Caught an early train so I wouldn’t be late for my first day at the Royal Northern College of Music for my work placement. For once the trains were on time so ended up killing time walking round as I was 45 minutes early. I also needed to steel myself to re-enter the world of music.
I was met by Sarah who gave me a quick tour of the library and for once books take 2nd place to music: parts, scores and sheet music. The library uses Library of Congress classification, which I’ve not worked with before as they find it makes more sense for a specialised collection such as theirs.
Next I met Sam in HR who gave me a pass to get in and out and showed me round the building. Just don’t ask me to find my way anywhere because its a maze of a building with lots of practice rooms slotted in!
Back in the library Sarah talked me through the different staff roles. As it’s only a small library there are only a few staff, each with defined roles and responsibilities. Sarah also showed me the small museum collection of historical instruments and the archives of the college and the two earlier colleges which merged to form the RNCM.
After lunch I went on the counter with Alan and Mimi. Alan showed me how the Library Management System and security system work. He talked through his responsibilities as a Library Assistant and I helped him process some new books onto the system.
After a couple hours getting to grips with counter duties I spent an hour with Geoff, the librarian responsible for cataloguing. He talked through some of the many issues of cataloguing music: foreign languages, arrangements and editions, keys, anthologies and popular titles, amongst others. It was a fascinating glimpse into the problems of making the music accessible and easily searchable within the home institution, whilst keeping a record which is transferable and compatible with other databases and catalogues.
Another half an hour on counter and it was time to go home. A whirlwind day, with lots to learn and digest, but the team are all so friendly and keen to talk about music librarianship and their jobs and experiences. I have thoroughly enjoyed my day and I am eagerly looking forwards to the rest of my placement.