A Conversation for The h2g2 Guild of Librarians
Agapanthus Started conversation Sep 26, 2003
I was a weekend supervisor at an Academic Library during my post-graduate studies (oh, the tales I could tell - and probably will, whether you want me to or not). I then went off to get a job. Haven't got a job, at least, not a permanent one. And now, after a year, I am going back to the same library to work part-time for a term.
I feel like I'm stuck in a library vortex I shall never escape from. And do you know what? I like it. I even (sort of) like the students being stupid, because it gives me such good anecdotage.
So, under the circumstances, may I join the Guild?
Hypatia Posted Sep 26, 2003
Hi Agapanthus. Welcome to the Librarian's Guild. We go through periods of being active chatters and inactive. Maybe some new blood will revitalize us.
Libraries do get into your blood, under your skin, whatever. I became a librarian sort of by default. I'm actually a trained archivist. Which is similar, but not the same. When I moved back to my home town (small place) the job at the library came open and I applied, not expecting to be hired. But I was and have been here since 1995.
Usually I like my jop. I enjoy the actual library work. It's the politics that drives me crazy.
Agapanthus Posted Sep 26, 2003
"We go through periods of being active chatterers and inactive"
Sounds like every librarian I ever did meet
What I am truly looking forward to is having access to academic books again. My local libraries are darling, and in such pretty buildings, but clearly designed to entertain and inform Everyman - a highly laudable ambition - so they are hardly going to be buying 'The Dickensian' and 'Shakespeare Quarterly' and thumping great tomes on Middleton. So I have felt my highly polished brain go all manky and rusty and I've forgotten what a zeugma is. I know I once knew, because I remember how to spell it...
In fact, local library politics - as in the way it affects book-buying, has been driving me mad for years. The council did a survey of users, and found out that sixty or seventy percent wanted more factual, academic books, (on sciences, history, literature, foreign languages, etc). They decided not to change their buying policy because, and I quote, who would read these books? Err, those sixty to seventy percent who asked for them? I know academic texts are expensive, so if they'd just said 'We can't afford it' I'd have thought fair enough, but this excuse was just, oh, never mind.
Odo Posted Sep 26, 2003
Of course you can join. I really must sit down and do something with the page now that enrolment is over.
I ended up in a library by accident to. I'm actually a trained primary school teacher, but after a term in a school I decided I wasn't ready for full time teaching. I moved back to my home area and saw this job advertised. I'd worked in the library at my Secondary school so I applied and got the job.
I like the atmosphere here in the college, I love the library and I still enjoy helping the students (the teacher coming out in me I guess). Ok, some of the groups cause a lot of hassle, but it all adds the variety.
David B - Singing Librarian Owl Posted Sep 29, 2003
Hypatia Posted Sep 29, 2003
Agapanthus made an important point about materials seletion. You have to know your audience. Perhaps ideally all libraries should have the same selections, but in the real world you have to allow for regional differences, educational differences, cultural differences.
The director of a much larger public library district than mine has consistently won awards for the quality of his libraries. He stated one time that the secret is amazingly simple. "We give the public what they want, not what we think they should have."
Academic libraries, which have to be curriculum supportive, have different selection requirements, naturally. But there is no excuse for a public library to exclude items that would be used by a large percentage of their patrons because "someone" decides they're too scholarly.
David B - Singing Librarian Owl Posted Sep 29, 2003
I'm very, very glad I don't have to do any material selection (as I specialise in inter-library loans), as it must be a complete nightmare, and very tempting to give in and go with books you happen to like.
As we are an academic library, the majority of stock is selected specifically by the academic teaching staff, so it is quite nice to be able to tell moaning students that they should go and moan at their tutor instead.
My local public library often surprises me by having items in which I wouldn't have expected. 'The Name of the Rose' for instance (very traumatic for librarians to read!) and F.R.Leavis' dogmatic book of literary criticism 'The Great Tradition' which neither of the local academic libraries had.
Agapanthus Posted Sep 29, 2003
'The Name of the Rose' - oh Lord, I read that with tears streaming down my face, I kid you not - the books! the books! Much in the same way, I loathe Julius Caesar because he accidentally (!) set fire to the Great Library of Alexandria. Of all careless pieces of .
I live in walking distance of three public libraries, as I live in London, and though each individual one is frankly a bit pants, among the three of them I do quite well. At least, I am constantly being told I can't have any more books until I bring some back.
On Wednesday (day after tomorrow!) I am back working in an academic library (hurrah!).
Hypatia Posted Sep 30, 2003
Do the university libraries in the UK have popular materials available? Such as genre fiction?
David B - Singing Librarian Owl Posted Oct 1, 2003
If a course on genre fiction is taught, yes! My library has lots of children's fiction, as the university was originally a teacher training institution. The library of the University of Kent has a fair amount of science fiction material, as courses on sf are taught as part of the Comparative Literature department. I would expect that most would not have popular materials unless they were related to the courses being taught, though, as uni libraries are just as badly funded as public libraries.
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Agapanthus (Sep 26, 2003)
- 2: Hypatia (Sep 26, 2003)
- 3: Agapanthus (Sep 26, 2003)
- 4: Odo (Sep 26, 2003)
- 5: David B - Singing Librarian Owl (Sep 29, 2003)
- 6: Hypatia (Sep 29, 2003)
- 7: David B - Singing Librarian Owl (Sep 29, 2003)
- 8: Agapanthus (Sep 29, 2003)
- 9: Hypatia (Sep 30, 2003)
- 10: David B - Singing Librarian Owl (Oct 1, 2003)
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