Tuesday was a significant day for Library staff member Lisa Russell. It marked her 40th year working for UNE in a range of different positions – 13 to be exact. Pulse caught up with LIsa to learn more about her time at UNE. 

  • What was your first role/ at the UNE library and what was the standout feature of the Library in 1983?

My first role was typist, acquisitions and then inter library loans, typing book and serial orders on 7-part carbon copy stationery, and inter library loan forms, sending by airmail and telex (this was a special ‘thing’ back then).

The standout feature for the Library in 1983 was the official opening of the stage 3 extensions.  Everything was new, and especially the custom built AV studio in the basement of the library.  This included facilities for electronics repair, graphic artist services, a full photographic suite including multiple dark rooms, a soundproof broadcast booth, and a full production studio with commercial lighting equipment, used for both photography and video production.  The new extensions and facilities were promoted to take us through to the year 2000.

  • What does your current job entail?

My current title post Time for Change is Library Information Resources Coordinator.  My main responsibility is to ensure that scholarly resources are acquired and made available to our staff and students, and to provide analysis, support and maintenance for these resources.  I work a lot with licence agreements, and on electronic access and maintenance tasks, training and support.

  • What other jobs have you had over the years?

I’ve worked across pretty much all areas of the library, including monograph acquisitions, serials, inter library loans, technical and collection services, external library services, lending services, administration, reader services, library services (Faculty of Education Team), Stack Services, eReserve, as well as some project roles including a Quality Audit Project and the LMS Implementation Project.

  • How does the library of 1983 compare to the library of 2023?

I would describe the  Library of 2023 “the same but different” to the Library of 1983.  The building footprint is the same, however there would be around one quarter of the staff and less foot traffic.  Despite the online revolution, the library and its collections are still the heart of the university.  It is a safe and warm place for students to meet and study and receive support, whether that be in person or online.  Supporting UNE as the first distance education provider in Australia, the Library has always been there for students with resources and support.  I have spent many hours during my time at UNE on the External Students telephone service, as well as on service points, prior to implementation of the online systems and services that we currently have.

  • Where you ever tempted to apply for a completely different, non-librarian role, if yes, why?

My current role is more technical in nature.  I enjoy this much more than the traditional librarian-type roles that I have fulfilled in the past. I love things of a technical nature and I love to troubleshoot and problem solve.

  • Anything else you would like to share with Pulse?

The Library Team has always been a ‘tight’ family and have looked after each other and taken pride in the Library and its collections.  There have been many library floods during my time at UNE, however the 1997 library flood stands out.  Following a storm and heavy rain, the roof leaked (it has always leaked), however this time it was pretty catastrophic.  Staff were called in through the evening and worked all through the night in knee-deep water to salvage collections.  A commercial pump had to be brought in the remove the water.  Staff continued to work the next day on interleaving the pages of damaged volumes, mould assessment and sending items off to the college freezers to save the collections – a time-critical task.  The library continued to operate services during this time (the doors had to remain closed for safety reasons).  It was a great team to be a part of.

Things have changed, especially post-Covid and there are many other business services  coming in and out of the Library building.  The Library will always be the Library – the nucleus to everything that the University does and stands for.