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 August 2017… ten questions with ALIA Member Jade Koekoe.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself
You know, this type of question always stumps me because, well, I like and do so many things! At the moment I'm creating content for my YouTube channel, writing articles about dinosaurs, putting together data workshops, learning to code, rediscovering how awesome science is through the eyes of my five-year-old and a million other things. I enjoy creating and sharing knowledge. I enjoy learning and I make it my mission to learn something new every day.
2) What is your current role and some of the responsibilities?
I am ALIA's State Manager for the Australian Capital Territory. Now, I know a lot of you are looking at me with 'what the...?' faces. So here it is: being an ALIA State Manager is the best job in the world. No, really, I'm not just saying that. I am responsible for giving ALIA members a voice and being a voice for our profession outside the industry. It's the ultimate advocating role! I have so many tips for advocating now, hit me up for a conversation, I'd be happy to pass them on. But in all seriousness, for our ALIA members, I am a point of contact. If you want to say something to ALIA, I'm here to listen and pass on that feedback so it can be acted upon.
3) What led you to a career in LIS?
Me and my interests.
4) What are some of the challenges faced by libraries today?
Getting ourselves noticed. I hear quite often about how there is a lack of funding to achieve our goals, to preserve the collections we are stewards for. It all boils down to the fact that much of the work we do is behind the scenes. A politician is going to put money behind a new tram going down the centre of Canberra over GLAMR preservation projects because a tram is much easier to sell to the general public, it's visible and shining and RIGHT THERE. We need new ways of getting ourselves, and the work we do, noticed.
5) Ebooks or Print?
I really want to put in here the GIF from Road to El Dorado where they say 'Both? Both! Both. Both is good.'
To me, it isn't about the format, we all consume knowledge in various ways every day, anyway. It's about the content, making it accessible, allowing people to discuss it.
6) What words of advice would you have for newbie library and information professionals?
Immerse yourself in the profession. There are so many ways you can do so. Volunteer for conferences, ALIA Groups, Committees, something! Write for an industry magazine, start a blog or vlog about industry issues. Apply for internships and work experience. Play with tech, all the tech, any tech you can get your hands on.
7) What is most misunderstood about library and information professionals?
Librarians read books all day, archivists are dusty and records managers have no personality. How on earth did we end up with these stereotypes? What is most misunderstood about the information management profession is what we do. Doctors fix people, Engineers build, Firefighters rescue. These are all tasks that people can see happening, right in front of them. The majority of work we do goes on behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly. And because it is behind the scenes, nobody understands the full picture of what we do.
8) Why did you join ALIA and how long have you been a member?
When I started studying, I joined every professional association I could: RIMPA, ASA, ALIA, MGA. Four years later I have only kept my ALIA and MGA memberships. This is because the work of these two associations most aligned with my interests and professional goals. ALIA supports and advocates for literacy, inclusiveness, cybersafety and disaster prevention. You should really check out the Campaigns and Events section of the ALIA website, you'll get a sense of just how many things ALIA is across. MGA has networks like the Emerging Professions, Exhibitions and Historians. Put it all together, and you've got what I'm passionate about.
9) What is the most hilarious question you have ever been asked?
It’s not a question, but I find that the looks on people’s faces when I say I’m an aspiring data librarian can be quite hilarious. I guess they don’t know what data librarians are?
10) What's your dream job?
To be in a position where I can truly say my work intersects every part of GLAMR (galleries, libraries, archives, museums and records management), with a bit of content creation thrown in!