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Q&A with Mel Phillips, Librarian Technician

1. Where were you before this and what persuaded you to join Concordia College?

I was working as Librarian at Immanuel College where I’d been for a few years. The opportunity came up here to work with the Teacher Librarian, Hajnalka Molloy, who has been a great mentor since I met her when I volunteered at the primary school library she was working at back then. I have always wanted to work with her, and the opportunity seemed too good to let it slip by without going for it! It’s been the right move, working with Hajnalka and my other colleague, Karen, has been great. I’m able to contribute my expertise in a number of areas, such as YA fiction, graphic novels and manga and LibPaths, as well as learn and grow in some new ones, which is something I enjoy. We’ve introduced a number of new projects and concepts into the library here at Concordia, and we’re working really hard on preparing for Book Week in Week 5 – lots of activities, prizes, games and more! (I think we’ll all collapse after Book Week…)

2. Three words to describe you.

Friendly, helpful, pin and earring obsessed!

3. What is your motivation or inspiration in your role?

I simply love it. Becoming a librarian was my dream when I started volunteering at the Clare Public Library when I was young, but I put it aside when we moved to the city and pursued other fields (childcare then administration). I finally decided to follow my dream and went back to study, completing my post graduate studies in 2020 with my Graduate Diploma in Information Management (Library and Information Management). What motivates me is my love of reading, how much I enjoy helping people and the ability to combine the two by helping people find a great book, or to conduct research for an assignment, or to simply talk about books, animals or how things are going. Reading is so important and provides more than the acknowledged literary benefits, including improved reading skills which help across all areas of the curriculum – it’s also a wonderful escape, a way to connect with others through a variety of ways, including book clubs (we are looking to start one in the library!). I could honestly talk libraries, books, reading and all things related for days. In fact, you should ask me about my book-related pins and earrings if you visit the library!

4. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I’ve actually thought of this – invisibility that extends to what I’m holding but I can still see it. That way I could read undisturbed whenever I wanted!! Imagine not having a family member interrupt your reading just to show you a new meme or video on YouTube, or ask when dinner is. It would be brilliant. I can just imagine the peace – and how much reading I’d get done! That being said, I’ve still managed to read 92 books so far this year.

5. Who would you invite to a dinner party of six guests and why? Alternatively, tell us something you might like to share that we could not possibly know?

Actually, you might not know that I review books that are pre-release and new release books and the reviews go online and into the SAETA (South Australia English Teachers Association) journal. Through this, I was asked to fill in a short term vacancy that the Premiers Reading Challenge (PRC) Reading List Board had, from December 2021 to May 2022. I have now been asked to stay on as a permanent member of the PRC board, which is such an honour! The decision process is well thought out and no book is added without being read and analysed. It’s really exciting to be a part of the process, and to be able to talk to students about the books on the PRC list that I’ve added – it’s amazing!