I’ve climbed up the hill to the main Kaunas Public Library a couple of times recently to work in the periodicals reading room. Working here always reminds me of my master’s thesis research, which was primarily conducted in this reading room in 1993-1994. I wrote my master’s thesis on education reform in Lithuania from 1988-1992, specifically the rewriting of the Lithuanian history curriculum and textbooks. I spend many days reading teacher journals and newspapers, looking for articles introducing new curricula, meth0dology and lesson content for history teachers.
Back in the old days, I didn’t have a digital camera to photograph the articles so I had to make photocopies. Rather, I should say that I had to ask for photocopies of the articles. The teacher newspaper were mostly printed as large broadsheets and, of course, were bound in hardcover sets for library use. The library had one small tabletop photocopier. It was not an easy process to photocopy the articles that I needed from these large, bound newspapers on the little copier. The process was made even more difficult because the one woman responsible for making photocopies appeared to have little experience working a copy machine.
Because of this, I tried to bring just a few photocopying requests each day. Even so, the photocopy woman would huff and puff and complain that I wanted copies. Since I was paying for the photocopies and it was her job to make them, I didn’t take it personally. I do believe that she began to hate me and my daily stack of newspaper articles for photocopying. Unfortunately, I made the egregious mistake of once suggesting that I could make the copies myself more easily. After that, she really didn’t like me. But in the end, I got all my photocopies and wrote my thesis and received my master’s degree. Fortunately, I can say that the current staff at the Kaunas Public Library are very nice and helpful. I enjoy working there — of course, the fact that I can photograph articles rather than make photocopies probably makes it a lot easier.