In the autumn of 2000 I took up a 10 month position though VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) Overseas Training Project where I was given the choice to work in a library pretty much anywhere I wanted.
I took up a position in the National Library of Nepal as an Information Manager, with the job of compiling the National Bibliography of Nepal. It was seriously challenging as the documents were held not only in some very old library databases but in paper records and anonymous floppy discs!
The library itself is interesting without the many rare books and manuscripts contained within, as it once was a magnificent Rana Palace, owned by the old ruling class in Nepal who banned reading and writing throughout Nepal. It is ironic that the National Library is one of the organisations situated inside the building.
I also rebuilt the children’s section after a roof fall during the previous monsoon, learned a lot about their fantastic microfiche machines and met with some of the nicest librarians you could hope to encounter.
While I was there I alsoreceived the chance to visit and check up on the remote satellite libraries in Pokhara and Dhangadi (A plane flight for which I have few good things to say) along with plenty of connecting bus rides involving multiple goats for company.
And I do miss my bike I rode into work on every day, ‘Hero’, Although it was too heavy to lift it was swift enough to dodge cars and buses. Never has a librarian owed so much to a simple imported chinese bike.