Fieldwork experiences

I have really valued all my practical experiences, and I’d love to write about what I’ve learned from each experience.

Experience 1

For my first fieldwork experience, I had the opportunity to work with a small philanthropy library at QUT (Queensland University of Technology) to weed their collection out. This was my first experience working in any kind of library, and was really welcomed into that organisation. Eventually my role moved on from weeding to looking at the collection as a whole, and making decisions as to how it could be improved. This experience was where my brain clicked, and I realised I really enjoyed collection development and collection management. I was so interested in the different ways a collection could be organised and used. I was able to start a new register and explore different ways this collection could get accessed by a range of users. It was a really valuable experience that has led to my research. Although I did not get experience working with a proper cataloguing system, or interaction with the public, this one helped me understand the “back end” of libraries.

By the end of my placement (which spanned over approximately 6 months) I was

  • Interacting with relevant stakeholders & other volunteers in regards to how the collection was to be re-organised
  • Working on a new register from scratch using Microsoft Excel
  • Utilising programs such as Trove to identify Dewey Numbers
  • Making decisions in regards to whether an item was relevant to the collection
  • Undertaking a research project to identify accessible cataloguing systems for non-profit libraries

This project gave me so much confidence in my abilities as an emerging professional. My supervisors were so supportive and I am lucky to have worked in such a unique environment.

Experience 2

This experience was in a specialist library, which I found really interesting. I was quite nervous about this one as I was scared that this experience would somehow put me off libraries, and I’d have to reconsider what I was actually doing with my life. But luckily for me, this experience made me way more passionate about libraries than I ever thought I could be! I received so much support from my supervisor, which has really made me confident going into my career.

by the end of my placement I could

  • Utilise an LMS system (Koha) to:
  1. Locate items in collection
  2. Check items in and out
  3. Register new members
  4. edit the record & add items into the record using MARC/ RDA
  • Catalogue three – dimensional objects from the archive Collection
  • Use social media (Twitter)  to collate news relating to particular topics to send to organisation – covered topics such as mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, indigenous education and domestic violence
  • Conduct a presentation for staff members and students on a particular topic – deconstructed an academic article and discussed introduction, methods and research, findings and conclusion
  • Participate in monthly library meetings and staff meetings
  • Gain understanding of budget allocation & document delivery



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