1. What is your name and job title?
Jane Benjamin, Systems and Content Librarian.
2. Where did you work before this?
I’ve been here that long I can barely remember. No, seriously, it was the Cardiff Institute of Higher Education, later known as UWIC and now Cardiff Met.
3. What are your favourite aspects of the job?
As I deal primarily with the provision of electronic resources, its knowing that what I do makes a difference to the student experience and possibly no more so than this last year when everyone has been studying remotely. I also enjoy the relationships I have built up with our publishers and other suppliers - it’s a bit of a niche area where people seem to either stay put for years or revolve around the same pool of roles, albeit with different companies, so I have ‘known’ many of them for decades now. I also enjoy answering calls on our online Chat service as it’s my only chance to engage with students directly. Plus, I work within a brilliant team of genuinely committed and lovely people so all in all, it’s a good balance.
4. Can you recommend a book, journal, resource from the collection?
Anything by Gary Sheffield, who in my opinion, is one of our finest military historians. This article is a summary of his general stance on the Great War: Rethinking World War I, Military History; Herndon Vol. 27, Iss. 6, (Mar 2011): 14-15.
5. If you didn’t work in the library what would be your dream job?
Superintendent Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages – knowing the importance of these records in all aspects of our history and our society today and being part of the highest and lowest times of people’s lives, I’ve often thought it must be a very rewarding role.
6. What was the first library book you remember reading for pleasure?
I can’t honestly remember but one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories, I imagine.
7. What do you like reading now?
I’m always reading military books – currently a range looking at the 1st battalion Norfolk Regiment on the Western Front in 1915. Plus, every evening I have a Harry Potter reading hour via whatsapp with my eldest grandson. He reads to me first, then I read to him. It’s been a great way to keep in touch during lockdown as I get to hear all his news everyday too. We’ve just finished volume 5 – Order of the Phoenix – though he didn’t think any book had a right to have 800 pages.
8. What is your favourite film?
Tough one this as I have so many favourites, but I’ll go with Apollo 13 - I was able to visit NASA last year and saw the actual spacesuits worn when those immortal words, ‘Houston, we have a problem’ were first uttered!
9. How do you like to spend your spare time?
I have four beautiful grandchildren aged from 2-10 years so given the choice, they would always be top of my list. As for all grandparents, it’s been tough not seeing them during this last year. Likewise with travelling, cinema and the theatre which I also enjoy, but happily some degree of normality is in sight. In the meantime, I am always doing some sort of military research and it’s been a good reminder during lockdown, that things could be worse.