In September 2022, Hong Luo started working with us as part of the Positive Action Graduate Traineeship, which seeks to address the underrepresentation of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds working in Higher Education Libraries. The traineeship offers a recent graduate the opportunity to work for 12 months as a Library Assistant, gaining experience which may hopefully lead to a career in libraries.
Hong describes her experiences of the traineeship so far in the words and illustrations below.
“ You never know what waits for you, until you take action ”
” 知之之要，未若行之之实 “
I used to resist this sentence, which has been told so many times by friends and tutors, as I always want to make a perfect plan before taking action. But gradually I am understanding what that sentence means.
As a Fine Art student at Goldsmiths, standing in front of the Library Help Desk, I never knew the offices behind this desk were home to a group of warm, meticulous and professional library staff. The library job is never only about lending a book or finding a study space. There are so many things you can explore or utilise in the library, including study skills workshops, the zines collection and monthly book displays.
I am principally based in the Reader Service team within the library. Day-to-day tasks for this team include shelving, searching for lost and missing items, mending books, processing membership applications as well as answering varied enquiries at the library help desk. There are so many things to do in the library and I never feel bored.
The library job never finishes, as I was told by in my first week by my colleague Judith (a lovely lady who has worked in the library setting for a long time). The first development I noticed was that I slowed down my pace, becoming calmer, starting my day with the basic things and focusing on the details.
What attracts me most to the traineeship is that, though this position is based in the Reader Services team, I also get the opportunity to work with different library teams, throughout the year. This is an excellent opportunity for me to learn, explore how an academic library operates as a big system, understand what is unique about Goldsmiths Library and how I can help to make it a little better.
During autumn term I worked with the Digital Assets team, dealing with inter-library loan (ILL) requests and scanning for reading lists. Processing an ILL request is a bit like detective work and it can get complicated if the book is old or in another language. But for me, that’s also the most fun part. I’m often amazed by everyone’s reading lists, how unique each person’s interests are, and how many things there are in this world just waiting to be explored.
Inevitably, as a beginner here I’ve made mistakes, but this is also the way to learn. I appreciate my kind and experienced colleagues, I feel supported by our teams and have learned a lot from them little by little. Also, learn and find inspiration from our visitors, even through a few sentences, I can tell how unique they are and always come with different views on the same thing.
Apart from the daily tasks, what also surprises me about the library is that there are subtle changes every day.
About the people, who come and go to the library every day whether it’s a familiar face or a new one. And about the space, an orange appeared on a bookshelf and mysteriously disappears a few days later, a three-legged fox (we think, they were fast!) runs past the library back door, a bunch of books often appears on the same desk in the early morning, even though I just put them back on the shelf yesterday.
” Every day is a new day “
” 日日常新 ”
I used to resist this sentence too. However, switching to a new perspective by starting this job, I realise how huge the positive power is within that sentence. I look forward to finding a bit of change each day, learning from my daily work and people who come from various backgrounds, and exploring every little thing around the Goldsmiths Library.
Hong Luo, Positive Action Graduate Trainee