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 May 2018… ten questions with ALIA Member Niamh Quigley.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself
I grew up near Dublin in Ireland and have a degree in Computer Science from Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland. My previous career was in software testing and I've worked in Ireland, the UK and Australia. After being out of the workforce for a few years raising three kids, I was ready for a career change and am now in my second semester of Curtin's Master of Information Management. In my shrinking free time, I read science fiction, fantasy and graphic novels thanks to the extensive collection at the City of Joondalup libraries. My other neglected hobbies are jewellery metalworking, baking, and travelling (especially to museums and galleries).
2) What is your current role and some of the responsibilities?
When I’m not studying I volunteer at my kids' primary school library. It's a fantastic example of how a library can meet the needs of its community – it’s not just a collection of student, teacher and parent resources but also a lunchtime games club, a classroom for extension activities, a quiet place for special exams, an art gallery for themed competitions, and an annual book fair.
3) What led you to a career in LIS?
There were so many aspects of software testing that I really enjoyed, but not having to work late nights and weekends before software release deadlines. I’ve found the units of the Curtin's Master of Information Management to be just the right mix of familiar and fascinating. Information management is a great way to re-use my skills in project management, producing technical documentation and troubleshooting.
4) What are some of the challenges faced by libraries today?
I think libraries are trying to re-evaluate what they should provide for their communities, and library staff are trying to do their best within constantly evolving position descriptions.
5) Ebooks or Print?
For me, eBooks for learning and print for escapism. It really depends on if I need to re-use information or not.
6) What words of advice would you have for newbie library and information professionals?
Join ALIA, be brave and talk to people at events. Just because you're new to the profession doesn't mean you have nothing to offer. In Perth, all the information professionals I’ve met at ALIA events have been welcoming and friendly!
7) What is most misunderstood about library and information professionals?
That all library staff work in public libraries. People are surprised when I tell them about special libraries and data librarians.
8) Why did you join ALIA and how long have you been a member?
I've only been a member for less than a year but have already had so many benefits! I’ve summed it up in this blog post.
9) What is the most hilarious question you have ever been asked?
I spent my teenage summers working in my family's bookshop. Every year I'd be asked by parents buying school books ‘do you have To Kill a Mockingbird?’ Every single time my dad would pipe up ‘no, you don't have to!’
10) What's your dream job?
An international coffee and chocolate tester, specialising in gallery and museum cafes! More realistically, I want to connect researchers by becoming a data librarian.