Tag Archives: academe

Lessons from Library Work

When I was a child, I thought that working in a library would be the best thing in the world. I’d be surrounded by books that I can read whenever I wanted to, and best of all, there wouldn’t be that much contact with people because hey, I’m dealing with books. Friends who are book lovers or know my love for books and reading would agree and express their delight that I am actually now working in a library.

It couldn’t be more further from the truth.

Fact 1: Not all the books in the library are materials you want to read
I work in an academic library, one that caters specifically to engineering students and faculty. Almost all of the books we have in the collection are technical books. I haven’t seen a single fiction or leisure reading book, unless you consider handbooks and technical materials leisure reading.

However, the library also has some special interest books, like website design, game design, management and the like, that I wouldn’t mind reading during my spare time. But that makes up just perhaps 10% of the whole collection. There are also some books that are useful for my masters, but again, not really leisure reading.

The magazines are another matter though. While we have a lot of specialized magazines, journals and periodicals dealing with engineering subjects, there are also general interest titles like Time, Reader’s Digest and National Geographic. Those are the ones I definitely want to read.

Fact 2: You will handle books and people
My first designation when I started the job was with the circulation section, where we handle the borrowing and returning of books, among other things. I handled books, but I am always in contact with the people using the library. Sure, I could probably just not talk to them as I go about my tasks, but since the library is a service oriented institution, you have to talk to them.
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