Are libraries just for study?

One of the things that I love about working in a library is that there’s always something new and exciting to do. It’s a profession that is about so much more than shelving books.

My most recent project was more fun than most. Our library has recently expanded, and now there are more social and quiet spaces for students. It has been very well received, and the students love having new places to study and relax (and particularly some of our quirkier furniture).

A purple armschair with a high back and big arms.

Continue reading “Are libraries just for study?”

Getting into libraries: volunteering and internships

It sounds like a cliché, but libraries have always been there.

Much to my shame, I haven’t always proclaimed my adoration for libraries – but looking back, they have always been there. I remember taking out my first book – being jealous of the stamps, which I still take great joy in – and lament the loss of as our libraries get ever more technological!

In secondary school, the library was the place that students could go to escape the regimented monotony of school – it was a bright space with beanbags and friendly staff. Later in life, the library became a lifeline (as a poor Masters student with a cold, damp studio apartment) – a place with all the information I could need, with free internet, heat and electricity. I waited outside the doors of the library until it opened early in the morning, when it was still dark, and was one of the last students to be sympathetically moved on by a member of staff long after the last tannoy.

A photo of the stacks in Hugh Owen LIbrary, Aberystwyth Unviersity.

Hugh Owen Library, Aberystwyth University. Author’s own.

I emerged from the university bubble like many English graduates, I think – completely unsure what to do next. I worked in a restaurant for a year while I applied to all jobs where English might be considered useful – copywriting, TV & media, and then anything with a desk…I ended up working a full time job in admin and moonlighting in the restaurant because the admin contract was temporary and I couldn’t face a gap in my employment history.

When the admin job ended, I decided I would start volunteering. You’d think a library position would be obvious, but still…nope. I think it was a case of not seeing the woods for the trees. It wasn’t until I had an epiphany one evening, mid-migraine. If you’ve had a migraine, you’ll know that normally it’s best to try and block out all light, sound, smells…and thoughts. You will also comprehend, then, just how much of an epiphany it was that as soon as the thought struck me, I sat up in bed, somehow managed to crawl to the nearest notepad, and scrawl the word ‘libraries’ (underlined too!) before returning to my bed and passing out. Continue reading “Getting into libraries: volunteering and internships”