I am ALA International Spotlight - Romany Manuell

I am ALA INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT is one of several new initiatives by ALA President 2018-2019 Loida Garcia-Febo to expand ALA’s global presence. By highlighting and recognizing talented international members from different regions around the world, ALA is truly a global association with a strong mission in supporting library workers and advocates. Each month, I am ALA INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT will feature a new international member who will share how ALA has supported their work and how they see the profession today. This month, we feature Romany Manuell, an academic librarian from Australia.

Romany Manuell-October ALA International Spotlight

Can you tell us about yourself and your work?

I’m the Subject Librarian for Art, Design and Architecture at Monash University Library in Australia. Monash University has about 70,000 students, but my faculty is one of the smaller ones. I also work at one of the smaller campuses - Caulfield. It’s a suburb that’s about 15 minutes outside the city of Melbourne.

I manage the collection for the faculty while at the same time running research and learning skills classes for students alongside a Learning Skills Adviser. We both pitch in when it comes to answering queries, making online teaching materials and thinking up strange games and activities to illustrate ideas!

I’m also a PhD candidate, but that is coming along very slowly, as I’m studying part-time and working full-time.

Why is it important to be a librarian today?

Things can feel pretty impersonal in the world today. Sometimes it seems as though everything is a financial transaction. Education has become a product for people to buy and sell. Librarians have the ability to humanise the research and learning process - in universities, and in other libraries too. Librarians are important because they can listen to what it is that people are really asking for. Sometimes, they’re just asking for connection.

Tell us three words that describe you?

Caring, thoughtful and subversive.

How has ALA helped you in your career?

Australia is still far away from the rest of the world! ALA keeps me connected with what’s going on in the United States and in other countries too. We have ALIA (the Australian Library and Information Association), but ALA is SO MUCH larger. I love being tapped into a massive network and to read the conversations that people are having half a world away via ALA Connect. Sometimes I borrow ideas for my own workplace, and other times it just reassures me that other librarians are having the same issues as we are having!

Are you an ALA international member? We want to recognize ALA’s international members; they are important to us. To be considered for the ALA International Member Spotlight, please fill out this short questionnaire.

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