My name is Amy Clancy and I documenting my experience as a Graduate Library and Knowledge Services Trainee at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

I have been with GMMH Library and Knowledge Services for almost two months now, and my first blog post feels like a lifetime ago! While I had some experience in a public library before starting my role here, I was completely unfamiliar with health libraries and the NHS, so the past 7 weeks have been a real learning curve. Over the past two to three weeks I have found myself feeling much more settled into the role and no longer feeling like a newbie, so it is nice to look back on that first post and realise how far I’ve come.

A large part of settling into the role has been becoming more and more familiar with the library’s collections. Between the public health resources, books, leaflets, and online collections there is a lot to offer, and it has been great to be able to not only fulfil customer’s requests but also to make new suggestions, and to be able to demonstrate and talk about each resource in more depth. Back in January I took part in a Customer Care training day for NHS library assistants, which gave me some great tips for creating a better customer experience. Since then, I have been able to develop great relationships with many NHS staff members who use our service regularly, who trust my judgement when it comes to suggesting resources that will benefit their service users. This has been such a rewarding part of the experience, particularly when customers return to library to tell me how well their session with a service user went and to ask if I have any further ideas for resources. It highlights how integral the Library and Knowledge Service is to the Manchester community and those who support it, which is amazing to be a part of.

Another key aspect of the role is taking on projects such as the Service’s social media presence and the leaflet service. Taking ownership of these projects has been a fantastic way to practice two key aspects of health librarianship: promoting the Service and managing a collection. A highlight of my experience so far has been presenting a new social media strategy that I had created in front of the Library and Knowledge Service staff at our last monthly meeting. The strategy received great feedback from the team and has proven successful in terms of our engagement levels so far. Managing the leaflet service has been an equally positive experience. Tasks such as monitoring which leaflets are the most and least popular, making decisions about whether to reorder stock and searching for possible new additions have given me an insight in to what it is like to manage a collection on a small scale (which will hopefully prepare me for larger collections in the future!). Taking ownership of these projects has been a brilliant experience in terms of personal development also, particularly in regards to using my initiative and trusting my own judgment. Although this is only possible thanks to my colleagues who are always happy to help and advise if needed!

Moving forward, I am looking forward to the upcoming events and conferences I will be attending, such as the International Clinical Librarians Conference in November. One of the most challenging aspects of the role is how solitary it can be at times, as it often involves working alone or being the only staff member in the library for extended periods of time. Therefore, any opportunity to meet those in the same professional field and discuss experiences is great. Also, being so new health libraries, it will be great to learn more about the profession and to explore possible roles that may interest me in the future. I am also eager to undertake more projects within the Library and Knowledge Service and continue to develop more of the skills needed to eventually become a qualified health librarian.

Amy Clancy
Graduate Library and Knowledge Services Trainee
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust