Liz Moffat is Community Outreach Librarian at Stirling Libraries.
I have worked in public libraries all my working life. I started in Clackmannanshire Libraries, first as a Saturday Assistant then as Reference and Archives Assistant. I qualified in 1999, then moved on to West Lothian Libraries where I was Branch Manager of Blackburn Library. I started work in Stirling in 2001.
Outreach Services offers a library service to those residents in the Stirling area who cannot access the service in the traditional way by going into the library. My job as Community Outreach Librarian is to ensure everyone in the Stirling District gets the same level of service. This includes the Housebound, Mobile Library Service, Residential Homes, Day Centres and Cornton Vale Women’s Prison. The skills required for this post are empathy and patience with the people I offer the service to. I have good communication skills and can talk to and adapt to all levels. I enjoy the variety of the job. I am offering the service to a wide range of target groups, selecting and ordering books and materials and I’m constantly looking at ways the various services can be improved upon. I would say the biggest challenge comes from that very variety. I want to ensure I give equal delivery of service to all in my remit and the challenge can sometimes be keeping all balls in the air without dropping any.
In 2002 I also took on the remit of Reader Development Co-ordinator in Stirling, attending monthly training sessions run by Opening the Book. I adapted these training sessions into an in-house package, and other authorities have also taken advantage of this course. I also supervise trainees in the on-line training courses offered by Opening the Book, both the Frontline and Interactive training courses. I organise all the adult events in Stirling and lead on adult events for the Off the Page Stirling Book Festival and Book Week Scotland.
My work is very varied: one day I could be in the prison and training library assistants on use of the standalone LMS there, the next I could be taking an author for dinner before an event, or helping to choose the next Stirling Makar. But the variety of the work is what I love most. I am always on the look out for new ideas to improve services to the target groups I serve and I am willing to listen to ideas from staff. I will then seek out funding opportunities to make some of those ideas happen.
It is really good to be asked to give a short overview of my work and 23 librarians is a great idea. Here is an example of how a day in my working life could run.
8.45 Make sure all teams I line manage are happy with the day ahead’s work and, if not, try to sort any problems. This could range from a fault with one of the Mobiles which would then involve liaising with Fleet Management to get it fixed, but also arrange for the readers to be informed of disruption in service. Or it could be arranging relief to cover holidays or attendance at training courses.
9.30 Launch of Sally Magnusson’s new book on Dementia. Travel to the Iris Murdoch Centre at Stirling University to listen to the author and to arrange for a visit to Stirling Libraries at some point in the future.
11.00 Meeting with a local Gaelic musician to talk about having a ceilidh at the Off the Page Stirling Book Festival. I am working on an application for funding to cover this aspect of the Festival, as the Creative Scotland funding we receive will not cover it.
12.00 A short lunch
12.30 Catch up on some e-mails and correspondence. Types of work this includes today are organising a short session for the CILIPS Conference for the Reader Development Forum and following up on the Sally Magnusson event by contacting Waterstones Stirling, the library I want to host the event and Sally’s publicist.
1.00 A meeting with the Work Placement Officer at Cornton Vale Women’s Prison. When women are moving to the Open Estate and preparing for release, we take them on as work experience in Library Headquarters. This is a good arrangement for both parties. We get some extra help for a few months and the women get experience and the possibility of a good reference. The placement allows them to be integrated into the community before release.
2.00 A meeting at Cornton Vale to discuss the new Service Level Agreement for the library. The library at Cornton Vale is provided by Stirling Libraries and is similar to a small branch library. It has almost everything a community library has apart from Internet Access.
3.00 Prepare for some meetings I have this week:
- The National Reading Strategy meeting in which I am involved is a small group looking at a Reading Strategy for Scotland. This work is being done for SLIC.
- Prepare for the Libraries in Central Scotland (LICS) meeting. LICS is a partnership with libraries across Central Scotland and includes the Dementia Centre Library, Stirling University Library, Scottish Police College Library and Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Public Libraries. From this partnership has come the LICS Passport Scheme, where readers across the partnership can join other libraries, and the Well Being Books partnership.
- Prepare for the Stirling Library Staff meeting in which I am presenting on the ‘Six Steps to library services for blind and partially sighted people’ and Off the Page Stirling Book Festival.
4.30 Mobiles are back in for the day. Arrange for a trip out to promote National Libraries Day and at the same time our E-offer.
Thanks to Liz for an account of her interesting and varied work. Liz is happy to discuss her job further via comments on the blog, email, telephone or in person. As usual, please start by leaving a reply below.
If you would like to know more about Cornton Vale, Jennifer Horan and Jennifer Higgins has written accounts of a visit to its library which you can find on the GLTU (Glasgow Library Tweetups) blog.