BC Libraries Student News

James Zhen: Student Library Assistant Profile
By James Zhen (07)

Toward the end of my first semester here at Boston College, I decided I wanted a part-time job, preferably somewhere that would help foster an interest in something – I didn’t know what. I was a little freshman back then, undeclared and unsure. I did notice, however, that I had developed a budding interest in film, so I gave the library a shot, in particular, the O’Neill Media Center, because, well, they have films there.

My first semester working at the Media Center was made up of three two-hour shifts each week – not much, to be sure, but that was all that remained open for that new semester. At first, my primary tasks were basic counter work responsibilities: retrieving videos and CDs for patrons and re-shelving them afterwards. Although I also work on various projects involving WebCT and the digitization of media materials nowadays, staffing the counter still remains the favorite part of my job. I like to peruse the stacks, picking the films up and looking at them; I enjoy interacting with visitors, talking to them about films, hearing their opinions about what they liked and what they did not.

Now, I study film as one of my concentrations, and working at the Media Center has provided me with much exposure to the world of cinema. Before I learned about Ernst Lubitsch and Wong Kar-Wai in the classroom, I became familiar with them at the Media Center. Before I knew what jump cuts were, I watched them in action in À Bout de Souffle. But these are not things I have learned because my job entails it; it’s out of pure interest. The collection at the Media Center is open to everyone, and it has, I feel, gone terribly underused by the student body. The wide variety of materials, both films and music, available in the collection may, and probably will, surprise you.

James Zhen has worked for three years in O’Neill Library.