Librarians in the Field : Olive Lo
The “Librarians in the Field” series introduces us to library professionals in diverse fields. Librarians answer questions about their work and the profession– all in their own words!
Olive Lo, Assistant Research and Sports Information Manager
Why did you become a librarian?
I worked in the Hong Kong Central Library after I left my design career and met my first librarian boss who inspired me a lot in the library profession. Since then I have worked in several libraries, and I love the quiet working environment. The working atmosphere in a library is different from a commercial firm. There is less competition between staff, and I’m grateful to have met nice teammates over the years! I’m glad that I can learn about different subject areas. I gain so much knowledge when cataloguing library materials. I’ve finished certain library professional studies and I’m now a professional librarian in the Sports Information Centre. I have been in this profession for 15 years.
Describe a typical or average day at your job.
My daily duties include managing the operation of the library and administrative work, planning the staff roster, handling users’ enquiries, checking and replying emails, maintaining the subscription of printed and electronic journals, acquiring new and relevant library materials, and communicating with sports professionals for their suggestions on library collection development.
What’s the best part of your job?
Working in an organization with positive energy and encouragement makes me feel energetic and makes me work more efficiently. I think I am a good observer when it comes to staff management.
Can you share the most memorable moment in your career as a librarian?
While working as a professional librarian in the Sports Information Centre, I had to handle a problematic case with an e-journal vendor. Our service requirements for the e-journal subscription had been specified in the subscription contract and the vendor had confirmed to provide such service. We paid to access a batch of 29 journal titles, but we found we couldn’t access 24 of them for various reasons. Later, we found out that the vendor could not meet our service requirements and I decided to terminate the subscription contract and asked for a refund. At first the vendor refused, and only agreed to give us credit for purchasing other journals. However, the vendor was not reliable and I negotiated with them for the refund. Finally, we received the whole refund of more than $18,000 USD several months later. I cannot forget the day we received the refund cheque!
What is the most important trend we will see in the next 5 years in special libraries?
Cooperation and information sharing between different special libraries to provide more for user access.
What is one thing you want other librarians to know about special libraries?
Special libraries are not as “rich” as academic libraries or public libraries in terms of financial support and manpower. Sometimes, special libraries have difficulties in securing library infrastructure budgets.