The ISH Libraries are entering a time of redesign and library assessment. In an effort to build a 21st century learning commons, an invitation was given to the University of North Texas library science masters candidates to visit ISH for a 2 week study abroad.
The UNT Visiting Librarians team met with staff and students and spent time studying our library environment. Their insight and recommendations for our libraries will be invaluable as we move forward. There was a true spirit of collaboration during their time here.
We wish them a safe journey back to Texas!
“Reading is the key to everything”
by Wakana and Fatemeh
Professor Barbara Jones is an associate professor who teaches students to become librarians. She originally comes from Canada but currently she works in the Department of Library and Information Sciences (LIS) at the University of North Texas. Dr. Schultz-Jones visited ISH as a part of a library study that her students are taking part of (Dr. Schultz-Jones and her students are visiting ISH as part of their studies at UNT). They have been here for 2 weeks studying our school libraries.
During her visit, we had the privilege of interviewing her and asked her several questions.
Q: How do you like Hamburg? Is it different from Texas?
“I like it very much. I find it very interesting but it’s very different from Texas. Texas is very hot and it has much more extreme temperatures. In the summer we would get to 35 to 40 degrees celsius, and in the winter sometimes 7-8 degrees, so quite an extreme of temperature. But we usually only get the cold for a short period and then we all start getting ready for the heat. It’s very refreshing to be in Hamburg, and it’s very nice to hear the rain, since we are short of rain in Texas. I’m originally from Vancouver, Canada and Hamburg reminds of home. Although I do see many differences from where I'm living now, Hamburg does make me think of home.”
Q: Is this the first school you have visited?
“No.This is my eleventh visit. I visited international schools in Thailand four times, once in Albania where we established the first school library which was very interesting. Other than that, I have visited Ukraine, Peru and Russia. Two years ago, I went to Stuttgart and there were also many more places worldwide.“
Q: Were you interested in books when you were our age and which genres?
“Yes, very. I was always interested in books. I like puzzles and I like mysteries. I’m sure you wouldn’t know Nancy Drew but those were the ones that I was interested in. I majored in English Literature. You know the Little Prince? That is my favourite book. Everywhere I go in the world, I buy a copy of the Little Prince in different languages. It's a nice big collection. Now, I also have a German copy of it.”
Q: Do you have any book recommendations for us?
“Well, that’s difficult for me because I don’t work with students your age, I work with students my age, who are learning to become school librarians.”
Q: Did you know that you wanted to become a professor or do something library related when you were young?
“I knew I wanted to teach and I always enjoyed the interaction with students learning. I was very curious about things happening in the world, so I always knew that I wanted to teach, and I hoped to be a professor, but you know, you’re not always sure. I didn’t know that it would be library related though. And when I was in high school our school library was not a very inviting place. The librarian liked to keep people out, more than in. So when I went to college, I didn’t know how to search for books, didn’t know how to research, and it was terrifying to go into the library. So now that I am a professor, one of my main goals is to welcome people into the library because it’s such a wonderful place where you can learn and explore, and be curious and find things that you interested in, as we all have different interests. I think the library should be a sharing place.”
Q: Do you think movies do the same job as books do?
“I think yes but in different ways. I think sometimes when they make a movie out of a book, they capture the spirit for me, but they might not capture it for somebody else. I think when we are reading, our imaginations go off in different directions, so I think movies do something a little different. They certainly take somebody’s point of view and present it to you with certain emphasis on different parts of the book, so the answer to your questions is, yes and no.”
Q: Why do you think reading is important?
“Reading is the key to everything, because if you can’t read you can’t understand what’s going on around you. I think the best way to illustrate that is when you come from another country, and you don’t know the language. I remember when I went to Thailand for the very first time and got off the plane, I thought, “Aaahhh!” because the characters were really different so I couldn’t even relate to the alphabet, and that's a really disorienting feeling. Therefore, reading is essential to navigate our way through the world, and it just offers so many opportunities to learn and explore about the world we live in.”
Q: Are you against social media?
“Oh no. I don’t think you can be against social media but I don’t believe that it should swallow us up; I think it can limit our interaction.”
Q: What is the latest book that you have read?
“This will probably be very boring for you! I’m reading a book written by Paul Ouellett and he was one of our key library figures in the past. He talked about the organisation of information and that it is fundamental to libraries. The book is about how to we organise the world, and what choices do we make in terms of providing access. That's my non-fiction choice and I always have a fiction choice too. It's a mystery, so it's by Ann Cleeves, who is a British writer. It's about a part of England where I’m not familiar with and that's where the mystery is set. I like to explore mysteries. You can also learn about the country at the same time.”
Q: How long does it usually take you to finish a book?
“It will depend on the book, when the story is so beautiful or so interesting, I find that I’m not just enjoying the story, but also the way that they tell the story, so I tend to slow down as I read those kinds of books. I have a large appetite for reading. I read about every two days. When I travel, I usually carry books with me.”