Librarian‘s work full of variety
This week’s community profile features Waitaki District Libraries & Archive Youth Librarian Fiona Kerr.
What is your occupation?
I am the Youth Librarian at Waitaki District Libraries & Archive. My role involves managing the children’s and young adults’ books including buying new books and choosing old ones to take out of the library. I also run activities for children and their families including storytime sessions and Wriggle and Rhyme as well as school holiday programmes and class visits. I help anyone who comes into the library with accessing digital collections such as eBooks and Audiobooks. It’s a role with a lot of variety and is a great way to connect with people of all ages from the Waitaki District. Favourite sports team? The Black Caps and I was a fan before their great effort in the Cricket World Cup.
What charity would you give money to? KidsCan. Are you a night owl or a lark?
Neither really. I’m most alive mid-afternoon.
Are you a dog or a cat person?
Hmm, I like both but prefer visiting them at my parents’ house rather than being responsible for my own. Tell us about your family? I live in Oamaru with my partner Greg who is from Scotland originally. My parents live in Dunedin and I love being able to head there to visit them and for them to come to Oamaru. I have two younger brothers who have five children between them. I love being an aunty to my four nephews and one niece and wish I could spend more time with them.
What is the name of book that had a big impact on you in your childhood?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis. I used to sit in my wardrobe with a torch and read it. I loved the idea of the wardrobe taking me to another world. I really think this played a part in my obsession with other countries.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
Travelling the world and meeting people. Best advice you ever got? To be yourself. But this has taken me a long time to take on board. Favourite other country? Having learnt Japanese for nine years and teaching it for about the same time, it will always have a special place in my heart. However, I am also in love with Scotland after visiting there a few times with my partner. Do you have any hobbies? Playing the ukulele and listening to music any place, any time. What is your favourite food? This is a tough one! If a dish has potatoes and/or cheese it’s a winner with me.
What do you love about the region?
The friendly people and the relaxed lifestyle. What was your first job? My first work experience job was actually at Dunedin Public Library. Then my first paid job after finishing university was at the souvenir shop at Mt Cook.
What’s the one single thing you’d really like to have an answer to?
This question! Sorry, I don’t have anything deep and philosophical that has been gnawing at me for an answer.
What were you like at high school?
I was talkative but much shyer than I am now. I had friends from lots of different groups but always had a core of close friends.
If you could live in any time in history, when would it be?
When I was studying Japanese, I was obsessed with the Tale of Genji which was written in the Heian Period: The last division of classical Japanese history running from 794 to 1185. I loved the story of those living in the high court. Of course, I don’t know what it would’ve been like as a regular person but I imagine for those with money and status, it must’ve been a special life. Favourite quotation? ‘‘Just keep swimming’’ – Dory from Finding Nemo.
Youth librarian Fiona Kerr.