While my love for librarianship is pretty much unconditional, today I am feeling it with particular ferocity for two reasons (and this post makes me realize that it’s been ages since I wrote anything about public services, tsk). I just had one of those experiences where I ran into a student that I had helped previously, this time via the Research Advisory Service (a program in the main library at Berkeley where interested students sign up for 30+ minute appointments for extended help with a research topic or assignment). I enjoy these a great deal, because they invariably become more about talking through topics and ideas and about interdisciplinarity than the usual click-here-click-here routine (a.k.a. library site tapdancing), plus they are uninterrupted.
So in this case, the student in question was a big, gregarious Australian kid who needed a first-person forgiegn national account of South African apartheid (we found several, and talked about how he could approach his analysis). Earlier today I ran into him on a campus path sharing headphones with someone, and he stopped me and talked with almost spooky enthusiasm about “all the awesome primary sources” he found, incredibly thankful for our appointment.
Seriously, when this happens I always feel like someone just paid them $10 to make my day, and have I mentioned before that students at Berkeley are both extremely smart and earnest? It’s an amazing combination, and in instructional and reference contexts they consistently blow whatever pre/misconceptions I have about undergraduates and engagement out of the water. It’s also nice to get an after-the-fact perspective on a student interaction from time to time – too often the work we do pays off too far down the line for us to notice the impact it has.
The second reason I’m all about libraries today? It’s spring, and this is what I see when I look up from my computer:
Makes up for the series of pockmarked beige and red walls I stared at for the first five years I worked in libraries. My department will actually be moving in a year or so due to a building renovation, but for now I’m thinking this is an amazing view. And come to think of it, other brutalist libraries I’ve known have also had sunken staff gardens – Perry-Castañeda Library at UT Austin, for example:
The employee lounge exclusively looks out on these trees… interesting.