I began work as a Reference Librarian at Curtin Library and Information Service at the start of 1997. I was part of a team of librarians who staffed the busy Information Desk in the TL Robertson Library. We helped staff and students find information and taught people how to use the catalogue and the new electronic indexing databases. At that time, databases were held on CDs loaded on a server in the library. When too many people tried to access a database, the system often crashed, to everyone’s frustration!
By the time I retired ten years later, databases included full-text journal articles, (not just abstracts), were hosted externally and accessible to hundreds of users at any time through the internet. Those ten years also saw a change in the TL Robertson Library building from a place centred on books and printed journals to lively study areas filled with computers. The Information Desk was largely replaced with SMS and Chat, online tutorials and guides.
Curtin Library took up the challenges of technology enthusiastically. It led the way in providing online resources and library staff were encouraged to think creatively about new ways of extending library services. For example, the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, established under University Librarian Vicki Williamson, digitised its archival collection and made it freely accessible online.
I was very fortunate to work with many talented and hardworking colleagues at Curtin Library and to have been involved in many of the technological advances in library services. We wanted to provide the best library service to academics and students, and I think we did it well!
Staff member at Curtin 1997 – 2007