Hi Maike, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Maike and I am from Northern Germany. My family and I left Germany in 2006 to move to Tokyo. We spent eleven years in Asia in all, moving from Japan to Shanghai, China and Bangkok, Thailand.
Chester has been our home since August 2017. During our “look and see” trip in May 2017, I peaked through the window of the then still closed Storyhouse and decided that this was a place I wanted to spend a lot of time in.
After we moved here, I applied for a volunteer position in the Storyhouse library. After about a year of shelving books, I was lucky enough to get a part time job in the library. I enjoy working with a great team of colleagues and of course plenty of books!
As you might have guessed, I read a lot, about 70 books a year, but I have other hobbies too. I love baking my own bread, rolls and cakes. I sew my own clothes, not everything, but some fun pieces. I converted our former uniform shirts into a very fancy long skirt and I like upcycling clothes in general, or using Asian fabrics. I love to sing too. There is a lot of singing within the library team – behind the scenes, of course. Rock Choir is where I go for proper singing. And I have even performed here at Storyhouse!
What does working in the library team at Storyhouse entail?
A working day at the Storyhouse library is quite diverse. We are surrounded by books which want to be shelved, checked in and out, put on a reservation list or need to be found to be sent to other libraries.
Our customers, we call them patrons, require our assistance in all sorts of matters. We help them find what they are looking for, recommend books, set up displays to encourage people to take more books or help them on the public computers.
Together with my colleague Izzy, I host a book group called Not a Reading Group, which we started at the beginning of 2020. We managed to keep it alive via Zoom during the pandemic, and now we have established a group of regulars who like to join online and in person every two weeks.
Books are only one part of my work. Recently, I have started to do German Rhymetime every two weeks, which I really enjoy. It’s singing children’s rhymes in my mother tongue which is a bit of a challenge now as my children are 20 and 24.
I am also a member of the craft team, which is great as we are so creative and it is a joy to see what everyone makes. Just come along to the weekend crafts and see for yourself!
The library is offering English Conversation sessions again and it is wonderful to meet all these interesting people who come to Chester to improve their English. I love spending time with people from other countries.
Tell us about a book that you enjoyed reading recently?
I read a lot and that’s why it is quite hard for me to decide which book is my favourite. This year’s favourite so far is Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart. It’s about a young boy growing up in Glasgow who falls in love for the first time, but is challenged by society and his own family. It is very emotional.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I really enjoy talking to people. Unfortunately or fortunately my German accent is still strong, so people are always asking me about my journey and how I ended up in Chester. And I like that I can read all the new books and recommend them in our book group or to anyone who is willing to listen to me going on about a title I enjoy. Being part of Storyhouse is something I am very proud of and I am really happy that I am able to work in a very different library.