#DULibIntroducing Beth Hall and Elisabeth Prestgard

In the next of our series introducing members of staff, #DULibIntroducing welcomes University Library and Collections graduate interns Beth Hall and Elisabeth Prestgard. Beth and Elisabeth will be keeping us up to date with what they are up to over the coming months via the blog.

Beth Hall

Please tell us your name, full job title, and a brief description of what that entails:

My name is Beth Hall and I am the Archives and Special Collections graduate intern. At the minute, I typically spend my mornings supporting the search room at Palace Green. The rest of my days are spent getting experience working with archival and rare books collections in different placements in all sorts of sectors based at Palace Green and the surrounding sites, including Ushaw College and the Oriental Museum.

What is it about the role that attracted you to it?

To put it simply, it seemed like the perfect way to learn skills and gain experience working professionally in a few roles that seemed right up my street, and to help me narrow down my options for further study. I was torn between studying an MA in Archives and Records Management or Librarianship; without first-hand experience I couldn’t decide. This role seemed like a real blend of the two as well as an exciting and hands-on experience in a gorgeous city (and perhaps I might work with some actual real-life medieval manuscripts, thought I!). I underestimated just how involved with the collections I would be, and the sheer range of opportunities Palace Green has to offer – so much for helping with my indecision!

What are you most enjoying so far, or most looking forward to?

To pick just one moment from archives: cataloguing letters. I love the chance to be a little nosy and get an insight into historic daily life and language (and messy handwriting). It’s satisfying to see an improvement in my palaeography while meaningfully contributing to a catalogue as I practice it. It’s been a joy to spend some time getting introduced to the archival processes. I’m excited to experience rare books librarianship, I am used to looking at books for their literary merit, so it’ll be interesting to experience books as objects in themselves.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?

It’s a cliché, but I am more often than not sat somewhere cosy with a book and a mug of something hot to hand. I also love painting and have a couple of illustration projects in the background. I love singing and playing violin, but since moving into a terraced house this hobby has become a little less practiced! I still love watching musicals and theatre performances when I can, though!

Elisabeth Prestgard

Please tell us your name, full job title, and a brief description of what that entails:

My name is Elisabeth Prestgard. I am a graduate intern at the Bill Bryson library and joined the Document Delivery Service team on the March 1st. As I arrived during COVID confinement, I spent the first month and a half working from home. It was nerve-racking in the beginning as I have never had a home office before. However, as soon as I began I felt more at ease. In April I started working in the customer service team at the library. Currently, my time is split between working in both teams – two days in customer service, and three days in DDS. In DDS, I still work from home, and communicate with colleagues via Teams.

I use the library management system Millennium where I provide book chapter and article requests from both staff and students, as well as receiving articles via the RapidILL site. Recently, we have started using RapidILL for sending requested resources to other libraries as well.

At the library, I provide customer service at the help and information desk face to face, and on the telephone. Every Monday morning I provide online customer service through LibAnswers and LibChat. Additional duties have been shelving, scanning books, and processing postal loans.

What is it about the role that attracted you to it?

The graduate library position attracted my attention as it provides the opportunity to work in an academic library, and gain insight into all aspects of how it functions, and the various tasks involved.

What are you most enjoying so far, or most looking forward to?

I really enjoy working with my new colleagues in both the DDS and customer service teams. They have been very welcoming and helpful, which has made me feel at home. I’m also enjoying the variety offered by working in the two different teams. I look forward to meeting new people, socializing with colleagues and being able to contribute. My input has always been welcomed.

I’m enjoying the internship, and it has surpassed my expectations.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?

As I have just moved to Durham, I have been going for walks during my spare time and exploring the area. I also like to write, and Durham is a great source of inspiration. It is also nice to socialize with friends.

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