In the next of our series introducing members of the team who you might meet at our sites or across the University, #DULibIntroducing welcomes Jennifer Knaggs, who you may meet during Extended Hours (evenings and weekends) in Bill Bryson Library. Do say hello!
Hello! Please state your name, full job title, and a brief description of what that entails:
Jennifer Knaggs, Extended Hours Library Assistant. I work evenings and weekends at Bill Bryson Library where the main aspect of my job is front line customer service at the Help and Information desk answering queries and assisting people with locating books and journals, checking items out or using the library catalogue and online resources as well as helping them use some of the IT facilities like the printers. I also work in the returns room checking in items ready for shelving or returning them to college libraries as well as re-shelving books, primarily on Level 2 but other levels when the need arises.
How long have you worked in the Library?
12 years 4 months, 11 years of which I worked at Queens Campus Library (now the ISC Library) in Stockton.
What do you really enjoy about your job?
Primarily I enjoy helping people, there’s nothing more satisfying than having somebody say ‘thank you’ when you have helped them. I also enjoy the variety the job can bring, for example the other week a student asked for my assistance in getting him out of his bag!!! He was wearing a back pack that was tied at the front, however, the knot had become that tight that neither he nor I could undo it and in the end I just had to cut the strap so he could take the bag off.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I have two, Kaikoura and Cape Palliser, both are places in New Zealand which are home to Fur Seal colonies and I have been fortunate enough to have had several trips over there and love watching them in their natural environment.
You could invite one person from history for coffee at Small Island Cafe, who would it be?
My person of choice isn’t anyone from history. Sadly, I lost my Mum last July to Breast Cancer and we used to go somewhere every week for coffee and cake, so as interesting as it would be to have a drink and a chat with somebody like Winston Churchill, he wouldn’t be able to tell me the recipe for Mum’s Christmas Stuffing which she failed to write down anywhere and would love to ask her about. Unfortunately, the down side of inviting Mum is that she wouldn’t be happy drinking from a cardboard cup.
What achievements are you most proud of?
Becoming a Bachelor of Science with a Degree in Criminology and Psychological studies at the age of 41, which I did part time through the Open University.
Confronting my fear of needles last year when my partner had to have major surgery and for a month after required injections to prevent blood clots which I had to administer, although the glass of wine I had prior to doing this on the odd occasion helped (lol).
If you had unlimited budget, what addition would you make to the Library? (Be as creative as you like!)
There is a TV programme called ‘Ugly House to Lovely House’ presented by George Clarke, an architect from the North East, which looks at how people can transform their house to make it more externally attractive as well as function better on the inside [Ed. – Durham staff and students can catch up on this and other tv series through Box of Broadcasts].
Well I have to say that sadly, in my opinion, the Library would be a good candidate for this show as it reminds me of a 1970’s house which isn’t externally attractive and was built purely to service the needs of a family during this time period. As the modern family has evolved so too have their needs, hence internal and external changes were made to accommodate these. However you end up with a bit of a mis-match as designs and materials of the more recent times are utilised. Although I do like the glass addition to the library I would, with unlimited budget, rebuild it re-creating the design of the Admont Abbey Library in Austria, it’s beautiful, have a look here.
[Ed. Its true; the Bill Bryson Library is very much a building of many stages over several decades! And in looking to meet the changing needs of our growing staff and student population, discussions are always ongoing as to future internal and external developments. The opening of Small Island Coffee and the Teaching and Learning Centre are just two examples! And how about some library nostalgia!]
What is the best piece of advice you could give to our Library users?
Don’t be afraid to ask, we are here to help anyway we can and don’t worry, you aren’t the only person to come to the desk unable to locate a book only to find you have been looking in the Oversize section, it happens all the time.