:: Dialogue with a Librarian Series ::

“… learning the art of not giving advice, instead, asking questions”

Dipti Vora, Subject Librarian at Unitec Institute of Technology. Her professional interests are health research, Open Education Resources and use of Social Media in research.

Librarians are an integral part of campus life, be it online or offline. Their reassuring presence is what anchor us down in the deep sea of knowledge and they are always able to guide us in the right direction. In our “Dialogue with a Librarian” series, we are privileged to feature librarians across Asia Pacific, giving you a peek into their work and life through a Q&A format.

Dipti Vora, is a Subject Librarian at Unitec Institute of Technology. Her focus areas are Health, Social Sciences and Education academic liaison, student support and collection development. Having worked in Special and Public Libraries previously, Dipti is now working as a Subject Librarian at Unitec Institute of Technology in the Land of the Long White Cloud. She works with a team of excellent librarians who inspire and motivate her to do better. Furthermore, she is also a registered member of Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) – an organization that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Dipti’s professional interests are health research, Open Education Resources and use of Social Media in research.

What made you choose being a librarian as your career?

More than me choosing the profession, I reckon the profession chose me. Mine was more like an arranged marriage. Passion and love for the profession came after finishing my qualification.

What continues to drive you to be a librarian today?

There are 2 reasons why I am passionate about my profession
1) I feel like a Boolean operator connecting my library patrons to the right information in the world of misinformation and disinformation
2) It opens so many doors to my own learning in assisting others

What’s the most memorable thing you had being a librarian?

Being awarded Excellence in Support by my organisation, recognising my contribution as a librarian in 2018.

Which aspects of being a librarian do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy assisting my staff and students with their research. Finding relevant information for them makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes.

What do you find most challenging about being a librarian?

Having to constantly prove my relevance as a librarian is the most challenging thing for me. Libraries and librarians have existed even in Egyptian civilisation and are more relevant than ever.

What is a common misconception of a librarian that you want to change and how do you feel about it?

A very frustrating misconception is “so you deal with books.” There is so much more we do.

What is the weirdest request you have received so far?

Working in a public library I had this patron come in every week just before closing time and made me search for a random small business in a new country and print their address.

If you have a magic wand, and you can change anything you want, what would you want to change in the library?

I would educate one and all on the importance and relevance of libraries and librarians. As an academic librarian I would embed information literacy into all programs.

What skills do you think librarians/aspiring librarians need to have to continue in this profession?

Some of the skills for librarians of today and tomorrow are digital literacy, innovation, managing change, communication and negotiation skills.

What sort of advice would you give to new librarians who just joined?

The new librarians are very smart and technology savvy. They are very well equipped to tread the path of librarianship.

If you can go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to persevere and trust your intuition. You know yourself better than anyone else and hang in there. The future is beautiful.

What is your favorite spot in the library?

Behind my desk exploring the world of academia for my staff and students or in a class running information literacy skills sessions.

What is your favourite book/article and why?

My favourite book is The Story of My Experiments with Truth: An Autobiography by Mahatma Gandhi. It teaches me that mistakes we make in life are a learning experience that help you in raising your moral and ethical standards.

What do you enjoy most when you are not working?

Being with my family, pottering around the house or in the garden.

What are 3 words that your colleagues will use to describe you?

There are many but the ones I like the most are confident, caring & honest.

Any advice you would like to share with our readers?

I am learning the art of not giving advice, instead, asking questions like my favourite philosopher, Socrates.

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