Name: Mardi Cook
Title: Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian
Area: Dixson Library
How long have you been with UNE?
On the 1st August 1990 I started as a Stack Attendant at Dixson Library. It was meant to be a short term solution….little did I know!
Why did you choose your current career path?
To be honest I didn’t “choose” the library for my career path…. we simply stumbled into each other.
I had trained as an infant/primary teacher at the CAE and was working my way through nursing (with the aim of becoming a health educator) when family circumstances changed rapidly and I needed to get a job in a hurry! I had an interview for the police force and the library in the same week – the library paid better with over time hours and meant that I could stay at home and help care for my family. So needless to say, the library won out and there beginnith my library career.
Over the course of the years I had worked my way up through the various Departments within the library (both Dixson and Newling) and am now responsible for Serials (journals) and online journal databases. I can proudly say that I have worked my way up from the cutting-room floor, having worked in every Dept., and for a significant number of those years, working full time while studying externally for post graduate qualifications.
I have attained several degrees over the years, so I feel confident in saying that I can identify not only from nearly all perspectives of working library life, but also from an internal and external students perspective as well as a teaching capacity. This “history” has helped me enormously in understanding the needs and demands of our users, academics and community. It places me in a healthy position to be involved as education and technology changes and moves forward.
What do you like most about your role?
There is never a dull moment! The job stretches and challenges me in ever increasing ways. Most days will see me employ many of the skill sets learnt along the way such as acquisitions, accounting, management, administration, contract and licence negotiation, problem solving, web work, cataloguing, networking, marketing, training, applying IT and network skills for database and system diagnostics, and of course trying to attain and balance political savyy and patience. I have discovered over the years that I love problem solving – which is just as well as often this is a large slice of what I do.
In my current role I get to deal with many people including students, staff, publishers, vendors, and consortiums. One of the greatest challenges of all of these roles comes back to trying to make every dollar count; to try and find the best deals for products and services with regards to journals and journal databases across the teaching and research spectrums, and in doing so, help the Library support UNE endeavours as best as resources and finances will allow.
Of your contributions to or achievements at UNE, what are you most proud of?
Personally and professionally, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunities to achieve lots of things, big and small.
There have been achievements in education; being involved with the UNE/ACAE/Lismore amalgamation (in what seems like a hundred years ago now); and being one of the primary key players right from the outset, responsible for Dixson Library’s ever growing electronic resources. (I wish I had have had access to such resources and technology when I was studying!) I can now add to that list my involvement in helping to establish ‘Summon’ at the library.
But perhaps my proudest moment, personally and professionally was a few years ago when library and academic staff (past and present), students and friends, came together and pitched in with donations of money, time, materials and effort and made a small miracle happen for a dying colleague.
Working side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder, a new bathroom was built, repairs made, a kitchen renovated and the garden backyard blitzed by dozens and dozens of people coming together to help out a mate. This perhaps, above all to date, is one of my proudest moments where, for one brief moment in time, the power of love and friendship knew no bounds.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I am involved with an outstanding team of people in establishing “Summon” – the library’s new discovery layer tool. This herald’s an exciting time of resource discovery and access.
If you haven’t already seen it, do yourself a favour and check out the Library home page! I am confident all our users will love it. It’s simple and easy to use. If any help is needed or if anyone wants to know more, library staff are always here and happy to help.
What is your favourite place in the world and why?
I have a favourite fishing rock at Port Macquarie that I can cheerfully spend hours and hours of chill out time on. My specialty is walking away with a numb bum, horrendously smelling fishy clothes and the occasional tale of (nearly) catching a “whopper”.
Failing that, my favorite place is cheerfully being ensconced in my ‘shed’ on the farm in the beautiful New England.
I like seeing and going to new places, but quite simply, I love where I live.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
I have received lots of sagely advice, but the two I try to live by is:
Never do any harm – it comes back three fold!
And life’s too short to only eat hot cross buns at Easter.
What is something about yourself that most of your colleagues wouldn’t know?
Far too many things to mention!
Life should always be a little bit mysterious
For former profiled staff check the archives, or scroll down for previous posts. If you know of someone whose accomplishments should be made known to the greater university community, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can do.