A day in the life of a librarian

2018-03-06 06:00
PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeMotala Heights librarian Angela Hounsell.

PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeMotala Heights librarian Angela Hounsell.

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AFever reporter, Nosipho Mkhize, had a one-on-one with Angela Hounsell who works as a librarian, to find out more about her life and career.

NM: Please tell me about your childhood.

AH: I grew up in Westville, the youngest of three. I loved school and was a good pupil. I remember visiting the library and being quite excited to borrow books. I always enjoyed being read to and then later became an avid reader myself.

NM: When did you become a librarian?

AH: I began as a part-time librarian at the Westville Library 23 years ago, and have since worked in a few different eThekwini libraries. I have gained valuable experience from working in each of these. I am now at the Motala Heights Library in Pinetown, one of the District 9 libraries.

NM : Did you want to become a librarian while growing up?

AH: I never imagined I would be a librarian. I started off as a music teacher in northern Natal and due to relocating back to Durban, I then joined the library and have been here ever since. It has always been a very fulfilling career, networking with communities and assisting them with their information needs.

NM: What are the challenges of being a librarian?

AH: The role of libraries has changed radically in the past 20 years as technology has developed. Children today gravitate towards the Internet for their research rather than merely consulting books.

Libraries have had to accommodate this change and therefore supply the use of PCs and Wi-Fi access.

The supreme role of literacy, however, remains. The role of libraries has also grown to include social upliftment programmes for communities, which aim to empower them and to encourage social cohesion within our rainbow nation.

NM: What are the biggest mental tools one can use to be successful in this career?

AH: First of all one should be passionate about reading and literacy in order to guide and assist library users. One needs to be focused and constantly evaluating ones relevance to the community as a whole in order to provide for and satisfy their specific needs.

The library should be the hub of the community.

NM: Why is it important for people to read regularly?

AH: Reading and literacy are central to success in life. A love of reading needs to be encouraged and developed in children from an early age. Libraries can play a large part in this, partnering with schools, as today parents often work and have limited time available. We have a Bookworm Club which encourages and rewards the reading achievement of our young members.

NM: What are the procedures to follow if one wants to join a library?

AH: In order to join the library you will need to complete an application form and to supply a copy of your identity document, together with recent proof of address, and a copy of a birth certificate for a child. This will entitle adult members to borrow books, magazines, CDs and DVDs. The library also offers a free Wi-Fi facility as well as PCs for public use.

NM: Do you have some advice for the youth?

AH: I would advise all youth to visit their nearest local library to see what is available, whether their needs are for the reading of literature, school projects, tertiary study opportunities, a quiet place for study or a meeting place for social or study groups. Photocopy and faxing facilities are also available.

There are so many opportunities available to the youth today — join your local library to find out more.

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