I have been associated with the Library and Information Center, IIIT Delhi in many ways, and one of these was a duty of keeping the library open between 9 to 12 at night on weekdays. Since I was a hosteler, this was possible for me. I worked through my monsoon and winter semesters for over a year, but now that I am handling my Teaching Assistant work, I safely withdrew from the position.
Today, I recount my experiences and learnings at the circulation desk.
- Meditation: College semesters can be stressful. Three hours at the library helped me cool off the sounds of the day and brought me to a more peaceful, balanced state of mind before bedtime.
- Interaction: At the library, interactions are limited, but often quite deep. I remember having enjoyed a wonderful conversation with a student I didn’t personally know, over a book she wanted to issue. Since I’m generally introverted, and have stayed in the institute for long, it is difficult for me to start conversations with people I see around me on a daily basis. Looking back, it is hard to believe how the library helped me open up.
- Assistance: Often, students would have problems browsing through shelves. Though the library has a user-friendly e-portal to find books, educating visitors about the same and helping them in case of any inconsistencies led me to realize and acknowledge my inner willingness to help and share resources with fellow students. Also, allowing for a little illegal midnight borrow for a test next day didn’t hurt.
- Discovery: Being a computer science undergrad, it is uncommon of me to find time to go out and read books other than the textbooks- the library pulled me out of that nest. I found books on almost every recent research topic, both in and outside of tech. It also helped me rekindle my love for poetry; I would often break into a Frank O’Hara or Walt Whitman verse after a stretch of two hours on my laptop. Best study breaks ever!
- Innovation: During my time as a librarian, there were quite a lot of “happenings”- the display of books on a separate counter celebrating international days, a new and improvised feedback form and stylish new bookmarks. The library also organized GRE and GMAT workshops in campus. I feel great about having been a part of these ventures.
Of course, I was paid a monthly stipend. But, it is the experience that makes me look back and smile.