Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Interview with the Principal Librarian at the SABC Information Library

Monica van Deventer
SABC Information Library
This is an interview as part of a series of blog posts to gain a better understanding of the SABC Media Libraries and what we do in the different sections that we belong to.

The interview this week is with Monica van Deventer, the Principal Information Librarian who overseas the Newspaper Cutting Section, the Book Lending Section as well as the Magazines in the SABC Information Library. She has been with the Information Library for almost 21 years.

“The core business of the Information Library is to deliver a World Class Service to the users of the library. When given a request to handle, this must be done immediately and very professional.
 Staff must also have sufficient knowledge of the unique nature of the broadcasting environment, in which they work. They must be able to work under stress and also to understand that the journalists work under stressful circumstances.”

(Quote from the SABC Media Libraries website)

Monica, please tell us a little bit about your life and career (Where you grew up, where and what you studied and your work experience before you joined the SABC Information Library)

I was born in 1961 and grew up in Westdene, Johannesburg.  I studied at Vorentoe High School and after that at the Rand Afrikaans University (now UJ). There I obtained my BA Social Work Degree – at that stage it was still a four year degree. After that I worked as a Social Worker at Transvaal Cripple Care Association in Westcliff, Johannesburg for a period of 2 years. After my resignation there, I started to work as a Library Assistant at Rand Afrikaans University at the circulation desk. I studied part-time for my B.Bibl Degree and obtained that a week before our daughter was born. After that I moved to the cataloguing section as a Junior Librarian. I worked there for almost 6 years, resigned and started my career at the SABC – and I am still here! I am also still a registered social worker and would like to practise social work again when I retire from the SABC one day.
On 30 July this year I will be married for 28 years. My husband works at UJ. We have 2 children – a daughter (23 years) and a son (20 years). We love the outdoors and like to do camping, boating, diving and we also like to fish. We live in Krugersdorp and have 3 dogs and 1 parrot.

Please tell us about a normal day in your office. What information and tasks do you give priority to?

A normal working day consists of replying to emails; attend meetings as and when requested; requesting quotations from books and magazines agencies. I do my utmost to manage the Information Library the best I can. We handle information requests immediately and our newspaper articles are being scanned in on a daily basis. We also do our best to have a good magazine and book collection. At the moment all SABC related information – old and new – is our main priority.

Tell us more about your collection and the scope of material you need to preserve in the library.

Our collection consists of books, magazines and newspapers and newspaper articles. Our collections are very broad and include broadcasting related material, biographies, and travel books – everything that you will find in any other library. Our newspaper article collection is huge and we have more than 3 million articles in files. We also have a collection of old SABC Radio Bulletins, of which we are currently scanning on our Newbase System and indexing on our Inmagic Genie System.

Do you struggle with technical and other difficulties, and if so, what?

Not really. We have good, solid specialised systems. When we experience problems, we receive good support from Ronnie Singh at BIT, who looks after our systems from the SABC’s side. If he cannot solve the problem, we contact Mindex or Digital Archiving Systems and our problems usually then get sorted out quickly.

If you have an anecdote about a specific piece of interesting information, please share it with us.

A lot of things happened in the Information Library over the years. We had very nice and enjoyable International Library week’s celebrations, where we invited all SABC staff members to the Library and had nice snacks, competitions and prizes.
Once we also had a client, for whom we borrowed an old book on the Olympic Games from another Library. He didn’t return the book and we got a reminder from that library for the amount of R1000-00. He insisted that he had returned the book and complained for a few months about the library staff not believing him. Eventually, one day, he turned up with the book and a very sincere apology. He found the book in his safe at his home! We were just very relieved that the book has been returned.

Tell us why you enjoy doing the work that you do.

I love working with people and I love handling information requests. The Information Library broadened my general knowledge – specifically when I worked in the newspaper cutting section - and also taught me to build and maintain very good interpersonal relationships. I have a passion for what I do!

Related posts:
Interview with the Librarian at the Newspaper Cutting Section
Interview with the Librarian at the SABC Information Library: Newspaper Cutting Section
Interview with the Information Librarian at the SABC Information Library

Questions and blog post by Karen du Toit, Afrikaans Archivist in the SABC Radio Archives.

1 comment:

  1. Hi

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    Best regards


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