Part of the reference team, Margaret can be found at the Information desk, answering questions from Library users, or in the shelves helping them to find their books or other materials. At other times she may be doing office work, like choosing new Library materials.
What are your main responsibilities?
- Working at the Information desk
- Choosing fiction and non-fiction materials for the library
- Discarding documents no longer pertinent to the collection
- Participating in the programming of activities and conferences
- And making blog entries!
Describe a typical workday?
Part of the day will be spent at the Information desk doing reference work, answering questions and helping users find the information they are looking for. The library’s two locations hold close to 200,000 documents, and we offer digital access to 270,000 more multi language books, newspapers, magazines, films and music online. A large part of my work is acting as a liaison between all these materials and library users, helping them navigate their way through the collections, whether it be for the next great read, searching for a repair manual, or help on how to use a new digital tablet. You never know what the next question will be.
Daily office hours will be spent preparing reading suggestions and lists, using professional publications to select materials to add to the collection, and evaluating documents that are damaged or have been replaced by newer editions for weeding or deselection. During programming season, some time is dedicated to contacting potential speakers and workshop leaders, to help piece together the library’s upcoming activities.
What was your field of study?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Psychology and German, and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS)
What are important qualifications for your work?
For reference work, it is important to enjoy serving the public, and to listen and communicate well with customers. In order to choose and maintain the best materials in the collection, it is important to have a feel for the pulse of the community.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Seeing someone’s eyes light up when I have helped them find something that they have been looking for.
Do you have a favourite work related anecdote?
A patron once asked me Didyouredomusic? I prattled on for about a minute about all the changes we had just made to the music collection, until I saw the blank look on her face. Then she asked me again “Do you have any Didjeridoo music (an Australian Aboriginal instrument)? Well yes, we do (sheepishly).