Text by: Cheung Shek Kiu
As a student trained mostly in a non-work environment, I have wondered about what it will be like to start up my career, and how to get to know more experienced librarians. On June 16, Jennifer invited me to HKBU Library for a library tour. She also introduced me to two librarians who are working in fields that I am interested in.
The first librarian that I met was Lolita, Section Head of Metadata & Cataloging Services. She told me that for an untrained new employee, it usually takes about 9 to 10 months to become a competent cataloguer.
Besides cataloguing, we discussed some free library management systems to aid my coming project, which is to build a mini library. There are many of online library management systems which are easy to use, such as Librarika. However, these platforms offer limited access if you are not a paid user. For Librarika, they limit the number of records depending on the package, and for a free account they allow users to save up to 2,000 records only.
Jennifer then introduced me to Fliike, which is an interesting physical Facebook counter (see photo below). Furthermore, I was also shown how stunning signage and posters can be made using tools such as Powtoon and Piktochart. Also, she explained how clear and attractive signage in the library encourages patrons to make a good use of the facilities available.
I also got the chance to meet Chris, Head of Information Services and one of the HKLC coordinators, during my visit. He shared his experience about the work of a library liaison, and how the librarians choose and maintain database or journal subscriptions. The job takes a persistent individual to negotiate with vendors, as they may offer outrageously high prices for their products. Also, I understand that it is useful to possess some working knowledge of contract law to ensure that subscription contract terms are in the library’s favour.
On this visit Jennifer gave me a chance to have a peek at the operation of a university library. I got answers to many of the questions that I have had about this line of work. Furthermore I have built a concrete ladder to progress my career, as my understanding of library management systems has improved significantly.