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Libraries Week - A day in the life of the Principal Librarian for National Museum Wales Kristine Cha
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Libraries Week - A day in the life of the Principal Librarian for National Museum Wales Kristine Chapman


I’m Kristine, and I’m the Principal Librarian for Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. I’m based in the Main Library at National Museum Cardiff, but have responsibility for the libraries across all seven of our sites.

A typical day for me begins with a quick glance over my emails, checking the diary, and chatting to the Assistant Librarian about what we have planned. Normally we’d check to see if we had any appointments from external visitors, but due to ongoing roof repairs, we are currently closed to the public. It has made our days seem very different, so we’re looking forward to when the work is finished, and we can reopen the Library again.

I spend time answering email queries, there is a request to come in and consult one of our rare books, and one from a researcher based in Australia needing to check a reference. The more we advertise our collections online, the more we get contact from researchers around the world, so answering remote queries is a big part of my job.

After a coffee, I head to a Collections Management Group meeting, the group is made up of people from all the Curatorial and Research departments in the Museum, and we are working on updating our Collections Management Policies and Procedures. The meeting is relatively brief, so I have enough time to head back to the Library before lunch to check our Twitter account. We use Twitter a lot to showcase our collections, especially the illustrated natural history books and old photographs of the Museum.

After lunch I receive a call from staff down in the Main Hall, a visitor has come in with a book that they want to know more about. I pop down to speak to them, luckily it’s one that I’m already familiar with, we have copies in our collection and I’d researched it recently for a display, so I am able to easily answer their questions. Sometimes visitors come in with books that are more of a mystery, and they can take me a while to identify!

Later in the afternoon, a member of staff comes in to see Museum archives relating to an early exhibition. Going through the Museum archives is always fascinating, I love learning about our history, but it is way too easy to get side-tracked reading about it.

Before I leave for the day I have time to do planning for an upcoming Behind the Scenes event. I need to decide what we will showcase and display on our stand in the Main Hall.

Time to leave, I didn't get a chance to start on the large pile of books for cataloguing, but hopefully will have time for them tomorrow. I make sure I have everything I need before going, I have a few off site meetings in the morning, a catch up with staff in the Library at St Fagans, and a planning meeting for the EAHIL conference that is happening in Cardiff next year.


Kristine Chapman


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