Meet Chai Khim.
Chow Chai Khim is a Chinese Studies resource librarian with the Chinese Library which primarily serves users who need to peruse Chinese and Japanese resources. The Chinese Library is known for its strengths in traditional thread-bound Chinese books, Four Treasure Library series, Chinese newspapers published outside China, Taiwan, Hong Kong & Macau, rare Chinese periodicals, and Southeast Asian Chinese materials.
If you’re wondering whether there are people out there who *actually* love their job, look no further. Chai Kim’s love for her profession is so palpable we could feel it in the air. During her first week at work, Chai Khim believed this could be the job for her for the next 10 years; but after a month, she realised she was wrong – she wanted to be here for the rest of her life. #dedication
Contrary to the belief that librarian work is monotonous (no, we don’t shelve books!), Chai Khim’s work is quite varied. Her duties include answering queries at the Chinese Library Information Desk (perhaps you have seen her there!), and working closely with the Department of Chinese Studies lecturers to educate students on using library resources for their research and study. Students from the department frequently approach her for one-to-one advisories and guidance as well. In addition, she also organises exhibitions and talks in the library, in coordination with institutions such as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.
Chai Khim is also responsible for developing NUS Libraries’ Chinese publications. She has ventured to different Southeast Asian countries to collect publications from grant councils, schools, temples and associations, and others of the ilk. These publications are usually not for sale and contain valuable information for researchers. These institutions also, in return, depend on NUS Libraries. A Kelantan-based association, for example, reached out to Chai Khim to get reproduced copies of their own publications. Another local association also approached her – they needed the Library’s help in completing their commemorative book as they had gaps in their own collection.
Her colleagues are dearest to her; she thinks of them as kindred spirits who share many common interests. Whenever she encounters setbacks at work, Chai Khim receives plenty of positive reinforcement and encouragement from her colleagues. Commendations and expressions of gratitude in myriads of ways, too, keep her going.
She already has an MSc in Information Studies and a double masters in Chinese Studies (from Peking University and NUS) but nonetheless believes that she still has lots of learning to do. In her free time she goes to exhibitions and attends book launches. Apart from that, Chai Khim actively participates in a reading circle she joined with NTU librarians to keep herself updated on SEA literature. In addition to these, she also audits NUS classes on topics related to Chinese and SEA studies.
Do you have the same interests as Chai Khim? Say hello to her!
The Hello, I’m From NUS Libraries series takes you on a reading cruise featuring eight of our staff members who have been awarded the NUS Quality Service Award. Get to know the people from your Library and learn more about what goes on behind the scenes.