Susan Koskinen, Librarian, University of California, Berkeley, USA




What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far?

“Working smaller, quicker, leaner, more accurate in not enough time.”

What do you think will be your biggest challenges over the next five years?

“Managing data with faculty and students; preserving unique materials in formats for the future; staying ahead and keeping it interesting.”

What does the library of the future look like?

“There are many wizards who predict where technology is taking us. I received a gift of a 3-dimenionsal ‘print-out’ of Michelangelo’s statue of David. It was 11 inches high, fully formed and was printed ~ on a computer printer.”

How are social media and the growth of online communications changing the way you interact with your colleagues and library patrons?

“IM, chat reference, blogs, tweets, texting, smart phones, Facebook, websites, they all work together, the lines are blurred. People can reach me.”

What useful online resources/blogs/forums would you recommend to fellow librarians?

“E-science, personal blogs, the PAM Division and listserv, keep in touch with colleagues; stay active in professional societies and associations; support each other.”

How can librarians encourage students to visit the library?

“Students should understand that they need more…unique details, other avenues – don’t be one dimensional and appeal to their pace.”

What piece of advice would you pass on to new colleagues just starting their librarianship?

“Look at the skills you have acquired; take computer science, database creation and management, programing, and cataloging. If you enroll in an online program add to it with internships and in-person reference training, learn library activity. Follow your interests, it will show in your work. Join local chapters, attend events, get active.”

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a librarian?

“Questions with answers; working with colleagues and patrons, teaching research skills – beyond Google; staying current with the newest ideas.”

What was the last book you read and what do you recommend reading?

“I’m a boring reader, it has to be an escape for me; Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I read a lot of the books we receive in the library; I browse most of the new journals and review new titles constantly. I am always reading.”

What’s the one place you’ve always wanted to visit?

“CERN would be fun; and it is conveniently located near the ski slopes of Europe.”

If you could have any three guests to dinner who would they be?

“This is hard, there are so many; I’ll stick with Marie Curie for her persistence, Hilary Clinton for her resilience and Emily Dickinson for her ability to focus.”