Catrina Dummermuth – with the key to knowledge in her hand
The Head Librarian at BFH Social Work is also in charge of the merging and further development of the BFH libraries project. In this interview she talks about how she combines the two jobs and gives her views on the general changes libraries are undergoing.
You have been working at BFH since 2014 and have been the head of the Library of Social Work since mid 2015. What is it that you love about your job?
There is this space full of knowledge – the library – and I have the key. And what’s even better: I can show many others how to enter this space and find their way around it. And besides, it’s simply grand to be working at a university where there are so many clever people. I learn such a lot just by talking to the people who also work here or who come to visit the library.
What will the library of the future look like? What changes will there be due to digitisation?
The classic tasks of a librarian are becoming less important. Cataloguing for example is changing due to the growing range of e-books and the automated procedures to record meta-data. Open Access is turning the entire publishing system upside down.
At the same time libraries as physical places are gaining importance. The reading rooms of newly built libraries are very popular. This will also be true for our new campus libraries in Bern and Biel.
Since the beginning of 2020 you have also been in charge of the LEGO project, the merging and further development of the BFH libraries, an additional task into which you put heart and soul. How quickly did you agree to take on this additional burden? What went through your head at the time?
At first, I thought to myself: At last! After all, the BFH libraries have been cooperating for a long time but have hit a boundary time and again. That’s why I plunged into the preparations for Project LEGO without a second thought. When it became more concrete, though, and especially when I was to take over the project management, I gulped briefly. The responsibility! However, I have professionals from an external consulting agency by my side, and above all I have a fantastic project team.
What’s the key to being successful in this double role as Head Librarian and project leader?
I enjoy wearing different hats, I like change and a fast pace. It is only thanks to the unstinting support of my team, though, who keep the ‘shop’ – the Social Work Library – running smoothly, that I can engage fully in project LEGO. Besides, I ask my confidants within BFH for feedback, which enables me to reflect on my different roles. And in project meetings I regularly discuss my dual role transparently and explicitly.
As of 1st January 2022, you will be a member of leadership team of the merged BFH University Library. What are you especially looking forward to? And what, if anything, is still causing you a slight headache?
I look forward to working in the new leadership team together with our new boss, Florian Steffen, who will be starting at BFH on 1st July 2021. I look forward to establishing a new ‘department’ with motivated specialists. At the same time, though, there is a critical voice in my head which sometimes asks me: Have we really thought of everything? Will our ‘constructions’ pass the test of daily routine? Is the LEGO house that we’re currently building stable, or are we missing a load-bearing wall?
You, too, work part-time. What do you enjoy doing when you are not busy for BFH?
Reading, for example in a women’s reading group – for more than eight years already.
Writing, also in a group.
And aimlessly zapping through TV channels.
At BFH since
1. 1. 2014
Describe BFH in 3 words
diverse, challenging, refreshing
My contribution to the diversity at BFH
I have tips and tricks for all library users: the beginners who first actually need to find the library on level -1 at Hallerstrasse as well as the advanced users who are intrigued by the ominous ‘Russian server’.