Do you ‘stamp’ books for a living? (Kerja abg ‘cap’ buku ke?)

I used to get lots of questions on what I do as a librarian.  Did I ‘stamp’ due dates on books; how many ‘stamps’ did I make in one day and so forth.  At times, it made me feel like ‘stamping’ their foreheads with the book rubber stamps.  However, I realize that it’s not all their fault as librarianship wasn’t a glamorous job compared to doctors, pilots, engineers etc.  Furthermore, back then, there was not much publicity about this profession.


I had to explain to them that some of my major tasks back then revolved around these activities:

  • answering questions whether via email/in person/phone from our users
  • assisting users in their research process
  • manning the Reference Desk, alone (for almost 4 hours either in the morning or afternoon)
  • conducting training sessions for students/staff/lecturers
  • maintaining the library’s website
  • exploring new technologies
  • learning how to use electronic databases
  • assisting users on how to search and retrieve relevant results from these databases
  • promoting library resources: ‘roadshows’, poster exhibitions, thematic books displays etc
  • conducting freshmen orientation

We were also made to

  • shelve books to get a sense of how the books were arranged
  • initiate projects to improve workflows/procedures within department
  • do volunteer work
  • conduct research and write papers
  • sit in committees

Fast forward 20 years, my responsibilities have evolved.  Not all have changed though.  I still handle questions coming in from emails/phone calls/in person.  Sometimes, I do conduct training sessions for faculty members, students and researchers.  I shall elaborate these changes in my upcoming posts.



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