Interview With a Librarian

How often have you had the assistance of a librarian in your life? For myself, a self-professed bookworm, librarians have helped me on many occasions. They’ve helped me through essays, found my favourite authors and been the guardians of the wonders that are books!

How much do we actually think about the librarian during our visits to the library? For myself, I’m usually so absorbed by finding my next great read that I don’t pay a lot of thought to the people who keep one of my favourite places running.

It’s time to #loveyourlibrarian and acknowledge the fantastic work they do in literacy and education!

I hope you enjoy today’s post!

Today on the blog I’ll be chatting with my friend Katie (pictured below) from @KatieWritesStuff. Katie is a fellow creative and a librarian. She kindly agreed to being interviewed on my blog today. Thank you Katie!

How did you become a Librarian?

When I decided I wanted to work with books, I figured I had two choices: bookstore or library. I didn’t think I’d be any good at sales, so I went for the library route and trained as a library technician.

This was a two-year Diploma course and I came away with a qualification and a husband, which was an added extra they hadn’t mentioned in the course guide!

I’ve only ever worked in school libraries because I always felt they were the most interesting and had more variety on offer. I have never regretted that choice: school libraries are endlessly different and definitely full of variety!

My most recent role was advertised as a librarian position but I felt I had the experience to qualify for it… and the interviewers agreed with me. So after quite a long time working as a library technician, I’m now technically a librarian. I have considered doing some post-graduate study to become a qualified librarian, but I have too many other activities I love doing in my spare time, so I don’t know where I’d fit it in.

I started working in my first school in 2003 and I’ve worked in five schools so far: three state schools, a private school and a catholic school. They’ve all had their differences and their similarities and I honestly can’t see myself working in any other type of library.

What does the average working day look like for a Librarian?

It’s different every day. The great thing about working in a school library is you get to do a little bit of everything.

On one day, I might be putting on Hogwarts robes and striding about during lunchtime with my wand. On another day, I might be cataloguing a new order of books, on the next, I might be off taking photos of an author’s presentation to Year 7 students… You never know what’s going to happen next!

In between all of that, my main tasks are to keep everything running smoothly, which involves getting new books onto the catalogue and onto the shelves, weeding old books (yes, it’s a necessary part of library life), helping students at the desk, loaning books, returning books and pushing in chairs.

No-one told us we’d spend so much of our time pushing in chairs…

What is it that you enjoy the most about the library and your work?

The students are definitely the best thing about my work. We have a great programme where students can sign up to help in the library and they receive regular perks and rewards for their assistance. They’re so keen to help and they love having a bit of responsibility and learning new skills. It’s been so much fun to get to know them and to hear their stories.

My other favourite part of work is the catalogue. I’ve always loved putting things in the right place, so cataloguing is perfect for me! I could easily spend a day combing through sections of the catalogue and making sure the records are consistent and set up so they’re easy for people to find. Basically, my two favourite aspects of work are about connection: connecting with the students who use the library and connecting people to the information they need.

Have you got any library pet-peeves? 

Push in your chair! There’s a bit of a joke that people spend ages qualifying to work in libraries and when we get there, we spend the bulk of our time pushing in people’s chairs after they leave. 

What do you think the future of the physical library looks like in the digital age?

Oddly, I think it looks much the same as it always has, except with the addition of a collection of ebooks.

Perhaps people might think that students prefer ebooks, since they’ve all but grown up with a device in their hands, but it’s not true: they love real books. In fact, they prefer real books.

Libraries should always be a place where you can come for an escape from the real world or for help with the real world. You should always feel safe asking questions in a library. More and more, libraries are being designed as places where people can find their own little spaces and make them their own for a while. Regardless of whether you’re settling in to read, watch some Netflix or get on with some essay writing.

Do you have a favourite library that you’ve visited? Which one and why?

I tend to visit book shops rather than libraries, although I have spent a fair bit of time with my writing group in the reading room at the State Library of Victoria and I absolutely love that place. When you’re surrounded by such majestic architecture and the hush of people being quiet, it’s easy to feel inspired to write!

What books are you recommending at the moment? 

We’re building up our sci-fi section at work, so I’m recommending a lot from that particular genre!

The Illuminae series is one of my top picks and I just ordered in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and there’s already a huge queue waiting for the first book to be returned. I’m encouraging the manga readers to try Assassination Classroom and whenever I find someone who likes a bit of ghosty goodness, I suggest they read the Lockwood & Co series – it’s so much fun!

Who are some of your favourite authors?

Terry Pratchett is an all-time favourite – I’m currently re-reading my way through the Discworld books at the moment. I also love Charles Dickens, Marissa Meyer (she’s written a fabulous series of fairy tales twisted into a sci-fi universe – I highly recommend Cinder), anything Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff write together, Diana Wynne Jones, Jackie French (she is so amazingly prolific!) and Garth Nix.

What book got you into reading and why?

I don’t even remember when I started reading!

Two of my earliest memories related to reading are:

1. proudly telling my dad I’d read an entire Famous Five book in the time between my getting home from school and his arrival after work.

2. Finishing the box of readers so quickly in Grade 1 that I had to be sent to the Grade 2 reading class so I had something new to read (otherwise I’d just go to the box and pick out my favourites!).

Reading has always been part of my life and I never go anywhere without a book if I can help it.

If you could be a book character for a day, who would you be?

I’d love to take myself into many a book and join in the fun! Discworld would probably be my first choice. There are so many adventures to be had there, but I’d happily wander around to Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom or find my way to Chrestomanci Castle in Diana Wynne Jones’s books. Or join in the ghost hunting in Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. books. Or discover life after Sauron in Middle Earth… There are too many options!

Thank you!

Thank you Katie for sharing a bit about your work at the library and your love for books. I think I’d love to wear Harry Potter robes to work! As I write from home there’s a possibility it might happen sometime…

Libraries should always be a place where you can come for an escape from the real world or for help with the real world. You should always feel safe asking questions in a library. More and more, libraries are being designed as places where people can find their own little spaces and make them their own for a while…

Katie, Katie Writes Stuff

I love the above quote from my interview with Katie. The library has certainly been a sanctuary for me, and I know it is for many others. It’s a beautiful thing that libraries exist in our world. I’m grateful to those who make this space possible for so many people, myself included, to enjoy!

I’ll be sure to push my chair in…

Have you got a #loveyourlibrarian moment you’d like to share? If there’s a librarian or librarian program that has impacted you positively I’d love to hear about it! Let’s chat in the comments below and celebrate these amazing people.

Let’s connect

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If you have social media you can find me @stephuddlestonwriting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. If you’d like to know more about what I do on the blog and in my freelance writing you can visit the About Me page for more information!

Hi! I'm Steph, a freelance writer for hire based in Australia. I'm an avid reader and love all things bookish! My blog is all about the written word.

2 thoughts on “Interview With a Librarian

  1. Wonderful post, Steph! So glad you shared this with us and get us a glimpse of a librarian’s life. I feel like their job has often been underappreciated but once you get their assistance at least once in your life, you understand how fantastic they can actually be; although it doesn’t mean you won’t run into those grumpy ones that seem to be in the wrong profession hahah

    Honestly, in some other life, I would totally see myself as a librarian too, just to be able to arrange/catalogue books, discover new ones, and share my passion for literature with those who want to listen hahah

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

      Being a librarian does sound like fun! Especially in a school setting from what Katie shared in her interview. Ah well! We’ll just have to share our passion for literature elsewhere… like on our blogs haha! 😂🤩

      Liked by 1 person

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