Go behind the scenes at the Library

Megan Behind the Scenes tour

Have you ever wondered where library staff go when they tell you they need to search “out the back”?   Or thought about how everything you borrow mysteriously gets labels on the covers and put onto the Library’s computer system?

Come on the Library’s Behind the scenes tour to find out the answers to these questions and others that you may have.  You will certainly be surprised!

Date and time:   Thursday 26 May,11am – noon

Cost:  Free. Bookings are essential.  Places are limited.  Tours start at the Ask Here Desk. 

  • Follow the life of a book from purchase to debit.
  • See how a book gets from the supplier to the shelf.
  • Learn about some of the backroom tasks that library staff perform.
  • Discover what happen when you return at item in the chute. 
  • Gain a greater awareness of the volume of resources available for use.

Book online or telephone 8397 7333.

What’s it like to volunteer at the Library?

Last week Tea Tree Gully Library celebrated National Volunteer Week, and all of the good work they do. The Library simply could not function without the devotion and energy of our volunteers, who come from many different backgrounds and ages. One of our youngest volunteers is Sophie, who recently gave us some feedback on her experience helping with the Library’s Digital Hub. We would like to encourage anyone interested in volunteering at the Library, or another council-run facility, to visit the Volunteer Vacancies website

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you come to end up as a volunteer at the Tea Tree Gully Library?

Hi, I’m Sophie!  I spend my Tuesday afternoons volunteering at the Digital Hub in Tea Tree Gully library.  I’m originally from Canada but moved here from England where I lived for four years, after having lived in Upstate New York for 11 years!

While visiting the Tea Tree Gully website I saw an ad about volunteering at the Digital Hub, and after making a phone call, meeting up with some coordinators, and having an interview, I was in!

What kinds of things do you provide volunteer assistance with at the library?

I work at the Digital Hub, helping mostly seniors learn how to use technology more effectively on  iPads, laptops, computers, iPods, or phones.

You are one of our youngest volunteers at the library, and you work with some of our most elderly customers. Is the age gap an issue and are people shocked when they see how young you are? 

The age gap doesn’t seem to be a problem in the least!  I think the elderly people love seeing a young face.  Sometimes when someone arrives for a lesson, even though I am right there, they stand around and seem to be wondering where their teacher is!  I approach them with a smile and ask them, “Are you here for the Digital Hub?”  I sometimes receive a surprised look but they don’t seem to mind at all.

What is it about volunteering you enjoy – where do you get your moments of joy?

It is such a joy to be able to explain things and solve problems that have been such a pain to the customer.  I love seeing the excitement on their face when they understand how to navigate or use a certain product.  It is always fun to amaze them with handy new tricks like copy and pasting (my most popular one)! I love hearing positive reports from staff members about people who have really appreciated a session.

What are some of the challenges with volunteering?

I think the biggest challenge is thinking up solutions on the spot and figuring out how to explain them as clearly as I can.

You are so young and the world is your oyster. Why have you made the choice to volunteer at such a young age, rather than go out and party, enjoy your hobbies and friends?

I thought volunteering would be the perfect way to get a taste of what a job might be like.  And I am actually enjoying my hobbies at the hub by teaching and exploring technology!  I have even met some lovely new people whom I am getting to know. I enjoy my regular customers!

What would you say to someone who is interested in volunteering, but is slightly hesitant about giving it a go?

Don’t let an opportunity such as volunteering pass you by!  It is a perfect way to get some great experience and meet some lovely people along the way.  You will never regret doing something that is not just beneficial for yourself but also for the many people who you will be helping.  It doesn’t hurt to give volunteering a try but you will probably end up continuing once you’ve started!

Libraries in Art Galleries

Sometimes an art gallery’s library is just as interesting as the artwork.

Many contemporary art galleries often have a library on site, so visitors can sit and enjoy reading books about the artists and the permanent art collection in a particular gallery. An art gallery library also serves to provide a greater insight into featured artworks by hosting a strong collection of literature and relevant documentation.

On recent trip to Hobart one of our staff discovered a Library in the depths of the extraordinary MONA art museum; a collection of 5,000 books on art and ancient cultures housed in a quiet, beautiful modernist chamber. It wasn’t quite the lively hub that we have here at Tea Tree Gully, but goes to show that organisations everywhere still like to collect fascinating books for people to read.

MONA

Artworks at MONA in Hobart, Australia.

Across the world, many significant art galleries have amazing libraries as well. Naoshima Island, off the southern seaport of Oyama in Japan, is dotted with art galleries and their libraries. One of these galleries, Benesse House, features contemporary art works from artists like Andy Warhol and Yayoi Kusama, which dazzle in the mezzanine style layout that provides views of art and the surrounding seaside. In the middle of the gallery, right behind an unremarkable corner, is a library nook filled to the brim of Japanese and English books regarding artists’ work. It’s particularly helpful for those seeking a more detailed explanation of the art works they have seen, particularly when the captions are in a foreign language.

Naoshima

Benesse Museum on the Japanese island Naoshima

Benesse House

Benesse House – yes there is a library inside, which soaks up this amazing view.

History buffs can get lost in the books at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Library, which has items in its collection dating back to the 1300s. The Archive is also particularly rich in papers relating to art and artists in Scotland.

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Library

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Library

The National Art Library in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is a major public reference library of fine and decorative arts of many countries and periods. It is a major source of reference for curators, journalists and artists worldwide.

National Art Gallery - Victoria and Albert Museum

Library in the National Art Gallery – Victoria and Albert Museum

Please see one of our staff if you would like to see our collection of art and craft books, which are located in the non-fiction 700s section in the Tea Tree Gully Library.

Interested in volunteering at the Library?

There are currently a number of volunteering opportunities available at The City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

volunteers

Volunteers are being sought for the following roles:

  • Library Access Service Bus Volunteer
    When: Monday and Wednesday – monthly
    Time: 9am – 12pm or 12pm – 3pm

We are seeking an enthusiastic person interested in assisting customers access the Library via our bus service. This role involves collecting patrons from their door, helping them on and off the bus and assisting them with their Library selections. Opportunities for chats and coffee in the Library before making the return trip.

  • Community History Service Volunteer
    When: Monday, Friday & Saturdays – weekly or fortnightly
    Time: 10am -12pm or 2pm – 4pm

Interested in community history and keen on sharing your knowledge and skills? This one-on-one role involves assisting patrons to research community or family history queries, using library databases and resources. The role will also involve liaising with the Community History Officer around history and community events.

  • Early Learning Program Volunteer
    When: Monday to Friday
    Time: 10am – noon

Come and join our fun Early Learning team and help deliver our programs. This role will involve reading of stories, singing songs, set up/pack up, explaining the craft activities and promoting the 0-5 program. You will engage with children and their parents/caregivers in a meaningful, professional and enthusiastic manner and supporting the group facilitator is required.

  •  Library English Literacy Tutor Volunteer

When: Weekly/ Fortnighly sessions
Time:  1 hour each

We are seeking an enthusiastic and understanding person with an interest helping people develop their English Literacy skills. This one-on-one role involves providing high quality English literacy tutoring to improve the skills of clients from diverse backgrounds. You will be required to evaluate and assess individual clients to develop a literacy program to meet their needs.

This could be a perfect opportunity for yourself or anyone you know looking for an opportunity to contribute to our community in a meaningful way.

Visit our website for more info http://bit.ly/1zGHLoC

A tale of work experience at the Tea Tree Gully Library

It is a truth universally acknowledged that you can’t get a job without experience in the workplace and you can’t get experience in the workplace until someone gives you a job.

With this in mind, the clever people at UniSA insist that students of the Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Management undertake work placement in a library. I had previously volunteered for the Tea Tree Gully Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tagging volunteer program where I helped put new RFID tags into library items. This technology is what enables the easy scanning in the new self-checkout machines. I had enjoyed this volunteer program, so I used my volunteer contacts to organise my placement at Tea Tree Gully.

I was very excited. I showed up on my first day keen to do some serious library-ing, but I quickly discovered the other reason the clever people at UniSA want their students to get real word experience.

I didn’t know anything. At all.

And so began my journey.

Some tasks were simple once you knew the library layout and the codes for different sections. For example, the code for Adult Fiction is AF, Adult Non-Fiction is ANF and Adult Fiction Large Print is … AG. Completely logical.

Returns has recently become simpler by the introduction of RFID tags. Instead of precision-scanning each bar-code, the items simply have to be placed over the sensor pad just like the self-service borrowing machines.

Nevertheless, I met with challenges and overcame them with grace and dignity.

Other tasks might have taken time to learn, but my Gen Y status gave me an advantage.

The most difficult task was working on the Customer Service Desk (CSD). People would come up and ask me questions, but I didn’t know any of the answers yet. At first, I had to have help with every question, but before long  I could answer the more frequent questions on my own. By the end of my placement I only had to use my apologetic “I’m just a work experience student” disclaimer for one in three enquires, and usually I managed to answer those enquiries anyway.

But it was also the best task, because I liked talking with the customers. I tracked down books for people who only knew the name of the main character in them, not the title or the author. I helped photocopy university homework, information from books, and Australian citizenship applications. I registered new library patrons. I met people and talked to them about their pets, their degree, their families.

Everyone in the library was incredibly nice and welcoming and helped me out whenever I asked (which was often). I had a great time and learned a lot.

Remember these?

Did you ever check out a library book by writing your name on a slip inside the front cover? This is how it was done before libraries had scanners to read barcodes.

Here’s one from an Andrew Jackson biography that was checked out by a young Elvis Presley just after he moved to Memphis, Tennessee. It recently sold for $7,500 in an online auction, so if you have any former library books it might be worth checking inside for any big names!