After twenty years working at the IOE Library, I’d like to sing the praises of an extraordinary institution: the UCL Institute of Education Library. Bear with me on this religious imagery as I’ve always seen libraries as ‘temples of learning’ (spires in a 2012 blog). For many years in the library, I’ve watched users searching for truth, reverently studying, and sometimes, praying for deliverance.
During these past two decades, I’ve also seen a myriad of changes in library leadership, infrastructure, technology, buildings, staff and students. But what has remained the same is the devotion to learning and the support of learning. In fact, although I was a teacher before coming to the IOE, I’ve always considered myself more of a preacher here. My sermons over the years have included miracles (IOE LibGuides), sacred resources (databases) and commandments for searching.
I confess that I can be evangelical about the rich and varied resources we have at the IOE because I have always been able to depend on the most valuable, often hidden resource here: IOE library staff. These library staff catalogue, order, digitise and provide reference, membership, collection development and information literacy services steadfastly, reliably and professionally. The work they do is not always visible, but it is vital.
Without these diligent staff, I would not have been able to do what I’ve done for the past twenty years — preach about the library in inductions, workshops and specialised sessions. Because library staff have been devoted to their jobs, I’ve been able to do mine. They’re always ready to do that little extra to support students and staff and we’ve even created our own little ‘Garden of Eden’ in the library.
As I leave the IOE Library, I would like to shout ‘Hallelujah for IOE Library staff!’. It’s been a joy working with you all. Amen.