Saturday, 3 July 2010

Open Day

Once in a while, about three or four times a year, I have to spend a Saturday morning at the Enquiry Desk in the library. It's a rare opportunity for a back-room type like me to come blinking out into the spotlight, and do that helpful thing with the punters that makes librarians such a popular breed. It's nice to get all the smiles and (metaphorical) strokes.

Today was unusual, in that my Saturday duty coincided with a University Open Day. We had 12.5K registered visitors in one day -- busloads of parents with pre-uni teens in tow -- so I was unusually busy, smiling until my face ached, and describing how many books we have, and how this includes both a decent proportion of well wicked old ones (as one parent described them) and thousands of electronic titles, how long they can be borrowed for, and what a joy it is in general to be a student in Southampton.

The most pleasant side effect of all this was to see oneself as others saw one, and to appreciate, as several parents put it, how great it must be (is!) to spend one's working day in such a fabulous place as a university library, being brilliantly knowledgeable and helpful, innit?

There are worse things, it's true.

1 comment:

Gavin McL said...

Earlier this year I visited my alma mater to represent my employer at a careers fair and by the end of the day suffered like you from a aching face but in addition I lost my voice.
The level of interest in my employer and the desire of people to work for it surprised me and certainly made me look at my job in a more positive light. The only problem was as I work for an engineering company, most of the students weren't British or even European so the chances of them getting a work permit were slim or next to nothing.