Greetings from Strasbourg, France

by Jing Liu ~ July 8th, 2006. Filed under: Experience.

Bonjour, everybody out there in Vancouver! Meant to send this greeting message earlier, but it took me quite a while to get everything settled down. Arrived here in Strasbourg on June 23rd and spent the first two days sightseeing a little bit of this beautiful historical town. Started to work the third day doing some preparation work for the upcoming Summer Session Program (SSP 06) held at the International Space University(ISU), where I’m going to spend the next two and a half months working in its library.

You may know more about ISU from the link I’ve provided if you like. I came to know a little bit about the university during my job application process, but only after arriving here, did I learn from the students that it was quite a famous organization in the field of space engineering technology. It is especially well known for its annual summer session program, which is hosted in different country each year and attracts over 100 students from all over the world for each session. This year is the 18th anniversary of the ISU Summer Session Program and there are 104 students from 27 countries coming to this session, which is held in its Central Campus based in Strasbourg, France. There have been students from China since the early 1990s and there is a big delegation this year from China(12 students + 3 staff members), only 2nd to the Canadian delegation(around 20 students + 5 staff members(I’m one of the five)) among all the participatory countries.

Since it’s a very specialized university, the library has quite a specialized collection and VERY small(only over 7000 items plus several online databases), but it has a very nice location and one side of the library is all glass facing the patio of the main building. It’s a solo-librarian library, which means the librarian has to do everything(and that’s me :>) I’m working as the front-line librarian for the SSP. The head librarian works in her own office most of the time and she is going to take a 3-week vacation in next month and will leave me alone to run the library! I feel lucky to come to such a small library where I can have my hands in every aspect of the librarianship, from cataloging to shelving, from circulation to reference, and from interlibrary loan to information literacy instruction. So far I’ve given a library tour to all of the 104 students and held three library workshops together with the head librarian. I’ve learned how to catalog and already entered over 100 new books into the library catalog. One thing I didn’t expect to learn here is to stamp dates on books when checking out, believe it or not, many libraries here are still doing that.

I’m sure this job will turn out to be a truly rewarding learning experience for me and I am really enjoying what I am doing here. By the way, as a staff, I do get some perks from the SSP, for example, I’m allowed to attend all the distinguished panel speaking sessions, and Liwei Yang(the first Chinese astronaut went to space in 2003) is coming next Monday to give a lecture, and I’ll be able to attend that lecture too.

I’d very much like to visit the public libraries and other university libraries here in the next 2 months to gain as much information regarding the librarianship here as I can. I’ll keep all of you posted when I come across some interesting findings. Bye for now, my friends and colleagues, wish you all a fabulous summer!

3 Responses to Greetings from Strasbourg, France

  1.   Jing

    I am so happy to hear from Mindy! who seems to be that far from Vancouver but close to us the same time in the virtual space.

    I heard a little bit about the ISU before, and now I really admire its global strategy.

    Enjoy the work and the cultural journey and send us some pictures. Thank you for writing to us!

  2.   Mindy

    Thanks, Jing. I felt like I was back home too when I came to this blog. I’d love to post some pictures, but I couldn’t find an icon to upload files at the entry creating page. Did I miss anything there?

  3.   Linda

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Mindy!

    In our next meeting, we should have an Agenda item on people’s travels to other libraries, or interactions with other librarians, either for business or pleasure.

    Have a FUN summer out there, Mindy. Take care!

Leave a Reply

Spam prevention powered by Akismet