Profile: NSLA Office

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Photo, L to R: Aimee, Kate and Emma - the NSLA team
The NSLA team (L to R): Aimee, Kate and Emma

NSLA's small (but mighty) team of three works with the chief executives and subject matter experts of the national libraries of Australia and New Zealand, and Australia's state and territory libraries. The office is based at State Library Victoria.

What led you to work at NSLA?
Aimee Said, Web Coordinator

I’ve worked on the content side of websites since 1998, mainly in the arts and government. At the time the role with NSLA came up I had left my full-time job as content manager in a large organisation to focus on meeting a writing deadline, but without the structure of the working week to keep me in check I wasn’t getting much writing done. As you can imagine, libraries are pretty much every writer’s dream workplace so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

I started as NSLA's part-time Web Coordinator in August 2011, managing the website and online communications. I never thought I'd stay in one job for this long but NSLA is a very special organisation. Being part of a small team has presented opportunities to extend my role beyond the web, such as coordinating a number of the Digital Skills training programs, which keeps my job fresh and interesting.

Compared to Kate, I'm a NSLA newbie! She's been Executive Officer for more than 10 years, having previously worked at the State Library of New South Wales. Emma joined the team in 2016, moving from Learning Services at State Library Victoria where she worked in education programs.

What are you most looking forward to over the next six months?
Emma Reilly, Program Coordinator

Not that I have favourites, but I was so pleased to see the Indigenous cultural competency project on NSLA's business plan for 2018. The steering group has scoped the project and sees this as a significant opportunity to develop and implement strategies to strengthen cultural competency across our workforce, including knowledge and awareness of issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander library users of Australia's national, state and territory libraries.

I'm also working with colleagues across Australia to develop guidelines that will support the communities of practice to connect knowledge, understanding and expertise across the libraries. I'm looking forward to seeing the value that will be created through the opportunity to discuss common issues, share lessons and reflect on achievements with fellow specialists. It's great to be able to work across so many areas that make up our libraries and learn from leaders in the field.

To support the new business plan, including 2018 projects and communities of practice, Aimee will be leading the redevelopment of NSLA website, while Kate focuses on managing the National edeposit project.

What are your personal highlights working with NSLA?
Kate Irvine, Executive Officer

Working with so many great people across the libraries and in the GLAM sector is definitely my highlight – the CEOs, the project groups, communities of practice, and the wider GLAM Peak group. I love the big-picture thinking and the open productive ethos that leads to great outcomes.

Working for NSLA, I am very familiar with all the member libraries from Darwin to Wellington to Perth, and feel connected to and passionate about them all. I know where to find a good cup of coffee in every town, and a restaurant or two that is good for a group of ten who are tired after a long day of working together!

Out of so many NSLA projects there are three that I would like to particularly mention. Firstly, the significant pieces of survey and analysis work undertaken by specialist groups on heritage collections – Faster Access to Archival Collections (2010), Picturing the Future (2013), Mapping our Collections (2011), and the Obsolete Physical Carriers in NSLA Collections survey (2016). These are the first and only times NSLA libraries have taken detailed comparative snapshots of these valuable collections and begun to understand and learn from each other about how to improve specialist practices.

Secondly, the Digital Preservation project has had some great achievements but the most exciting work was the envisioning, project development, and searching for international partners to build the Digital Preservation Technical Registry. The National Library of New Zealand led this work, both the technical development and the funding bids, but the support from the Digital Preservation group and the NSLA CEOs was critical to properly exploring the options. This is not solved yet but hopefully will be in the next few years

And lastly, NED. The National edeposit (NED) project, now in Stage 3: Build and Implementation, is a major project for NSLA, built on years of thinking, planning, testing and the development of requirements so that it meets the needs of all nine Australian NSLA partners. During 2018 this will change from idea to reality - the first software testing begins in March and the service will launch for publisher deposit and public access in early 2019. Like Trove, NED will be a important piece of our national infrastructure for the long-term. Go NED!