Day In the Life - Sue Kendall: BIALL Newsletter, Sept 2011Library/Information Services Manager at Mills & Reeve
I am generally on the 8.00am train from Leamington Spa which gets in to Birmingham Snow Hill around 8.50. It takes me through some lovely Warwickshire countryside, which helps to soothe my soul before my day in the centre of Birmingham. (If I wasn’t a law librarian I dream of being a fruit farmer –some days I prefer plums to lawyers).
Mills & Reeve’s offices are on Colmore Row, overlooking St Philip’s Cathedral. We have been in this building since 2005. I have been with Mills & Reeve since 1998 and this is the third building we’ve had since then.
Like everyone, I check my e-mails first, deal with anything urgent that has come in, then forward any interesting alerts to fee-earners. After catching up with my assistants about any issues that have arisen the previous day, I take my turn manning the library inquiry e-mail inbox. Mills & Reeve has six offices in Norwich, Cambridge, Birmingham, London, Leeds and Manchester. There are library staff in the first four of these and we pride ourselves on offering a seamless service across all the offices by means of our
e-mail enquiry service. We operate a rota from 9.00 – 5.30 so one of us is responsible for dealing with all inquiries that come in during a two hour slot.
We have a library wiki – LIS SOS – where we keep notes and tips on unusual inquiries we have answered in the past so we don’t waste time re-inventing the wheel. Like the BIALL how-do-I? wiki, it is invaluable, especially for anyone with a memory like mine – I can generally remember who asked this same question five years ago but I can never remember the answer!
At this time of year we are busy preparing for the new intake of trainees, so I must spend some time liaising with the recruitment manager, HR, our IT trainers and trainers from LexisNexis, Westlaw and PLC over suitable times for their library inductions and online training sessions.
On a typical day I have a sandwich at my desk and then nip over St Philips Square to House of Fraser to spend a happy half-hour browsing through the sale racks. Today, however, I don’t have time as I am going to a BIALL Professional Development Committee meeting at the University of Birmingham. I have been on this committee for several years now and really enjoy it. The members come from all over the country and we vary the locations for our meetings. I was particularly drawn to this committee because I felt strongly about the need to organise training events outside London and realised that in order to help that to happen I needed to get involved. Finding suitable, inexpensive venues is one of the main factors influencing where events can be held so the more people we have on the ground in different locations the easier it is to arrange events there. Fortunately BIALL is full of interesting, talented people willing to share their knowledge and it is very satisfying that we are able to run such a varied programme at such competitive prices.
As this is a Friday, there is time for some of us to stop for a drink and a chat in one of Birmingham’s many bars before we get our trains back home.