Monday, 22 February 2010

99 Trades of Dundee

I've got a lot of respect for library assistants.

They're the people delivering the front line service, the ones you see when you go into the library. It's a constantly challenging job requiring intelligence, patience, in-depth knowledge and a requirement to assist people.

A high proportion of the workers are multi-skilled practitioners with qualifications in other jobs, but carrying out non-qualified jobs in library work. For example, in one department alone there was an english graduate, social worker, artist, nurse, lens based artist, and a country ranger. Coming from another profession they bring to the post specialist knowledge, extensive experience and a set of transferable skills from their other trade.

As well as dealing with the stress that goes with dealing with the general public they often have to do quite menial repetitive tasks, checking books in and out, shelving books. Much of the science and business staff time is taken up booking people on the computers. Besides their regular library work some take on extra responsibilities such as first aid, working with vulnerable groups many who come are living with the daily reality of poverty and social inequality. The library workers have to be extra resourceful as they have minimal budget and resources for this. I'm considering how coming from my trade background I can add value to their work and further support their aims.


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