I did my first library visit last week. Being a support to the organization’s libraries is what I’m here to do, although I wish someone would actually help me get around to doing it. I have to be patient!
I. B. is a technical school library. It has a section for students and a section for teachers. It includes one assistant and a librarian. Classes file in from hour to hour to read, so it’s an active enough place. Although the first library I’ve seen, I suspect this one is better off than the others that serve the public. It is not automated, although it would like to be, and I suspect that interpersonal issues between the librarian and the school administration stifles any problem solving. For example, it’s not unusual for a teacher to check out the best books, and when their contract ends just take them with them. This was highlighted in a report three years ago, and it is still not resolved. I don’t know yet about whether this will fall under the scope of what I will be working on. On va voir. Right now even one visit to one library leaves me with many questions rather than solutions (well, I have ideas for solutions, but how and where to tread is something approached lightly!) But that’s not fun talk for a blog!
Given it’s a technical “Lycee” (nobody can exactly tell me what the ages of the students are at this level, but I figure the youngest 15/16 yrs to young adult…) they have programs such as refrigerator & air conditioning repair, electrical engineering, accounting, drafting, as well as other things. They take classes in English too. Strangely, I wasn’t shown any of the programs that the women register for (which I’m thinking are more “office oriented” jobs). I was asked if any women take the classes I saw and was told there are occasionally women who take them, but I’m guessing these gender career paths are still pretty clearly defined.
So the resources that the teachers asked for were those that were attached to the programs: texts in engineering, business English, accounting, English grammar, topographie (technical drawing, as for architecture, banking and finance, and texts for “le froid” (“the cold”- AC and Fridge repair), and French-English dictionaries.
Of course, it was talking to the students that was the most interesting and fun (although both my French and English made them laugh… strangely, more the English than French) and I think many teen librarians will recognize the consistency of what teens want in their library:
*Bandes dessinées! (comic books/graphic novels)
*Magazines and books about athletes, especially football
*African tales (contes Africains) and African novels
*Romance novels and contes Adoras (I diligently wrote that one down and made a note to myself to investigate what they actually are later, and they are essentially the African written and published Harlequins: http://www.nei-ci.com/litgen/adoras.htm which I guess the name implies. I can’t wait to get my hands on one. Of course, I only found this out after but explains why when speaking to a group of six young men in an electrical engineer class, the mention of romans Adoras resulted only in blank stares back. However, one young man in that class insisted that what he reads in his spare time are books on refrigerator and air conditioning repair. I told him I bet he was a pretty good student. The slogan for Adoras however, is “when reading becomes passion” so I think he may not be too far from the spirit of the novels. )
All libraries aside, they had a more open ended question session which included:
What is Canada like? (Here again, the weather is great fodder for anecdotes… especially Edmonton!)
What do you think of Niger?
Would you like to stay longer?
Do you know the actor Jean Claude Van Damm there? (I know, a little out of left field…)
I heard that Celine Dion said that if she knew Africans would like her music she never would have recorded them? (Talk about being thrown for a loop… I said I had never heard that. I do recall something similar being said about Tommy Hilfiger years ago, so it must be urban legend territory? Anyone…?)
I’m sorry I didn’t have the chance to grab my camera to take pictures. Speaking of which I know there are no photos yet! I’m working on that… I haven’t really been taking my camera with me during this period, but I may have some soon.
And finally, what you have all been waiting for is the answer to the quiz regarding ubiquitous t-shirt appearances… that honour goes to the guy whose been winning all the prizes lately, President Barack Obama. He is everywhere, and I swear I even saw one guy here unloading packages of what looked to me to be Barack Obama bedsheets, but I think it was the style of packaging that made me think that. I mean really, there couldn’t be Barack Obama bedsheets, could there? However, a nod to the Bob Marley guess, who I believe to be the most international of musicians- his seems to be everywhere I go? (Although I can’t recall hearing much in Russia? Anyone else been to decided non-Marley places? Maybe it’s a hot, beach place kinda groove?)
So that’s it. I have to go. If you’re need my boyfriend or dog please hug them for me. Miss you all.