We interview LIS students about their library journeys, how they juggle work and study and advice they have for those considering study.
Monika Nair, Bachelor of Arts: Library and Information degree at Open Polytechnic.
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.
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Genavieve Tarawa, Degree in Māori Information Management – Poutuarongo Puna Maumahara at Te Wānanga O Raukawa.
By the time I was nine-years-old, I had read the entire school library. It was quite small. Next, I turned my attention to the books my elder siblings were reading: The Godfather, and books by the likes of Jackie Collins, Jacqueline Susan, and Robert Ludlum. One of my brothers was an avid graphic novel enthusiast and this led to me reading The Phantom, The Hulk, and Creepy which gave me nightmares. I didn’t read because I wanted to – I read because I had to. My favourite book was and still is the dictionary, as it is an endless source of new information. I love that. At 10, I discovered the public library and my mind was blown by the potential for more reading. I thought it was paradise and I wondered how I could live there. I never intended to be a librarian.
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Hannah Goile-McEvoy, New Zealand Diploma in Information and Library Services at Open Polytechnic.
Libraries have always been a large part of my life ever since I was young. From being taken on regularly library visits when I was little to attending the local Young Adult book club and being a part of a Teen Advisory Group for a little while I also volunteered at Kapiti Coast District Library where I spent a few summers helping with check-ins for the Summer Reading Program which is like coming full circle as I participated in these programs while in primary school. I am very thankful for the opportunities provided by my library growing up on the Kapiti Coast. This November has marked my first year in the role of a Library Assistant at Nelson Public Libraries. Now, at 22 I am loving this next chapter of my personal journey - a new library in my new home town with an amazing team supporting me.
Wendy Horne, Graduate Certificate in Library and Information Leadership at Open Polytechnic.
I have worked at Upper Hutt City Library since 1999, following a brief stint at National Library as a Library Assistant and an illustrious career at Pak ‘N’ Save as a checkout operator. I loved the library as a kid and have very fond memories of visiting the mobile library, as well as our central branch. I spent lots of time in the school library at college and I just thought it would be an awesome job and was lucky enough to be the successful candidate at Upper Hutt. I have had many roles at the library, but the core of all the jobs has been customer service, which I am really passionate about (read into that what you will!). In the last 5 years I have been delivering core circulation training with the new Kōtui libraries and this has been the best fun – visiting other libraries and sharing knowledge!
Rob Cruickshank, Graduate Certificate in Library and Information Leadership at the Open Polytechnic.
I came to libraries relatively late in my career after many years working as a biologist in various different guises, an interest that I continue to maintain as an academic journal editor. My first library job was as a part-time library assistant at Aranui Library, a small community library in the east of Christchurch. In many ways that was the perfect introduction to the importance of libraries to people’s lives. The team were so warm and welcoming and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, although it was not without its challenges. After about nine months at Aranui I was lucky enough to get a job at Tūranga, where I work now as a Programming Specialist, a relatively new role at Christchurch City Libraries that allows me to combine my new found love of libraries with some of the knowledge and skills I gained doing research and teaching science.
Deborah Hart, Master of Information Studies at Victoria University Wellington.
During the last six months at university I was looking for a part-time job, and saw a fixed-term position working in the Serials Department at the University of Waikato Library. I had never thought about working in a library before, but I applied, got it, and found I really enjoyed working there. My library career was launched! Since then I’ve worked at Huntly Library; the University of Waikato Library (Reference & Interloans; and the Law Library); and Tauranga City Libraries. About 10 or 11 years altogether. Then I made a career change in 2011, and trained to be a primary school teacher. I started teaching at Tauranga Waldorf School, but my Mum and Dad were both getting very frail, so I left my job and cared for them full-time for four years. When I was returning back to work, I realised that, although I loved teaching, I didn’t want to have to start from scratch again. Te Puke Library was looking for a Children and Teen’s Librarian, I got the job – and I’ve been here ever since!
Stephen Clothier, Master in Information Science at Victoria University Wellington.
My library journey started at the tender age of 14, when I got my library job at Hastings District Libraries. Many moons later, while I was finishing my undergraduate degrees in Wellington, I got a job in customer service at Wellington City Libraries. I was involved in projects and programmes in a bunch of different areas across the library network, from children and youth services to the eLibrary, from database evaluation to robotics and coding. A month ago, I became WCL’s Children and Youth Services Specialist – I work to support the breadth of programmes and services for children and young people across our library network, and specifically to design and ‘own’ the host of new services we’re creating for Waitohi, our brand new library and community hub in Johnsonville.
Tara Boonaree, PhD graduate, School of Information Management, Victoria University Wellington.
In my early career, I worked as a law librarian for Linklaters (Bangkok) Ltd while the London-based international law firm established their Bangkok office. After two and a half years I furthered my studies at Chulalongkorn University then started my teaching career in a university before moving to the Information Science Department, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Khon Kaen University (KKU) in Isan. I took 4 and a half years study leave for to complete my PhD.
After graduating later last year, I was back to teach at KKU. I’m now an assistant professor in Information Science.