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Friday, October 19, 2007

International visitors at the library

The first half of the week there were two young people doing internship in the stacks. We haven't had any newcomers in quite a while and I really had to plan for it. It's kind of difficult to describe a job I do every day without having to think too much about it. They were impressed by the number of books (seven million) and they said they liked retrieving books for the students. Working in the stacks didn't rank high when I started ten years ago, but that has changed a little. In those days people were working full time there, and now no one does. It's too heavy work. Instead, twelve people make it function by working there part-time. (And sometimes it's a miracle that it does function).

Yesterday's desk duty in the manuscript reading room was interesting. There were visitors from the US, England, Denmark and Finland at the same time. The US visitor was asking for material about a Swedish 19th century explorer who went to Africa. The explorer seemed to have been failing at most of his attempts at finding the rivers and other places he was searching for, but he was a successful writer. He had published a large number of books about his travels, and we apparently had all of them. You get to hear the most fascinating things in the reading room. It's definitely a learning experience.

This is for Jeane: thank you for the message!

And now I really have to start cleaning the apartment - my mother is coming to visit tomorrow!

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