Each month, an ALIA member is profiled and we learn a little about their professional life and a bit about their not-so-serious side. Using just a few questions, we try to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our Association. So, without further ado, welcome to our Member of the Month for June 2018… ten questions with ALIA Member Melissa Raymond.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself
I’ve lived in the Northern Territory for nearly 20 years (six in the Top End and 14 in Alice Springs). Alice Springs is a great place to live, work and bring up a family. I’ve worked in three wonderful libraries in Alice Springs. I currently work for Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (Batchelor Institute) and have previously worked in the libraries at the Institute for Aboriginal Development (IAD) and Charles Darwin University (CDU). I grew up on a farm in country NSW and then spent many years in Melbourne. I have a husband, two teenage daughters and a dog. Of course I love to read! I also enjoy walking and am very partial to Nordic noir dramas.
2) What is your current role and some of the responsibilities?
I am Campus Librarian at Batchelor Institute in Alice Springs. My job is excellent as I get to work with vocational education students, undergraduate students, postgraduate students and staff. Batchelor has many courses, so I am involved with teaching, research and library support and services in many areas. It is exciting and diverse and I feel very fortunate.
3) What led you to a career in LIS?
My background is in publishing and education. I have always loved libraries, of course, and had always thought it would be an interesting career (my mother was a teacher librarian). When my children were very young I returned to study (I already had a BA in History and Sociology) and completed my Master of Information Management (Librarianship).
4) What are some of the challenges faced by libraries today?
Image. That people don’t really understand all that libraries of today are and do. Libraries must market themselves. There is a perception amongst some sectors that libraries aren’t required or as important as they once were. It is essential that we promote the fact that libraries are inclusive hubs and full of diverse and wonderful collections and spaces, services and everything basically!
5) Ebooks or Print?
Print generally but sometimes for ease and weight – ebooks.
6) What words of advice would you have for newbie library and information professionals?
Enjoy! Get involved in anything you can. Network. Go to any PD opportunities (physical or online). Ask questions. I’ve been very lucky as I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in ALIA NT and Jayshree Mamtora (long term ALIA NT Manager) has been incredibly welcoming and supportive of/to all of us involved in the library world in the NT (and she was also a great colleague during my time at CDU).
7) What is most misunderstood about library and information professionals?
We need people to know that we know about many things; not just books. That we are diverse and dynamic and like noise! That we want people to use the library, to speak, to ask questions, to pull books off the shelf and to feel comfortable and valued. We are here to help in any way.
8) Why did you join ALIA and how long have you been a member?
I joined ALIA as soon as I was qualified in 2007. I have been heavily involved in the Alice Springs branch of ALIA (ALIA Red Centre) for many years. I was convenor for eight years and was awarded a silver pin in 2017. I am very proud of this. When I was studying I was very keen to immerse myself in the library world of Alice Springs. My involvement with ALIA has enabled me to network, liaise and become friends with many librarians in Alice Springs and in the Top End also.
9) What is the most hilarious question you have ever been asked?
Nothing hilarious springs to mind; more odd/unusual. We had one client in a library I worked in who would complain daily about how quiet the library was. Not a standard complaint for libraries, and all the more interesting as the space he complained about was a specifically designated quiet study area!
10) What's your dream job?
I’m in it! I would love to be involved in the process of planning and building a new purpose-built library for Batchelor here at the Desert Knowledge Precinct where Batchelor Central Australia campus is. The idea of working on the project of ensuring dynamic and inclusive spaces and collections for all Batchelor library uses is a dream of mine. If I didn’t live in Alice Springs at gig at NLA, AIATSIS or any state library would be brilliant.