By Ursula Loots, I had to wait 23 years and transplant from South Africa for my dream to come true.
As a little girl the library was my play place as my mother was the librarian of the public library in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. She moved on and became the librarian at one the world’s top 20 steel manufacturers, ISCOR, but by that time my love for books was cemented. When I had to decide on a career it was big deal and I decided to study Law at university. I finished my Law degree at the University of Johannesburg in 1973, but 16 months as Law Assistant at the Vanderbijlpark local council was enough to convince me that Law was not for me – too much grey. My brand new husband and I moved to Johannesburg. I immediately got a job at one of the branches in the Johannesburg Public Libraries and I knew I was home.
In 1977 I started with a three year distance learning Post-Graduate Library Diploma at the University of South Africa (UNISA). But the arrival of our first of four sons put an end to my distance learning studies. To keep myself busy, I completed a Diploma in Drama Art, but the arrival of the second son put an end to any idea of completing my library studies.
In 1999 we immigrated to New Zealand. In 2001 I started as Library Assistant at Bookinopolis, Pukekohe Public Library. I started with the Open Polythechnic Library degree because I knew I didn’t want to be Library Assistant forever. But I felt I was moving backwards and it was recommended to me to do the MLIS through Victoria University of Wellington. The best advice I was ever given!
I enrolled at Vic in 2002 and enjoyed every minute of my studies, knowing I was working towards my dream. I completed my MLIS in 2004 and graduated in 2005. One of the proudest days of my life.
In April 2003 I got the position as Casual Staff Supervisor at the University of Auckland and knew: This was for me. In 2004 I was seconded to the Kate Edger Short Loan Library as Client Services Librarian and it became permanent in 2005. In 2008 I was appointed as the Short Loan Manager and am still endlessly happy in my job.
Working in libraries today is a constant process of learning with all the technological changes happening. One never gets to a point where you can say: I know all there is to know. Libraries are constantly evolving and that makes the job so exciting.