As the end of the academic year approaches our students are thinking ahead to their departure from Portsmouth, of leaving their student houses or rooms in Halls, and making the most of the long summer ahead. Our finalists will be thinking of new horizons, of job opportunities and the big wide world out there waiting for them. Whilst some of our continuing students may stay here, others will head home to their families, or take up temporary employment. It’s a time of change for them, and this year it’s going to be one for us too.
When we’re not on our information desks, the enquiries team have desks in offices spread around the Library. Our desks are our own spaces, our places to work on all the things we do “behind the scenes” to help our students and other clients. From my desk I answer email enquiries, check on e-resource access, work on projects, monitor the Library’s twitter and facebook feeds, and help with collection management tasks. It might look like I’m just drowning in paper underneath a noticeboard filled with ephemera, but there’s a lot happening at my desk.
At the end of the academic year however, the enquiries team will all be packing up their desks, sorting through their “clutter”, and vacating the offices we call our own.
As part of the refurbishment project, we’re all being moved into different offices, with some of our existing ones being re-purposed for student use as bookable study rooms or meeting places. My office will become the support office for our new combined Library and IS information desk, and I’ll be moving up to the second floor to share an office with my colleagues. Yes, for the first time the core enquiries team will be in one office, together.
In many ways, this is really exciting. We’ll be able to have meetings without struggling to find a bookable space. We’ll be able to communicate amongst ourselves more easily – there’s even talk of a team whiteboard! It will enable us to deliver an even more cohesive service. It will mean adapting to sharing our space with new people though. We may fall out over the washing up, the overflowing bin or the “tap tap” of music from headphones in the same way new housemates might. We might have to draw straws for who sits nearest the door or the window (it’s like who gets the biggest bedroom, or the one nearest the toilet). They say moving house is one of the most stressful things in life – I for one am hoping that moving offices proves not to be!
Of course, before we get to the new office we’ve got to clear out the old ones, and live through a slightly nomadic summer without a place to call our own. We will be wandering, seeking workspace and somewhere to concentrate, roaming the available parts of the building in much the same way as our students are now. We’ll do it though, and we’ll maintain our services through it all. It’s what we do.
Photo by splityarn