Placement at the PMI: With Melanie

Placement at the PMI: With Melanie


Greetings! I’m sure you’ve seen me around the library, but if not, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Melanie and I am a first-year library studies student studying at Box Hill Institute. I am currently studying to become a library technician and have been very fortunate to be completing my placement here at the Prahran Mechanics Institute for 15 days from July to October.


It has been astonishing to see many different events hosted at the library. Before my placement I didn’t even know the library existed, let alone that it is the second oldest library in Victoria! There have been so many events, from Historical Society Month (just completed in August), to a Scout Heritage Victoria event. I have also met members from different societies including the Cinema and Theatre Historical Society of Australia (CATHS) and the Australian Railway Historical Society.

Tasks I’ve Been Competing

Without a doubt, this has been an interesting placement. My classes have taught me how to complete tasks in theory, but it is great to do them in practice and physically learn them. During my time here, I have been ordering new books and cataloguing them for the library. I’ve been busy completing new social media posts, which you may have seen, including posts about the Royal Flying Doctors Service and different types of carriages in the 1800’s. I have a few more coming up in the next few weeks. I’ve been busy learning how to cover new books, which has been most fun. I was amazed that the Prahran Mechanics Institute was one of few libraries that still processes their books themselves and does not outsource this. Book covering was a highlight of my first week here. I’ve also been learning how to better help you, the patrons, with questions. Some other tasks have been shelving and indexing books and periodicals.

Whilst I have been at the front desk it has been interesting, and a little nervous to say the least, to help patrons with their queries. Because the library is specialised but diverse in its contents, each query has been different and exciting to help with. Some of these have been about railways, family history and indigenous culture in Victoria. It has been interesting to see where these searches lead me and why patrons would want this information.

I have been completing my placement one day a week until October, and since it is only August I still have over a third to go. I am excited to see what more I could learn, especially in cataloguing and indexing. I’d love to explore more and learn more about the diverse collection that the library holds.

I’d love to thank the staff at the Library for taking me on, even though I knew close to nothing on how a library works in practice at the start of my placement They have been extremely patient and welcoming which has made me enjoy my time here even more. I have learnt a lot over my time and hope to continue doing so as my placement continues.


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