Student Focus: Monika Nair
Talofa lava and Namaskaram. My name is Monika and I am a half Samoan and half Indian woman from beautiful, South Auckland. I work at Tupu Youth library - the only youth library in New Zealand and I am blessed to be the Senior librarian for Children’s services. I remember finishing high school and looking at the UoA pamphlets, noticing that ‘Librarian’ was a career and then thinking, who would want to be a librarian? Ten years later – It’s me! I wanted to be a librarian and now I am a Children’s librarian and I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job/career! When I’m not working or studying I love binge watching Harry Potter and Friends and spending time with my family and fiancé.
Talofa lava and Namaskaram Monika! Can you describe your library journey up to this point?
This journey has been a surprising one but definitely a great one! I started my library journey as a casual library assistant in 2014, a year that was meant to be my gap year from uni. However, that changed when I found my passion in libraries. Now, 6 years later, I am a Senior Librarian – Children and Youth at Tupu Youth library, Auckland Libraries, and absolutely LOVE my job. I’m in my dream role at the moment but I aspire to become a library manager one day, which is why I’ve taken on studying towards my future career goals.
How long have you been studying and what qualification are you currently studying towards?
I properly started my studies at Open Polytechnic pursuing the Bachelor of Arts: Library and Information degree in 2016. I am currently doing my last paper for this degree and will hopefully graduate this year.
Can you tell our readers about your experience in this programme and its benefits to librarianship?
Everything I have learnt through my work experience as a librarian, has been emphasised through my studies. I am a very practical learner however, because libraries are such a diverse place of learning and growing, the programme I’m in helps me to understand the library world better through relevant readings and assessments.
What made you decide to study for a LIS qualification?
I chose to study this because I really have found my passion in library services. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this would be the career for me, however libraries have broadened my perspective on what they offer, and what my skills can offer them. Not only am I serving my community, I am also educating and supporting my community with the resources and information that libraries provide. I love that in particular, I can do this for my community tamariki as a children’s librarian, showcasing the skills I’ve brought and developed over the years.
How do you juggle study and work?
I’ve been full time working and part time studying for the past 3 years now and I’m not gonna lie, it’s been tough. However, because I can draw my experiences to my assignments, it’s been better doing the assignments than it has the readings – because I’m a terrible procrastinator, lol. It helps though, having a great support system which I am blessed with at home, but also my fellow colleagues who study as well and encourage me to keep on top of my work, reminding me why I am doing this.
Can you tell us about what your job at Tupu Youth Library involves?
Firstly, Tupu Youth library is the only youth library in New Zealand and might I just add, the best library in the world hehe! We are surrounded by our community’s tamariki from primary to high school and we have a great relationship with them. As the children’s librarian, I outreach to 19 preschools and primary schools every month for story time sessions. I also lead Wriggle and Rhyme sessions in the library for our babies and toddlers which is such a fun time with the tamariki and parents. I also, with the support of my amazing work colleagues, host big story time plays at the library and run school holiday programs. We are a very LOUD library but a fun and caring library too which helps us connect and serve our community.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying towards a library qualification?
If you are in libraries right now and have a gut feeling that this is the place for you, then do it!! You’re in a great environment of learning, growing and serving and this is only enhanced as you study towards not just a job, but a career.
This interview first appeared in the May 2020 Issue of Library Life Magazine