At university Sue studied languages. Despite the stereotype that librarians are introverted bookworms who love to read and study, Sue admits that she was not a very good student and much preferred, in fact, to sit in cafes and chat to people.
What many people don’t realise, she insists, is that being a librarian requires considerable social skills as you are dealing with people all day long. Although good people skills are important, being a systematic person helps to get through the open polytech library training courses and assists with the daily responsibilities of the job.
Sue has always specialised in children’s books and so naturally her favourite part of the job comes from the kids’ reactions.
“I love finding awesome new books and then finding that a kid thinks it’s just as awesome as I do. That is the best feeling in the world and you don’t get it very often, but every now and then someone comes back and says that book was wicked or freaking awesome or whatever and it is so lovely to hear.”
Sue’s library assistant, Vanessa Carr, brings a fresh perspective to the career of a librarian today. Vanessa helps out with the day-to-day running of the library, including cataloguing, processing new materials, shelving, reference enquiries and everyday tasks that come up.
“I’ve always loved reading, which is really obvious, and when I lived in Australia I worked in a public library for about five years and I loved it so much that when I moved to New Zealand I thought I really wanted to work in a library again.”
Vanessa attended Flinders University in South Australia, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in film and English. “I didn’t really go through the conventional route of becoming a librarian through doing any courses or anything like that as it wasn’t originally what I wanted to do but it kind of developed and I ended up loving it.”
“I love the environment we work in as librarians, I just feel like it’s always positive. There are always interesting people around and you’re in position where you can really help people and students to learn and just find what they’re looking for.”
Both Sue and Vanessa agree that if you’re contemplating becoming a librarian, being a calm and patient person would really work in your favour. Having a positive attitude makes all the difference, not only in the library but in life in general – and a passion for reading wouldn’t go amiss either.