Kerrie Stevens, Alphacrucis College, Scoresby, Australia
Tell us about your journey into librarianship:
Ever since I helped out my school librarian when I was about 10, I have wanted to be a librarian – and nothing else. When selecting courses for University, I selected the 2 library courses that were available at the time, and had difficulty filling the remaining spaces as there was literally nothing else I wanted to do (thankfully, I was successful with my first choice!). I have worked in a diamond mining company library, a food science research organization library, a university library and, for the last 16 years, at Alphacrucis College Library (formerly Harvest Bible College). And I still love my job!
I really love finding things ‘regular, non-library’ people can’t seem to locate. Using my ‘tricks of the trade’ or calling upon fellow librarians’ knowledge, I can usually locate something that a student or staff member is chasing and satisfy their information need – that chase/hunt is so exciting and often leads in unexpected directions. Also, the annual library stocktake is my absolute favourite library job to do – some people look at me strangely when I tell them this, but you can’t help what you love! I think it is simply knowing accurately what you have in your collection, and having it in perfect order (even if it is just for 5 minutes until someone comes in and moves something!), that gives me an enormous sense of satisfaction.
How to you market your services to users?
A monthly newsletter is one way I alert people to new purchases received into the library as I found academic staff simply didn’t have the time to come and look at the new items shelf. I also try to have some fun displays throughout the year, and Christmas is a great time to decorate the library a little. Humorous emails every now and then remind people that the library exists.
What are your professional development opportunies?
I often participate in free online webinars provided by library vendors which are a great way to get some new ideas or become familiar with new products and services. I am also a member of ANZTLA (Australian and New Zealand Theological Library Association) and the quarterly local chapter meetings are another great way to catch up with like-minded librarians in similar situations to share ideas and discuss problems.
What is the ost challenging thing for your context?
I don’t really see myself as an international librarian, although I guess to everyone outside Australia, I am… Australia is so far from just about everywhere. Many of the big library conferences are held in Europe or North America, so travel expenses and time required away from Australia usually prevent those being a viable option.
What would be your single greatest need?
I think the greatest need into the future for my library would be funding for international conference attendance. Establishing and developing relationships with international colleagues is much easier when it can be done face to face, and provides an avenue for future peer support and collegiality amongst librarians from all over the world.