Moi kirjastosta! Greetings from an international trainee

My name is Gonzalo, and I am a second year international Master’s student in the field of Linguistic Data Sciences in Joensuu. I arrived in Finland back in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic was threatening the world with restrictions. I started my master’s and my life in Finland close to a computer screen and quarantines, but I am now almost done with my programme and looking forward to graduating by this summer and find out what life has prepared for me.

Mies, hymy, kirjahylly. Man, smile, bookshelf.

Now I am honoured to be a trainee at the library of my university. But, how did I end up here?

Reading was a big part of my childhood. My grandparents had an enormous book collection at home. My grandmother was a professor and my grandfather a scholar specialised in Latin, Spanish, Italian and French literatures, so books surrounded me physically and mentally all over my childhood. Maybe this passion for Romanic literature was unconsciously the reason that made me study Spanish Language and Literature and Linguistic Data nowadays. Words. History and stories.

For me being in a library means calmness, but also responsibility. A library is like a museum. Everything is important. Every single book is there for a reason. A story to tell – and being told. Since I am a student, I spend most of my time here, at the library of UEF reading books related to my studies or some books that I read for pleasure. Even though my background is Romanic Languages and Literatures, I have passion for Russian literature. Names like Pushkin, Gogol and Dostoyevsky are authors that I always go to find.

Is this book childhood and library-like memories at my grandparents’ that made my passion for libraries big? One of the main reasons that made me apply for this position was finally getting to know what really is like to be on the back of the history. Why are these books here, in this language, on this shelf.

The human machinery behind this magic is amazing. I have only been here for three weeks, but they have already taught me how the services work, how to shelve books and how to acquire new books, for example. It is humans behind all of this, and we would not be able to enjoy a place like this without them.

I will be evaluating the library services from a customer’s perspective and coming up with ideas and possible aspects that could make the library a better place for the customer. I will also be – and I am – working and evaluation the Sci-Fi collection and the Romanic Languages collection, new editions, loan statistics and acquisition of new books.

I have also organized library tours to help the new international students to register and learn how to use our facilities and how to enjoy all of our books and services.

A library is the place where culture and knowledge remain. Every aisle, every book and every page smell like history. Story.

Hope you enjoy our library as much as I do.

Gonzalo Maestro Paredes, trainee