1. What is your name and job title?
Rachael Johnson – Digital Services Librarian. I co-ordinate the online reading lists service.
2. Where did you work before this?
I’ve pretty much always worked here! I started as a Library Assistant way back in 1997, got my librarianship qualifications in 2005 and have been in this role ever since. However, in 2002 I also spent six months working on an American university ship, sailing around the world for the “Semester at Sea” program.
3. What are your favourite aspects of the job?
Tracking down difficult-to-find resources. Perhaps I should have been a detective. I also really enjoy creating guides and publicity materials but sadly don’t have much time to do that often.
4. Can you recommend a book, journal, resource from the collection?
Every December I try and borrow The Christmas Books by Charles Dickens – very cwtchy reading for that time of year!
5. If you didn’t work in the library what would be your dream job?
When I was a student I worked as a cleaner and I loved it! You get a real sense of achievement when you can look around and see the fruits of your labour. Of course, in real-life my house is always a mess!
6. What was the first library book you remember reading for pleasure?
It was a book about a French cat and I remember reading it on a train on the way to catch a ferry to Jersey. It was one of those old trains that had little rooms in the carriages like on the Hogwarts Express. My mum tried to teach me how to say “merci” but I spent the whole time reading “mercy”. I remember it well!
7. What do you like reading now?
It depends on my mood but during the lockdowns I’ve downloaded lots of e-books from my local library and re-read some of my favourites from home. I love Isabel Allende and Louis de Bernières, as well as a good classic like Austen or Brontë. My dad got me into Tolkien when I was young and I read a lot of fantasy novels too.
8. What is your favourite film?
9. How do you like to spend your spare time?
Apart from reading and family movie-watching, I enjoy walking and biking. I’m lucky to live at the coast so am often on the beach, surfing with the family or walking our dog.