Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Interview with a ....Librarian!

Some of you may follow Kakchik's blog for her wonderful fashion sense or her updates about Kelantan, Malaysia but how many of you know that she is a bookstore owner as well a librarian at an Islamic library? This is the part that fascinates me about her so I got her to answer some interview questions. I would love to be in her shoes; books, reading, writing, sharing knowledge. If I were a Disney Princess I would be Belle and own the Beast's lovely library. But back to Kakchik. Enjoy the interview with a librarian/bookstore owner.


1.How important were books in your life growing up?

Very important. My parent keep encouraging me to borrow books from the school library because we don't have enough money to buy books frequently. I was told that if I want to be SOMEBODY I need to read.

2. How did you become the owner of a bookstore?

All started when I try to be different in giving gifts for newborns. I always think that, my people are lacking in so many things because they don't like books and I have experience a lot of good things because I love reading. And I have started young, so I gave special selected books as gifts. They are Islamic books that I bought online. Friends started to notice the quality of the books and how they affect the babies, most are my friends' babies. They started asking for me to buy them and during all the ordering and such I came across an activity called 'read aloud'. Here is the base of my opening of the bookstore. And FYI, I've telling friends since I was 16 that one day I'll be a bookstore owner. Alhamdulillah, that dream do comes true.

3. What kinds of books do you sell?

More than half are children's books, the rest are selected books for teenagers and adults such as Religious books, Motivational, Business and Management, Parenting, Novels, Educational, Crafts and Health books.

4. What criteria do you use when selecting which books you will buy for your store?

Usually I'll focus on the Islamic values first, then I'll order a few as samples to be used with my nieces/nephews at home or to be read so that I can see the effect of the books on children and on me as an adult reader. I try to read everything before I order and promote them to customers. Apart from that, I also rely on the many reviews that can be found on the internet. If many people reviewed the book as good in certain values then I'll list the book for buying. Sometimes suppliers came and leave the books for me to have a look, I'll spend some time to skim them and decide later.

5. What books are the most popular in your store?

Books for preschoolers and Motivational books.

6. Which do you prefer to read?

I prefer children books and parenting because they are my therapy for releasing stress.

7. How did you become a librarian at an Islamic Library? Is it related to your educational background.

Back in 2000, a friend told me that a private public library will be opened in KB and he knows that I have my own book collections at home. He said that I was the best candidate for the position of a Database Programmer in that library because of my educational background in Computer Science and my reading habit. I was working as an IT Executive back then and was quite satisfied with it. Anyway 'quite satisfied' is not enough and I really love places that have books, always amazed me. I was the last candidate to be interviewed and the first Q was, what book have you read yesterday and do love working with books? I think my answers captured their hearts, hehe. I got the job even though there were 14 other better candidates. Alhamdulillah. I was the only woman among 10 workers, now there are six. I was gradually promoted after that.

8. Do you have a vision for Malaysia regarding books,reading,libraries and bookstores?

Yes, I do. I think in 5 years time Malaysian would be better readers. Looking from the statistics of the daily library visitors and the book sale at my bookstore and of course the bigger statistics from the publishers (excluding academic books publishers) and bookstores around here, it is possible. Youngsters started to drop by bookstores not just to buy stationery or school books but also other type of books as a complementary reading. Insyaallah Malaysian is more and more books this days.

9. Which books by Malaysian authors would you recommend?

There are so many books but I'd like to suggest, the Bacaan Awal (BAWAL) reading set for early readers written by various authors and published by Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka, children books published by PTS Publications & Distributors - I think they publish so many good books with Islamic values for children and teenagers and for adults maybe books by Zaharuddin Abdul Rahman, Ainon Mohd, Hasrizal Abdul Jamil, Prof. Hj. Mohd. Kamil Ibrahim, Ann Wan Seng and Pahrol Mohd Juoi (to name a few).

10. How often do you meet authors and do they do book signings in your shop?

Only one or twice a year if I manage to visit the KL International Bookfair. I really love the close relationship of author and bookstores' owners overseas. Here, that culture is still new. I have made a few request for authors to visit and have book signings at the shop but to no avail. Maybe because Kelantan is too far from KL where so many authors are staying.

11. Do you have a book inside of you that you would like to write?

Yes. Hehe... I've actually finished writing 2 manuscript but haven't have time to edit and propose them to any publishers because I was so busy with study, businesses, work and family. Maybe when I graduated next month, I'll look into them again.

12. Do you think books are a good form of charity? Does your bookstore do any kind of charity or outreach? What about the Islamic Library?

Definitely. Yes, we do. We spare an amount of money and books for charity depend on our financial situation. The Library is a waqf library where it receives donation from the public to operate. The owner built the library and donated it to the public. Workers are supported by different sponsors to work here and make the library interesting for everyone to visit.

13. Which job gives you more satisfaction; librarian or bookstore owner?

Of course the bookstore owner because I get to do everything that I want to do to obtain my objectives in encouraging people to love books and reading. At the library even though I love it so much because it grows with me (I am the longest working worker here), it still is not mine to manipulate as I wish it should.

14. What advice would you give to others who want to follow in your footsteps?

Love books wholeheartedly and be sincere in your job and your mission in life because life would not be fun and meaningful if you do things because of money. Find satisfaction and peace so that you'll love this job.


  1. Good old women! i see you have struggled a lot to reach to top..keep up the good work..you should stand as an example for todays people..

    Interview Questions

  2. I am the one who is interviewing kakchik. I am not the librarian.

  3. Assalamualaikum C. Thanks for publishing this interview. I've seen it since yesterday but do not have time to write a comment. When I read this again, it seems like I was talking about someone else. Anyway, tanks my friend.

  4. great!

    i love the answers and i love books as well.

    good luck for your future undertakings kak chik, and thanks C for interviewing her.

    Get to know so many things about her that i wouldn't have known should the interview is not made.


  5. Asalaamu Alaikum Kakchik,

    Sama,sama. The pleasure was all mine and I should be thanking you for such a wonderful interview. I am so glad to get to know you better and your wonderful path in life.

  6. You're welcome Wawa (did you know that is the name of a town in Canada?) I am really glad too to unearth all these treasures about kakchik.

  7. interesting..

    @ C, where do u live in Canada? (i'm just wondering since I'm studying in UofT, Canada.)

    i'm just having my blog walking n found this interesting post.

  8. Asalaamu alaikum Everjihad,

    Are you Malaysian? I live 3 hours south of Toronto. Do you belong to the Canada Malay Association? Its listed on the right side on my blog under blog list.

  9. yup. I'm a Malaysian. South of Toronto? WHere is it? Is it near Hamilton? I'm not officially belong to CMA. ;D

    maybe once a while you can come to Masjid Toronto for iftar and tarawih. we can meet there. I live not far from the masjid toronto. =)

  10. Near Hamilton? No way, lol. Do you know where Kitchener is or London? I am 2 hours south of Kitchener and one hour south of London.

    I never even knew there was a masjid Toronto..really that's the name? I won't be coming to the GTA for awhile, not even for Eid; going to have it at my house. Sometimes we join the malaysians/singaporeans there though for Eid. Maybe Eid-ul-adha.

  11. Oh really? I guess I heard it before. How long have you been in Canada? Well, we may meet one day, insha Allah.

    Yeah. Malaysian and Singaporean are quite close and has a tight bondship. =) ALhamdulillah.

    (err.. is it nice for us to chit-chat here. =P. Seems this comment space purposely for the post, though. lol)

    We may interact through email or facebook if you like.

    you may email or add me at fb.

    >>> qotul90 [at] gmail.com

    Looking forward to hear you soon. =)

  12. Ok insha Allah I will email you..by the way saya ada mek salleh tidak orang melayu, ke,ke.