Working in the world of books
Sanjay Austa
FFICES today are chaotic workstations full of the hustle and bustle of everyday business. But silence and quite continue to remain the hallmark of a job in the library. From speaking sotto voce to learning how to shift the chair without making a noise, it is one place that has not changed its basic work ethics.

A successful technocrat who likes low profile
Kumar Bhattacharyya is one Britain-based technocrat who believes a low profile is necessary for success — even after being knighted.

Avoid frequent job change


Working in the world of books
Sanjay Austa

Over the years, librarianship has undergone a sea change.
Over the years, librarianship has undergone a sea change. — Photo by writer 

OFFICES today are chaotic workstations full of the hustle and bustle of everyday business. But silence and quite continue to remain the hallmark of a job in the library. From speaking sotto voce to learning how to shift the chair without making a noise, it is one place that has not changed its basic work ethics.

A job in the library is also the best place for any bookworm. It is also a place for those who love a serene work atmosphere, have an analytical mind and an ability to sift through large quantities of information. A librarian deals with a large number of disparate people, so he/she must be patient and efficient in tending to everyone’s needs.

Almost all universities in India offer different courses in library sciences. From short diploma courses to Bachelor’s and Master's in library sciences, the choice is with the individual. One can also do specialised courses like M.Phil and Ph.D if one is keen in getting into research.

Libraries are essentially reservoirs of knowledge. Therefore, the course equips one to handle, maintain and dispense such vast bank of knowledge to members. The course teaches one to catalogue books, journals and audio-visual material in a library. It teaches one how to acquire and make available information for the library members in the shortest time possible.

Technology has also made huge inroads into how a library functions today. Accessing information is not the same anymore. The librarian should be able to harness technology to the best advantage of the members. He or she should be able to use technology to provide information that may not be available in the library. A librarian does not only have to deal with traditional documents like manuscripts, books, papers, periodicals, maps and pictures. He or she has to now constantly deal with audio-visual aids, films, tapes, records, microfilms, sound recording, etc.

Dr H.K. Kaul, librarian at India International Centre (IIC), Delhi, has set up Delnet (Developing Library Network) — a resource-sharing centre which has a network with thousands of libraries abroad. "Over the years, librarianship has changed. No library is self-sufficient. I have to access information fast for the members. Gone are the days when library was a small unit".

Dr Kaul has been a librarian in the IIC for the past 36 years and has seen this exclusive library double in size and volume. According to him, library is the best place to be in if one wants a creative and peaceful environment". But does it often get a little lonely at the job? No, says Dr Kaul, if you keep yourself occupied. Dr Kaul has had the opportunity to author 40 books in the course of his career.

Ms Nita Saxena, librarian at the British Council, New Delhi, agrees that a library is the best place to be in if one loves books. According to her, other qualities like good-communication skills, a patient disposition and an analytical mind is a must too.

Librarians are absorbed in one of the many public or private institutions, including school libraries, college libraries, media centres, academic libraries, and libraries in museums, advertising agencies, medical centres, etc. Librarians in Central Government institutions can be transferred anywhere in the country while those in the state institutions can be posted anywhere within the state. Libraries in private institutions are run according to the institutes’ specific needs and rules.


A successful technocrat who likes low profile

LONDON: Kumar Bhattacharyya is one Britain-based technocrat who believes a low profile is necessary for success — even after being knighted.

Born in Bangalore in 1940, Kumar is an academic, engineer and guru of manufacturing with friends in high places.

Kumar is the head and founder of the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), part of the University of Warwick and Britain's answer to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His job, he says, is to break down barriers between education and industry, to make both sides see that unless they work together no advanced economy will function properly.

With the title of a professor, Kumar is an academic entrepreneur whose university department has revenues of `A3100 million a year, 90 per cent of it from industry.

As a teenager in India, he reportedly built a car from scratch "just for the hell of it". Hong Kong University has awarded him an honorary doctorate for his services to industrial links between China and the former British colony.

"It is always nice to have one's work recognised," he said last week after receiving knighthood, but believes that a low profile is essential to carrying out his work successfully. — IANS


Avoid frequent job change

Q I am a trainee programmer. My seniors say it's a good strategy to change jobs frequently to succeed in the field. I want to know if one should change companies frequently or stick to one?

Shweta Tandon, Chandigarh

A The Indian IT industry is maturing by the day. Many IT companies are recruiting fresh graduates from reputed engineering colleges and universities. However, only 25 per cent of them stick to their first company after five years. Almost 75 per cent leave their first company in a five-year time. Young engineers change companies mostly for overseas assignments, better designation, good technical work or salary hike, believing this could be the route to fast progress. But not many take a long-term view of their career. One should remember that stability also boosts growth.

Young software engineers should not change jobs just for salary hike as there will always exist companies that can pay more than some others. There are so many factors that should be considered such as company reputation, culture, individual growth prospects, infrastructure, etc.

Similarly, not every IT company has a long-term perspective. Most software companies recruit people when they get a new project.

Master's in finance

Q I could not make it to a good B-school this year. Is it a good idea to do a Master's in finance from Australia or New Zealand, or the UK? Would doing a CPA help me get a good job in the US?

Parminder Ahuja

A Australia or NZ are not the best of places to study finance, their economy or financial markets are hardly active at present.

In the UK, there are plenty of universities that offer such courses. However, the employability after doing courses from the UK is a big question mark. The main reason being the dearth of opportunities. And being a non-EU citizen, you may have to contend with the language barrier in other EU countries.

In the US, getting admission to a good B-school is pretty tough and even if you do, still you have to be lucky enough to land a decent job.

The CPA is not really worth it if you are looking at working in the US. There are plenty of qualified American CPAs. Also not too many companies would go the lengths to get you a work permit if you have no work experience, and moreover you are not a US citizen.

However, it's useful if you are looking at working in some other countries as well as for American companies in India.

All these options will cost a lot of money and the end results are not too clear or positive — mainly due to the poor shape of the US economy currently. Getting a visa for taking your CPA exams is not very easy.


Q Please tell me what subjects I should take in college for becoming a scientist?

Kamaljeet Sekhon

A Mathematics is fundamental to all areas of science, so take as much math as you can handle.

However, some scientists (e.g. biologists) don't use much mathematics in their work other than statistics. But ALL scientists use statistics. Therefore, all scientists must also learn some chemistry, physics and some biology as well.

However, don't worry if these aren't your favourite topics in school. These subjects are often just the tools to help you study other areas. For instance, you would use some math, physics and chemistry to study geology, botany, zoology, cell biology, animal physiology, microbiology, sociology, psychology or any other "ologies" that you may like.

Once you find a subject you enjoy learning about, you'll learn what kinds of tools (maths, chemistry or physics) you need to best understand your area of science.

Also remember: anyone who wishes to be a scientist, must be prepared to study at least up to the PhD level, if not beyond, by way of formal education and be prepared to study and research throughout his career.

At the Bachelor's level, you will be exposed to a wide range of topics and acquire general skills. At the Master's level, which is more rigorous and focused, you will concentrate on a particular field at a greater depth and build your knowledge to a higher academic level.

A doctoral programme teaches you how to add to the body of scientific knowledge by working on a hypothesis and writing a thesis. Only a deep interest and passion for the subject coupled with a high degree of commitment will see you through the extended and at times, lonely period of study. This may also demand some extent of sacrifice — in terms of delaying your entry many years into a "real" job or starting a family. But if you love the subject, the joys and rewards of plumbing the depths of knowledge to explore what lies beneath the surface can be hugely satisfying.

Coast Guard

QI am a non-matriculate. Could you please tell me if I can join the Indian Coast Guard?

Alex Thomas

A To join this paramilitary service, you must be physically fit, mentally tough, intelligent, bold and independent.

If you love the sea and have a spirit of adventure and value a disciplined lifestyle, the Coast Guard is a great place to be in.

As a non-matriculate male, you can join the Indian Coast Guard as a Navik in the domestic branch.

Eligibility is a pass in Class VIII with 55% agg (45% for SC/ST).

If you have passed Class 10, you can join as a Navik in the general duty branch.

The age requirement for both is 17-22 yrs (relaxable by 5 years for SC/ST and 3 years for OBC). You will also be required to meet certain physical standards. Selection is on the basis of a written test/interview.

For further information, contact: The Director (Training), Recruitment Cell, Coast Guard HQ, National Stadium Complex, New Delhi 110001.

Home-based job

Q I am a disabled captain confined to a wheelchair. What types of career opportunities are available to me at home?

Ratan Pal

A While many disabled people successfully work at jobs in the corporate, industrial, government and non-profit sectors, home-based businesses offer an attractive alternative, as well. The best opportunities will result from the intersection of your skills and interests with the needs of an employer or customer.

Self-assessment is the initial step in determining direction. Consider whether you see yourself working with people, data or more tangible objects. Depending on your skills, if you choose to work with people, for example, you might pursue tutoring, advising or telemarketing or medical transcription.

Data could lead you to bookkeeping, writing or computer work. A preference for working with tangible objects might direct you toward greenhouse gardening, assembling or repair.

Disabilities are not a limiting factor in entrepreneurship, as the Self-Employment for People with Disabilities website: shows. Profiles of successful entrepreneurs on this site range from those involved in sales of recreational equipment to people who run baking and computer-maintenance businesses.

Please send in your query, preferably on a postcard, along with your name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Query Hotline, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160020, or at



1. Which four languages were recently approved by Parliament to be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution?

2. How many years ago did the Wright brothers fly their first aircraft?

3. Which monument in Delhi was recently handed over by the Defence Minister to the ASI and the Tourism Ministry for developing it into a world heritage site?

4. Which year was the third hottest in more than a century and a half according to the World Meteorological Organisation?

5. Name the maker of the film 'LoC—Kargil'.

6. Which tower will come up on the site of former World Trade Center in lower Manhattan as the world's tallest building?

7. Name the book on Bhutan that has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest book-ever published.

8. Name the 200 to 250-seat jetliner which is planned to be released by Boeing Company to replace 757and 767 liners.

9. Which company has developed the world's first running humanoid robot?

10. Name the author of the book 'Contribution of India in the war of liberation of Bangladesh'.

11. Name the two countries with whom India will build a 1,360-km-long road under a three-nation highway project.

12. Which country recently posted its biggest-ever Test cricket win against England?

13. After how many years did India recently win a cricket Test match in Australia?

14. Name the Indian batsman who has scored maximum runs in a Test match innings abroad.

15. Which batsman recently created the record of scoring maximum runs in an over in a Test match?

Name, Class, School address

Winners of quiz 196 : The first prize by draw of lots goes to Madhuri Raina, VIII, St Lukes Sen Sec School, Solan-173212. Second: Jashandeep Kaur, VII(Rose), Baba Farid Public School, Harindra Nagar, Faridkot.

Third: Roopanshi Singla, IV-A, Alpine School, 101-C, Model Town, Patiala.

Answers to quiz 196: Five; Dev Anand; Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting; Russia; Ireland; December 7; Raman Singh; Duma; Mass Rapid Transport System; December 1; Jaidev; Maitri; G. Madhavan Nair; Uma Shankar Mishra; Gertrude Ederle.

Cash awards of Rs 400, 300 and 200 are given to the first, second and third prize winners, respectively. These are sent at the school address.

— Tarun Sharma