Friday, February 12, 2016

Profile: Caddie Brain

For library lovers month this February ALIA Top End are showing profiles of people working in the library and information industry. Today we hear from Caddie Brain the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Northern Territory Library.

What other roles did you have before working in libraries?

My journey to libraries was through journalism! I came to the Northern Territory as a radio reporter for the ABC in Alice Springs. It was wild. I spent lots of time meeting incredible characters on cattle stations, in Indigenous communities, roadhouses and small towns. I was intrigued by Territory history and was drawn to the many incredible collections held by the museums and libraries here – many of which are being documented and displayed for the first time. I love the idea of using social media and storytelling to connect people to their own histories. In all the fields I’ve worked – web design, journalism, museums and now libraries – information, storytelling and change have been the constant elements.

What would you tell someone who is interested in working in libraries?

People really love libraries, so you get to work with that love. And working with collections - rare and precious maps, photos and manuscripts - is fascinating. If you love history, reading, storytelling, meeting interesting and super-skilled people (and, in a place like Darwin, air-conditioning) - libraries are for you! And you don’t have to be a librarian to make a contribution.

Tell us about one project that you are working on now?

It can be tricky finding good historical information about the Northern Territory online, particularly on Wikipedia, which is often the entry point for people who are new to a subject. The knowledge is out there and there has been lots of incredible research done, but there are big gaps on Wikipedia. I’m laying the groundwork at the moment to launch a Wikiclub soon at the Northern Territory Library. It will undertake regular edit-a-thons to update significant Territory people, places and events. It should be great fun and valuable too!

What do you think will change about libraries over the next five years?

There will be big changes as libraries bounce back from the challenges thrown at them by technology. I think you will see the rise of outward-looking libraries with stronger online presences, offering dynamic public programs that lead people to a new understanding of where the library fits into their world. Part of that is also about creating interesting spaces and making collections accessible in intriguing ways. But while we’ll see plenty of change, there will still be a place for those magical meetings between a member of the public and a librarian, as they discuss, research and discover a topic together.

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