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CILA: Issue 10, Gale Ann Joseph-Kerr

Issue 10, October 2020

Member Gale Ann Joseph-Kerr, Trinidad and Tobego

Q: Tell us a little bit about how you came to work in a library.

A: I started working in a library through an On the Job Training program (OJT) at our National Library in the young adult department. After completing the cycle, I was amazed to see how much I had learned and accepted a job as an OJT at a Theological Library.

Q: How long have you worked in libraries?

A: I was promoted to Library Assistant after completing an Associate’s Degree in Library and Information Studies. I progressed to Library Technician after completing a BSc in Library and Information Studies. This position requires me to fulfill the duties of a librarian and the support services needed to run a functional library. January of 2021 will make it 13 years in this field of work.

Q: What facet of libraries or your day-to-day responsibilities are you most passionate about?

A: I have a passion for all aspects of library services; however, the area of reference services lights up my day. I have realized that any request made by a user seeking information also helps me to develop knowledge in areas I may not research on my own.

Q: What are some ways you market services/resources to library users?

A: Workshops as well as displays are used to market library resources and services. 

Q: What are some low budget or free professional development venues that you participate in currently?

A: Currently, I am in the second year of my Master’s Degree in Education and Educational Technology. I attend workshops and do various MOOC courses in leadership, management, or education. 

Q: What is the single most challenging thing for you to accomplish as an international library staff member? [i.e. purchasing print resources, funding professional development activities, providing resources to library users who may not have the internet at home, etc.?

A: The greatest challenge is in digital technology, specifically with regard to the acquisition of e-books. The library budget helps to purchase print resources that fulfill the needs of the students. However, due to the absence of an electronic copy collection, this creates somewhat of a challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Professional development is encouraged by the institution and is accommodated when requests are made. Meeting the needs of our users who may not have internet access at home has not been a part of our staff discussions, since all the students are present for virtual classes.