In Volume Six of IwtL (not so catchy), we have the pleasure of speaking with Alex Wheeler of Manchester Metropolitan University.


Last week’s question — What is the smallest book in the world?

Well, my clue last week somewhat misleading… I thought it was Old King Cole, but it turns out there is always a smaller book! Teeny Ted from Turnip Town is the smallest book in the world. Created by Nano Imaging Laboratory of Simon Fraser University, its dimensions are 0.07mm x 0.10mm.

This week’s question — I have much to tell you, but a voice I lack. I have no bones but my spine may crack. What am I?

The Interview

Job title?
Principal Library Assistant (Digital Library Services)

What’s the best part of your job?
Arranging and setting up trials to new resources. I love the variety of library resources and getting to see what resources are out there and what they can do is really exciting.

Favourite book? Favourite magazine?
My favourite book is Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly line which is a memoir of a worker in an American Car factory.

My favourite magazine is The Economist.

What will the library of the future be like? (In one sentence)
There will be a lot of technology and digital resources but there will always be print books in there somewhere!

Most common query in the library?
“Where can I find books or resources about [insert pretty much any topic]?” This is a great question because it really emphasises the diversity of subjects studied by our students. It is always really satisfying when you can point them towards a book, journal or database which really meets their needs.

Coffee or Tea?

What job would you do if you weren’t a librarian?
I think I would be an accountant.

Should the library be quiet or a place for discussion?
It should be quiet, but then all the best libraries are attached to a decent coffee shop which is the ideal place for a discussion.

Anything you want to ask me?
What is the best thing about dealing with Librarians?

Well, the best thing about librarians has to be the general politeness I’ve experienced around the world, along with your willingness to be involved with projects like this blog.

We have a new set of questions at the ready! Would you like to participate or nominate a colleague?
As always, you can reach me at