Mdumiseni Ndlovu • Customer Experience Assistant • University of Bradford Library
How would you describe your role?
My role consists of helping students who are utilising the library services. We often get students who are using a library service for the first time, especially due to Covid, there’s lots of second year students who have never been to the library. We help them by answering questions about the services we offer, whether that’s looking for books, using computers or printers and keeping an eye out to make sure everyone following the rules. The question we get every single day is actually about the barriers at the entrance, people tap their card in the wrong places, sometimes students try to pass through together, that sort of thing.
How has the lockdown affected you & your work?
I wasn’t too badly affected by it because I have a support network that is in close vicinity to me. At first there was a lot of confusion, a lot of fear but I’m lucky because I have a strong support network. I’m very lucky to be able to say that, as I know a lot of people’s lives were upended by Covid.
I started this role around December time in 2020, so it was pretty quiet. We had stricter rules back then around mask wearing and booking spaces, so, the first couple of weeks involved me monitoring the strict Covid rules, but we did other tasks as well, we were in charge of looking through library books, managing reservations, we oversaw the library throughout the entire Covid period. It was kind of surreal, thinking back now.
What exciting projects are you working on right now?
The most exciting thing happening soon is that the Christmas decorations will be going up with Christmas music in the bottom floor!
A highlight of your time on campus/ in role so far?
I’d probably say a highlight is whenever I’m helping someone that really needs it. We have students that sometimes are not as technologically literate so depend on us to help them. Sometimes they can get frustrated because, although for us it’s easy, for them it’s like a whole different dimension, but it’s always nice to visibly see how grateful somebody is for what you’re doing for them.
A funny/ embarrassing story from your time on campus?
Let me think, interactions with students can sometimes be funny. There’s some students who recognise me and call me out around campus.
A surprising/interesting fact about yourself?
People have told me my eyes are really intense, maybe the accent as well, people don’t expect me to sound how I sound.
What inspires you?
This is going to sound like one of those motivational YouTube videos everyone hates but, the desire to do better, succeed and be better than I was yesterday.
If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?
If you’re passionate about something, don’t be afraid to start taking steps to accomplish your goals. I know from experience that if goals feel unattainable, it can be a very paralysing thing and waste years of your life. Don’t be afraid to put things in motion and get out there.
If you could time travel 100 years, would you go into the past or the future? And why?
Future. A hundred years in the past, what was going on 100 years in the past? Who wants to go back to 1921! I’d want to go into the future, to see what’s going on.
What are you fearful of in the future and what are you hopeful for?
I’m fearful that we won’t learn the lessons from the last few years, it worries me that people will put issues to the back of their minds, but I’m hopeful that we’ll continue making social progress, helping people at the bottom of the ladder and get them up. Hopefully, we become a kinder, more thoughtful society, and that we have some sort of global unity and create a better future for ourselves, progress together.
What question are you never asked that you wish you were?
I wish people would ask me random questions, people in the library always ask me for my name or where I’m from, but other questions would be more entertaining. Ask me, you know, ‘what do you know about France?’, or ‘what food would you recommend in this country?’. Anything.
If you enjoyed getting to know Mdumiseni, you will love the rest of the ‘This is Us’ series. Check out my previous chats with Michael and Mat, and stay tuned for more coming soon!
‘This is Us: University of Bradford” is an explorative blog series with the aim of shining a light on the people that make up our vibrant university campus community, where Theatre in the Mill is located. Through these blogs, you will get to know a little more about the humans behind the institution; their stories, hopes and aspirations.
Also, I always appreciate feedback so if you have any ideas that would enhance this blog series, feel free to drop me a line – firstname.lastname@example.org .