Symphony Workflows

It’s the 1st of June and I am in Bristol Central Library for training in a new Library Management System (LMS). I am happy about this for several reasons — it implies continuing employment in the libraries; I didn’t expect to still be working as agency staff beyond the end of May; that the training is easier than it was a few months ago when I learnt Galaxy, because now I have a much better idea about what goes on in a library; that my co-trainees are all agency staff, so I know most of them, and have worked successfully with them, and that our area manager is our trainer.

I take the Park & Ride bus in — it’s fairly quiet as it’s half term this week. The last time I took this bus it was winter and I was longing for the evenings to be light at 5 p.m. when I went home; now, it’s about 9 p.m.

Bristol Central Library is closed on Wednesdays now — it was not closed on any day the last time I was here. But with the new hours, this is one that has lost some hours.

H* has done this training several times before, so it’s slick and timed to include breaks at convenient times, so there’s not too ‘overload’ of information. We cover issues (now called checkouts), discharges (the same), group membership (for instance, reading groups and families) where one person holds responsibility as ‘parent’, and finally, how to do reservations (now holds). This is really the trickiest part.

In fact, there are a few buttons to complete activities that are a bit vague — in the above example, we have an Individual Hold and a Blanket Hold, and it’s the latter that we have to use (and there are several ways of doing this! No doubt all the library staff will have different ways that can all be correct….).

In Checkout, there are 2 buttons, one saying “Check out item to user” and “Check out to New User” — we have to use the latter. What this does, instead of confirming the checkout to the current customer, is set up the screen for the next user.

And of course, the Checkout and Discharge screens look very similar, with the same number of buttons along the bottom, and no indication elsewhere highlighting which one you are using, so it’s another check you have to do before you checkout or discharge. I’m sure it was the same in the other system, and I got used to it, so I’ve no doubt in a few weeks it will be exactly the same.

I spend lunchtime amongst the magazines, undecided as to which one to read — Black Beauty (hair styles for black people); Men’s Health (“Rev up your fatburn hormones with toast”); The Vegetarian (“Ferment your vegetables”; “Is lettuce worse than bacon?”; vegetarian shoes!); Vanity Fair (interesting article on sisters). Well, now I’ve learnt a few new things ;-)

When the course is over, I walk to the bus stop with N*. We wonder if we will work with each other again, as he hasn’t applied for any of the permanent posts, because he wants a full time job.

A selection of magazines at Bristol Central Library
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