Getting to Know HKLA Bursary Winners : Lee Chung Leuk


Getting to Know HKLA Bursary Winners : Lee Chung Leuk

The “Librarians in the Field” series introduces us to library professionals in diverse fields. In this special edition of the series, we highlight the achievements of Lee Chung Leuk, this year’s Heleni Linton Bursary Award winner. HKLA is glad to award the bursary to Lee Chung Leuk as he accomplishes great things in his career and studies in libraries. Read his story in his own words!

Lee Chung Leuk, Charles Sturt University School of Information Studies student and Library Assistant at the University of Hong Kong Libraries

Hi, I am Lee Chung Leuk. I have been working at the University of Hong Kong Libraries for over three years. The library has been undergoing a tremendous change due to technological innovation, and this inspired me to build up more substantial knowledge in information studies at Charles Sturt University. The programme covers a wide range of content such as effective search skills and how to evaluate references, which can be directly applied in my work. Hopefully I can forecast and think broadly about the future development of the library and serve the library with innovative and advanced perspectives. I only have one module remaining to get my graduate diploma now, hooray!

Why are you interested in a career in libraries?

Back in 2005, I was a young and an artsy-fartsy student and was looking for a part-time job for livelihood. I considered working in a Library or Museum environment because it seemed to suit me best. I was recruited as a part-time library assistant in the Public Library, and I realized that being a librarian is not just about sitting quietly at the desk. It requires a subversive vision and creative mind, which really drew my interest. Later on, I was lucky to work in the Film Archive and Government Record Service where my experiences made me firmly believed that I am a good fit for libraries. I get a lot of fulfillment and satisfaction from guiding users to the right content they need, and I enjoy continually learning new stuff in information studies. It feels great to grow my knowledge and skills.

Describe a typical or average day for you pursuing a career in libraries.

At HKU Libraries, my daily duties include reading, classifying books as well as returning the books to the bookshelves. Sometimes I sit at the desk and monitor the readers to see if they make any noise …. just kidding, this is not the truth! Library operations involve much more than this 🙂

Actually, my duties include helping users to access to Library resources, handling general inquiries regarding library facilities and audio-visual equipment, recording seminar proceedings and making short videos. In addition, we have to keep updating ourselves to face new challenges; our team has recently learned 3D modeling and other skills for use in the library.

How will the bursary support you in your career in libraries?

The bursary award will not only support me meeting the costs of equipment and software necessary for the completion of my project, but also recognition of my professional development in librarianship. It makes me feels me energized and encouraged to attend more meetings, seminars and library activities that will improve my practical knowledge and skills.  Thanks for the Helini Linton bursary award, and thanks to the generous donors!

What is the most important trend we will see in the next 5 years in libraries in your opinion?

The application of technology is irreversible: use it or lose it. I believe that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will continue to reshape the landscape of librarianship.  Similar to ‘FinTech’ or any other new word that combines with ‘technology,’ we can forecast that in the near future, libraries will be dominated by “LibTech.’ Library automation, space renovation, and cooperation and collaboration in various library settings are the most important current trends.

What is one thing you want librarians to know about library and information studies today?

Working in a library is more challenging and difficult to manage because library and information studies are now profoundly influenced by ICT. Related concepts like “big data,” “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning” are emerging, making the situation more complex. There are many issues worth further elaboration and discussion such as IT security, the boundaries of copyright and freedom of information, among others. Therefore, it may be helpful for librarians to have a basic understanding of IT stuff like web design and have a broad vision of the social and economic situation.

Any other message you want to share with HKLA members?

One day, my supervisor sent us a link titled “will Robots take my job,” then I searched “library assistant,” and the result was shocking: “You are doomed.” In other words, you have to find creative and constructive ways to survive otherwise a robot will replace you! Moreover, working in the library is not a remarkable story to be told because your daily task is repetitive and boring!  Finally, don’t be a library worker if you want to be rich: the library is not a right place to earn money!

Now get frustrated, and consider quitting your library job? Feel like you need something to lift your spirits? Here are some encouraging words: working in libraries requires passion, and it is a value-oriented profession. We are the defenders of freedom of information and bear the responsibility to share the truth and contribute to the knowledge society. Serving library users, to us, is indeed a repetitive task. Nevertheless, many first-time library users get to know the library through our guidance; we are minor, but we’re all important.  Sounds cool and want to know more? Please search this book in your library catalogue: “Our Enduring Values: Librarianship in the 21st Century”- it gives a good explanation on this topic.