Guest blog: Work Experience in the College Library

Written by on July 18, 2014

This year’s placement from the University of Strathclyde Information and Library Studies MSc/PgDip course was Angela McLean.  Angela has kindly agreed to share her experience of working in the Library here as follows:

“The MSc Information and Library Studies course offered at the University of Strathclyde, allows students the opportunity to experience five weeks of work in a library setting. I couldn’t believe it when I was told that the library I had specifically asked for had been given to me and that I would be working at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

My first task during my placement was to take an inventory of a selection of the rare books that were believed to be duplicates, this was a great opportunity to spend all day with rare books and, more practically, to gain a better insight into the library collection available at the College.

After I had finished this process, I was never short of tasks to do and helped with the archives, as well as researching and photographing more rare books from the collection for the ‘Adopt-a-book’ scheme.

Books waiting to be adopted and conserved.

Books waiting to be adopted and conserved.

I was also in charge of the library for a few hours on my own, which thankfully went by without a hitch and I learned how to fix the indispensable coffee machine available in the library (trust me when I say it is a vital component of the library).

The Library tea and coffee machine - learning how to operate this is an essential skill.

The Library tea and coffee machine – learning how to operate this is an essential skill.

My time at the Royal College has made me certain that I definitely want to pursue a career in libraries because of the sheer variety of tasks that need done on a daily basis. Also, I felt very welcomed by all the library staff and wider College staff which made it a delight to turn up every day.  In fact, I enjoyed my five weeks working in the Library that I have decided to stay on and help with a few odd jobs.”

Please do get in touch with the library should you wish to adopt a book by emailing

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The College’s heritage collections – including thousands of medical and surgical instruments, rare books, archives, and pictures – span over 6 centuries and are an excellent resource for exploring the history of medicine and the history of the city of Glasgow. Many items from the collections have been digitised and are available to view here. Our digitisation work is ongoing, and we add new items to the site regularly, so keep checking back to discover more.

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