In Volume 11 we speak with Emily Watkins from Plymouth College of Art.

This is the first week of a new set of questions! Get involved by emailing

Word of the Week

Char — Colloquial English word for ‘tea’ derived from the original Cantonese word 茶 phonetically pronounced ‘cha’.

The Interview

Job title?
I am the academic librarian at Plymouth College of Art (also the chief biscuit eater).

Favourite book?
What kind of question is that for a librarian?! Anything by Margaret Atwood, Moshin Hamid or Jess Richards.

Favourite magazine?
Little White Lies — great for its film content, plus it always has beautifully illustrated covers.

If you could change one thing in the library world, what would it be?
To be supported by our governments! Libraries are doing such great work and it would be fantastic to see this work funded properly.

How do you think libraries are going to change in the next decade
Everyone assumes libraries will become purely digital entities, and I agree with this to an extent, it’s great that so much content is easily accessible through libraries, but I think that libraries will become more of an experience. People love reading books, it’s such a tactile and sensory thing, the smell, the feel of the pages, I thinking reading is such an enjoyable experience and a really good well-being exercise and libraries will be special places to experience this.

If you weren’t a librarian, what would you do?
I trained as an illustrator, but I think I would be a detective!

Any hidden talents?
I’m an amazing rapper.

Any questions for me? What is your favourite book and why?

I’ve been asked this question a lot, but luckily you can cheat and have several favourite books! Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse is always in competition. I’ve read it several times now and every time I glean something new. It’s a poetic message of hope and the transcendence of the main character is really terrific.

Many thanks again to Emily!

Would you like to participate or nominate a colleague?
As always, you can reach me at