Posted on May 28, 2021
‘I enjoy showing clients how to move efficiently through the library systems for their information needs and research.’
“Librarians impart valuable skills that enable users to navigate the resources that they require for knowledge creation – I wanted to contribute to this process,” says information specialist Clara Ngobeni, who tells us more about her job, likes and dislikes.
Where did you work prior to joining UP?
I was a teacher for almost 20 years before joining the City of Tshwane as a librarian in 2008. I worked for the City of Tshwane until June 2012 and joined the University of Pretoria as an information specialist at the Learning Centre in July 2012. I then joined the Economic and Management Sciences’ faculty library in 2013.
What attracted you to UP?
The fact that UP is a research-intensive university and the contribution that the library has in making this possible. Academic libraries play a role in learning, teaching and research, and therefore knowledge creation. Librarians impart valuable skills that enable users to navigate the resources that they require for knowledge creation – I wanted to contribute to this process.
What does your day-to-day role entail?
Each day is different. Some days begin with meetings, while others begin with requests for various kinds of information such as research assistance and/or article/inter-lending requests; training; bibliometric reports; and book purchasing.
What would you like to improve in your section/department and why?
Just like many departments in many organisations locally and globally, the Department of Library Services was not ready to work remotely when COVID-19 hit in 2020. It meant we had to navigate the online environment, which was challenging and unstable. But the Department of Library Services took it in their stride. The department is doing their best to ensure that staff (and our clients) are healthy, motivated and productive. I also wish that the salary packages could be improved.
What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
I enjoy showing clients how to move efficiently through the library systems for their information needs and research. I’m pleased to note that some clients are mastering these information gathering skills.
What is your least favourite part of the job?
The budget cuts make it very difficult for us to enhance the library collections. For example, purchasing journal subscriptions and electronic books is very costly. Also, the air conditioning in the library, especially at level 2, is terrible. It’s a spectrum of extremes – sometimes it is very cold and sometimes very hot. I wish the temperature could be moderate.
What do you do in your free time?
I watch TV, especially sport, read and try new recipes.
What are your personal likes and dislikes?
I like people who respect others, appreciate people and those who are punctual when it comes to meetings or scheduled appointments. I do not like crowded or noisy places.
Sport: I am not a sporty person, but I really enjoy watching cricket and tennis.
Food: Lamb (various cuts and dishes, but not the head!), oxtail and maotwana (chicken feet).
Movies: Malcolm X, Roman J Israel, Esq and Taxi
Actors: Denzel Washington, Queen Latifah and Morgan Freeman
Musician: Ringo Madlingozi, S’fiso Ncwane and Julio Iglesias
All-time hero: Oprah Winfrey
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