Today’s post is a guest post from our Country Coordinator for Ireland, Eva Hornung. She is sharing a day in her library life through a Q&A. This is the first in a series of guest posts we wil be featuring from our Country Coordinators over the coming weeks. Thanks Eva.
What is your Name? Eva Hornung
Where are you From? Originally from a town near Stuttgart in Germany. Famous for its vineyards, forests and, uh, cars. I have been living in Dublin, Ireland, for the past 14 years.
Did you always want to be a librarian and if not what did you do before? No, originally I wanted to become a pirate, but my parents advised against it. The career prospects weren’t really that good with people usually ending up in chains in prison. Then it was archaeology, but Indiana Jones could be blamed for this. I actually was one of those kids who would read a book a day, so my friend introduced me to our local public library. And the rest, as they say, is history. A couple of years ago my mum found some of my old books. I had put labels on the spine and made my brother borrow them. How sad.
Where do you Work? In the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB)’s Curriculum Development Unit, an educational research centre. We host a range of national programmes and projects in the post-primary and further education sector. Many of them deal with disadvantaged communities, people with special needs or non-traditional learners. Some colleagues are engaged in projects on a European or international level. We also provide in-service courses for post-primary teachers and publish school materials. I’m the only one in the library, but do have about 15 colleagues working on different projects and programmes. Some of them are based outside Dublin. The library is open to everyone in the CDETB and beyond, so there is a good mix of people coming in looking for teaching materials or with queries related to their own research. Good craic, as the Irish say.
What is your average day like? When you work as a solo librarian, no two days are the same. A typical day usually entails fixing the photocopier or someone’s printer, helping people with their research, a lot of talking, editing of new materials, working on our website, discovering new resources, perhaps some First Aid. Oh, and being involved with making cappuccinos for the coffee break. Unfortunately it also often includes dealing with accounts and cataloguing, two chores I try to avoid and can only endure with the radio on full blast.
What do you enjoy most about the job? Being the person who brings people and information together. Because of the nature of my workplace, I hope that in some tiny way I can make a difference to the lives of people who did not have a positive experience of learning and education, but who just give it another go. Also, the look on my customers’ faces when, with a smug, knowing smile, I miraculously produce that piece of information they had been looking for. I love my job.
What are the hot topics for librarians in Ireland at the moment? Well, having to do more with much less. Most libraries in the public sector had substantial budget cuts. There is also a moratorium on employment since 2008, which means that retirees cannot be replaced. Through inter-library co-operation we are trying to keep the show on the road. Another challenge for many information professionals is the rapid changes in technology – how to convince your non-librarian manager that social media has its place in a modern work environment.
How do you unwind after a hard day? Oh, there are no hard days, because, obviously, being a librarian is sheer bliss! On the rare occasion when I have had a bad day (cataloguing!), I’d go for a swim or to the pictures, or meet my friends over a lovely glass of red wine.