Well I’ve just started my sixth week at the National Library in Wellington and I have to say it’s been a busy and interesting month.
My job title is Collection Management Librarian and I work within the Collection Services section, this covers Legal Deposit and Acquisitions. My main tasks for the week change weekly and for the first four months I worked with Legal Deposit. Part of our department also includes the New Zealand ISBN agency. Unlike many countries an ISBN is available free to anyone publishing their material in New Zealand.
For Legal Deposit, we aim to collect and archive ALL material published in New Zealand, with some exceptions such as forms, catalogues, financial reports, calendars (apart from the odd one or two which have information on them) and things which we describe as ephemera. One copy of each item is placed in the archives of the Alexander Turnbull Library, the second is placed in the National Library of NZ and is made available for collection delivery (inter-library loan) to readers around the country. Only if the print run is less than 100 do we only take a single copy for the Alexander Turnbull Library. This Alexander Turnbull Library is a “library within a library” and is a heritage collection and includes everything published and unpublished produced in the country, including paintings, photos, etc.
My first two weeks were spent dealing with monographs and monographs within a series. These are generally one-off publications, or items which are published as part of a series. Some of this material is interesting, but I have to admit that some of it seems a bit of a waste! There is so much vanity publishing which goes on and we see it all! “I’ve written this book about myself so my grandchildren can find out about my life and what I did.” Trust me, this is common! I’m not against someone writing about their life for a personal family archive, but I don’t know why they feel they need an ISBN and publish it for the National Library! Many monographs now are published electronically too and we also archive these on our National Digital Archive.
All items received on Legal Deposit have a catalogue record. Within Collection Services we just create a brief record and an associated purchase order for our records. The items are then taken to Cataloguing who create the full catalogue record. Any monos-in-series have their own catalogue record and then are checked-in under the series record, which has a serial record on the catalogue. It can get very confusing sometimes! Electronic/digital items have a separate catalogue and purchase order record. There’s a lot of basic cataloguing!
My third week was spent checking in the many daily and community newspapers we receive. It’s surprising in such a small country, population-wise, just how many newspapers are published. There must be about 30 daily papers as well as the hundreds of community papers, and yes, we still take two of each. Many of these are available online and we also ingest the e-version of these papers on our Digital Archive.
In my fourth week with legal deposit, I continued with the papers and on top of that checked-in the serials/magazines we also receive. We take all the published serials, and the majority of the newsletters produced by societies. Part of this serials collection includes company annual reports and council plans, etc, not to mention all the papers published by parliament and government.
There’s a lot of material in our collections! I have a pass to go down in the basement of the Lending collection in Wellington (the National Library) and there are two floors below ground which have a floor area larger than the main National Library which stands above it. On one floor we even have a road sign telling us which direction the roads on ground level go! The Turnbull Archives are even larger and I believe take up three floors below street level! For those of you wanting to know what it looks like – well it’s a large mass of rolling stacks! Yes it is easy to get a bit lost, but having been down a couple of times, I’ve got a reasonable idea where I’m going and haven’t got lost yet. It does feel a bit lonely in some areas, particularly if you’re the only one down there and the movement sensitive light goes out! :-)
Our ILS (or LMS) is Voyager from Ex Libris. I used Voyager some time ago when I was a Systems Librarian and Cataloguer in the UK. It’s about four/five years since I’ve used it, but I was surprised at how much I actually remembered. I think it’s also helped with my learning the job, since I don’t need training on the ILS. For our digital archive we use another Ex Libris software, called Rosetta. This taps into the ILS, so all records created within it are displayed in the main public OPAC. It’s interesting using Voyager for a different employer, since due to the nature of the work we use the software completely differently. We also use a lot more of the software features which I only touched on before. With our enormous numbers of serials and community papers I’m getting very good at learning the different types of publication patterns!
I’m certainly enjoying my job. We’ve no time whatsoever to be bored, we are non-stop. Material is coming in all the time. Having finished in Legal Deposit, I’m now working in Acquisitions, which is a completely different kettle of fish. More of that in my next post...