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Library & Archives

November 27, 2013


How long have you worked at the NHM?


17 years.


What were you doing before you came here?


When I finished my degree in Science Policy I got as job as a trainee Library Assistant in the Library at UCL.  I spent a year at UCL dividing my time between the Medical Sciences Section of the Main Science Library and the Boldero Library in the Middlesex hospital.   I loved the job and was inspired to do a professional library qualification at Sheffield University.  After my Master’s I stayed on to do a PhD at Sheffield looking at the impact of the Internet on the information seeking behaviour of academic researchers.  I then joined the NHM as an Assistant Librarian in the Earth Sciences Library, initially looking after the journals collections and then the books.  I have been the Library’s Collection Manager, working across all subject collections since 2003.Mel-Smith-Library-Collections-Manager.jpg


What does your average day look like?

I don’t really have an average day.  My main role is to ensure that the library collections are happy, that they are available to Library users and we acquire appropriate new content that meets our users’ needs.  My team is  responsible for the acquisition and curation of the Modern Library Collections and they get on with the day to day work of looking after the library collections. I spend most of my time on project work which at the moment includes the Library elements of the Museum’s Collections Storage project (CSIP).


If you had to pick one favourite from the L&A collections what would it be?


Back to my Earth Sciences days I’ve always liked Sopwith’s Geological Models which are beautiful wooden models of various geological features which can be quite a challenge to put together for a display, as I know to my cost.  Also François Louis Swebach Desfontaines’, mineral prospectus is really unusual and quite stunning.


Do you have a favourite place or object on display in the Museum?


I like the gems exhibition in the Earth Galleries.


If you had to spend the rest of your life as an animal, what would it be and why?


A Meerkat, I like to keep an eye on what’s happening around me.