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I gave this interview to the webmaster of " L'Echo des livres " which became now "Lirado".

You can see it in my topic " links "


© Geneviève Hamelin

Before answering to your questions, here is my itinerary :

my name is Geneviève Hamelin and I have been a librarian in a private secondary school in the west of France since 1977.
When I began, I had a literary " baccalaureat" and I graduated in history and geography. I did my studies in the universitory of " Le Mans" and made a lot of training periods in pedagogy, computing.

After an agreement between " Mgr. Père Cloupet " from the Catholic Education and Jack Lang, minister od Education, I was officially entitled in 1993 and I had my "CAPES od documentation " in 1995.


1 - What kind of Baccalaureat would you recommand to become a librarian ?

I think an economic or scientist "baccalaureat" is now more adapted before librarian studies. But a literary " baccalaureat" is also good.
You need a good general knowledge in many domains, above all for a librarian who works in educational environment.

2 - Librarian studies ?

After the "baccalaureat " you have many opportunities (in France) :
Bac + 2 : DUT information and communication
DEUST Science and technics of information and documentation
BAC + 3 : " Licence and Master " with a documentation grade
Diploma at the librarian school of Paris
BAC + 5 : DEA and DESS
For teachers : CAPES

3 - How much does a librarian earns ?

At the beginning a librarian earns 1270 euros with a DUT, 1460 euros with BAC + 4, 1630 euros with BAC + 5. After ten years : 2200/2800 euros.

4 - How do you organize the books on shelves ?

The choice of books can be on the librarian's initiative, according to the different goup works.

For the documentary books, I buy them according to the scholastic syllabus, the teachers's different projects but also to the pupils taste to attract them and make them read.

5 -  Do you read a lot ?

Yes of course :
it's compulsory and also a pleasure. I don't think you can choose to become a librarian if you don't like reading because you have to advice pupils.
I make out list of books with the French teachers. I go to the bookshops to select books. I also choose them from catalogues.

6 - Why do you like your job ?

I like everything in my job that I have been practising for 31 years. It's a very varied job : management of documents, groupworks, methodology, guidance, exhibitions, trip organizations, european projects...

I particularly like the contact with pupils and teachers. It's one of the most pleasant aspect of the job.

7 - What kind of books do you buy ?

I buy a lot of documentary books and I buy books which suit the different projects. I also buy novels.

8 - Which books are borrowed the most ?

In 6ème/5ème : A lot of books according history :

Weulersse, Odile : les pilleurs de sarcophages, le secret du papyrus, tumulte à Rome…Brisou-Pellen, Evelyne : L’hiver des loups, Les pélerins maudits, Les sorciers de la ville close, La vengeance de la momie….Morpurgo, Michael : Robin des Bois, le roi Arthur
Other books which are borrowed in 6/5è
Rowling Jk : tous les volumes d’Harry Potter
Snicket, Lemony : tous les volumes des Orpelins Baudelaire
Dahl, Roald : Charlie et la chocolaterie, sacrées sorcières, Matilda …
Morgenstern, Susie : Lettres d’amour de 0 à 10
Schmitt, Eric Emmanuel : Oscar et la Dame Rose ( excellent !)

In 4/3ème : According history :

Bouchet, Paule du : Le journal d’Adèle, Chante Luna (excellent !)
Moscovici, JC : Voyage à Pitchipoï
Koeln, Ilse : Mon enfance en Allemagne nazie
Vercors : Le silence de la mer
Kahn, Michèle : La vague noire
Morpurgo, michael : Cheval de guerre
Autres emprunts arrivant en tête :
Colfer, Eoin : Artemis Fowl ( 3 volumes)
Bottero, Pierre : La quête d’Ewilan et les Mondes d'Ewilan; le pacte des Marchombres, L'Autre
Sachar, Louis : le passage
Lowry, Lois : Le passeur, l’élue
Pullman, Philip : les royaumes du nord
Werber, bernard : les fourmis

9 - What is the real function of a librarian ?

The librarian manages the library (CDI) to make it nice teaching aid : management of the space, of the documents, welcoming of pupils alone or in groups, exhibitions, methodology...
The librarian has to work with her (his) teachers collegues to organize the different projects.

10 - Do you need a good knowledge in Mathematics, History... to be a librarian ?

As I told you, to be a librarian, you must have a good general knowledge and not only one specialization in each subject. You must be communicative and have an intellectual curiosity.
You also have to use the modern communication tools. You must speak English and also have human and pedagogic qualities

11 - Are you very much in demand by pupils and teachers ?

Of course yes. Pupils are very curious alone or in groups, with or without a teacher. We have to listen to the pupils. The teachers use the library a lot : in French, in History, in Physics, in English...

12) Who makes the orders ?

The bursar deals with the investment budget ( furniture, computers..).
For the operating budget (books, magazines...) I order to bookshops or editors.

Creation date : 05/11/2007 : 20:27
Last update : 29/07/2013 : 20:35
Category : WHO AM I ? - My job
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