Getting to Know HKLA Fellows 2020
Louise Jones, University Librarian, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Why did you become a librarian?
After high school I started work as a library assistant at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. I was looking for a job, any job, and like most librarians I am a bookish, quiet person so thought librarianship would be a good fit. Everything sprang from working underground in the stack at the Bodleian handling rare manuscripts, then being allowed to face the readers in the Classics Reading Room. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to begin my career in one of the world’s greatest libraries, and have loved working in libraries ever since. I also came to realise that being seen as bookish and quiet as a librarian can be more of a hindrance than a help, particularly as your career progresses and have made an effort to no longer be quite so quiet, as colleagues can attest!
What’s the best part of your job?
There are so many. Working with colleagues who are so dedicated and smart; meeting students and academics who are so passionate about their discipline, and knowing that as an academic librarian you are contributing to the creation and dissemination of new knowledge, in part by preserving and making discoverable previous knowledge for people to build on.
Can you share the most memorable moment in your career as a librarian?
Can I have three memorable moments reflecting various stages of my career? As a medical librarian it was the moment when I was first introduced to the internet while on a visit to Johns Hopkins Medical Library in the USA. At the time we were still using an acoustic coupler to search Medline, so a Mosaic web browser was a revelation. At the University of Leicester it was greeting the Queen and Prince Philip at the opening of our redeveloped David Wilson Library. In Hong Kong can I have the whole of 2020 as a memorable moment, leading CUHK Library during the pandemic?
What is the most important trend you see in the next 5 years in academic libraries?
I think we need to understand and shape AI developments which will impact scholarly communications, our everyday operations such as cataloguing, and our interactions with our users. There are also ethical questions we need to address as AI progresses.
What is one thing you want other librarians to know about academic libraries?
We want to work with you, we do not live in an ivory tower.
What does HKLA mean to you?
HKLA means I can connect with all the diverse library sectors in Hong Kong, and through visits, CPD activities and social events meet wonderful colleagues and always learn some new. I owe much to Hong Kong and its librarians, and being active in HKLA is one of the small ways I try to contribute back to the profession.
HKLA is also an opportunity for Hong Kong librarians to connect globally and have a voice through IFLA. Check out IFLA, and in particular its work on libraries and sustainable development is very inspiring.
Any other message you want to share with HKLA members?
2020 has been the toughest year I have ever known in my 35+ years working in libraries. We need to be resilient, both personally and as organisations; HKLA, its Code of Ethics and network of supportive colleagues can help.