposting and generally making the collections more presentable and accessible for the next academic year.

We try to order any new materials needed for the start of courses in October and, at the University Library, try to focus our cataloguing on items useful for these same courses so we can ensure that items in demand will be ready to be borrowed.

At the University Library, we can also get quite busy helping external researchers, who travel the world outside term time to access valuable resources. Similarly, at the Pendlebury Library, vacation is a time our microfilm collections and equipment tend to be in high demand.

Apart from all this we are busy writing annual reports, interpreting library statistics and drawing conclusions. Are the libraries still being used, what is most in demand, what is most important, what can improve… The annual IAML conference takes place over the summer too and is the ideal forum to find out what is happening in music libraries all over the world so we can make our own services even better.

And finally, we do take turns in going on our well-deserved holidays.


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