Did you know we have apprentices at the National Art Library?

February 22, 2024

If you’ve visited the National Art Library (NAL)  over the last year, you may have spoken to one of four apprentices.

Since October 2022 we’ve hosted the latest cohort of a series of apprentices, working as part of the library team. Stephanie Barber, Bethany Croydon, Kate Fielder, and Elizabeth Whitehead are all working toward Level 3 Library, Information and Archives Service Assistant Apprenticeship Standard. It’s a first step on the librarianship/archivist career ladder, and is accredited by CILIP: The Library and Information Association. The NAL works in partnership with Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES) to facilitate their studies and cover all the elements of their coursework. The apprentices attend WAES regularly for tuition, and the rest of the time they spend working at the NAL.

The apprentices showing groups around the library
Apprentices hosting a visit to the National Art Librya. Clockwise from top right; Kate, Elizabeth, Beth, Stephanie © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Each of them works on managing incoming requests and retrieving books. They also work on the library service counter, dealing with enquiries especially those to do with library accounts and catalogue enquiries. There they can put their customer service skills into practice and develop their research and problem-solving skills. They also invigilate the use of our special collections.

All their work involves understanding good object handling and basic conservation techniques as many of our items can be fragile, particularly rare or unusual in terms of construction or materials. In the Archives department, they have also worked on digital projects such as the Performing Glastonbury project – a database of performances at the Glastonbury Festival. In addition, they have added to the library catalogue, working on over 6000 records of books from the museum’s curatorial departments. This means so much more content is now accessible to everyone.

Our apprentices have had the chance to explore the library collections and research some of the items and have helped host a selection of our group visits. You may also see them taking part in our Monday public talks in the coming weeks.

We were recently honoured to receive a Highly Commended award from Westminster Adult Education Service in their Apprenticeship Employer of the Year awards. All four of our apprentices are coming to the end of the course, but they are with us until at least October this year. They have achieved a lot for the NAL and have done us proud!

The certificate
2 comments so far, view or add yours


It is a pleasure to hear about the work of the library and from you. Greetings from México.

Héctor Raúl Morales Mejía.

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