Tuesday 2 May 2017

"Shhhh... in other languages": My experience of working in libraries in different countries

This blog is from our October event, "Shhhh... in other languages": My experience of working in libraries in different countries". Many thanks to Emily Green for writing it for us.

Our speaker for the October meeting of CILIP Thames Valley was Marina Sotiriou, Library Assistant at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Speaking about her experiences of working in different countries and libraries, Marina delivered an entertaining and informative presentation entitled “Shhhh…in other languages”.

Having studied library and information management in Greece, Marina worked first for the Library of Visual and Applied Arts at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Library of the 21st Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities in Corfu. Following these interesting posts, she made a bold move to the UK; working first at Belfast Metropolitan College before taking up her current role. By this time, Marina’s varied experience meant she had already worked with numerous library management systems, classification systems, library structures and colleagues.

Based on these experiences and some detailed research, Marina was able to summarise the key differences between Greek and UK libraries across sectors. Describing health, school, public, and academic libraries, she provided an interesting insight into the strengths and challenges present in each country.

Drawing on personal experience, she then turned to those skills that she considers particularly important when working in different countries. Perhaps most striking was her emphasis on the importance of flexibility and her enthusiasm for constantly learning and meeting new people with different approaches and ideas.

Following Marina’s presentation, an opportunity for questions developed into an informal chat amongst attendees about the current state of UK and Greek libraries across sectors. Sharing our thoughts and experiences on the issue rounded off the evening well.

Emily Green – Assistant Librarian, University College, Oxford