Meet Kew's current Library Graduate Trainee and discover the range of interesting duties his role comprises
Hello, I’m Marc Muller, this year’s graduate trainee for the library at Kew. I started back in September last year and every day there are more interesting books being delivered, waiting to be catalogued and put onto the system. Although this is my first time working at Kew, I had previously volunteered at the British Library, helping to catalogue canal plans and maps for the digital mapping department. After that I ran quality assurance on websites gathered for the UK web archive assessing and reporting any errors I found. These activities established my interest in information retrieval, preservation and distribution and gave me a good foundation on which to build up my skills at Kew. The library here is a world-leading example example of these three activities in the context of its specialisms in botanical knowledge and history.
The new books display in the library reading room
I am in charge of the regular display of new books in our reading room which allows us to show off the variety and depth of the information that we hold in the library. I work with the other members of the team to catalogue new books and this has helped me further develop my knowledge of the key cataloguing standards including AACR2 and MARC21 that I first learnt about at the British Library. I work on small projects, help other members of the library team with their tasks, and assist on the reading room enquiry desk as a resource retrieval officer, locating particular items for users. Recently I completed a reorganisation of the nursery catalogue lists, creating public and staff lists which can now be easily accessed and displayed.
One of the new books I recently catalogued: La flora des Alpes-Maritimes et de la Principaute de Monaco
My time at the library so far has been brilliant for a number of reasons. I find the wonderful depth and breadth of botanical knowledge, from Soviet-era floras to monographs of medicinal plants, really fascinating. These books show how strong the library's ties are around the world. The scope of the botanical knowledge within the collections both past and present also illustrates Kew's efforts to conserve and preserve increasingly endangered plants and ecosystems worldwide, and the importance of this work. Items come from a variety of sources. For example, as well as those purchased by the Acquisitions Librarian, many are donated by a wide range of philanthropic, scientific and private individuals. I particularly enjoy searching the library stacks and stores for recent or historical texts and assisting readers by either providing them with new information or helping to clarify their ideas.
Lastly, I also very much enjoy working with the staff here who I find both friendly and engaging, and who frequently share new ideas with me on further developing the library services. I look forward to updating everyone about my continuing time here at Kew.
- Marc -
- Visit Kew's Library
- Search the Library catalogue online
- Find out more about the Library & Archives Graduate Traineeships at Kew
- Library, Art & Archives blog homepage
About the Tropical Nursery
The main functions of the Nursery are to:
- Form a back-up collection of tender tropical plants used to support science, display and education within the gardens. We supply plants for use in displays in the Main Kew conservatries, for festivals and events organised by the Foundation and the Directorate.
- Supply plants for education purposes to the Schools & Families department.
- Act as main propagation facility for the Princess of Wales Conservatory, Palm House and Temperate House as well as supporting the exchange of plants between Kew and other institutions and collections.
- Provide direct education in nursery techniques and the cultivation of tropical plants for the Kew Diploma course, Apprentice and Trainee programme, Internship and work experience programmes and visiting staff from other UK and overseas institutions.
- Support conservation by working with the UKOTs team undertaking propagation and cultivation protocols on targeted endangered species.
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