Welcome to our new format professional profiles where we ask budding young professionals about their experiences studying, working and gaining experience in the GLAMR industries.
This month we speak with Fang Zhao, reference librarian from the NSW Law Courts Library. After graduating from UTS with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Information Management) he quickly found contract work in government libraries. Since then, he has worked his way up and down Macquarie Street at some of the finest special libraries in the state!
What did you wish you knew before entering the library and information industry?I wish I knew earlier on that you don’t need a law degree to become a law librarian. We may work with the law, but we are not lawyers. We’re lucky enough to work with some incredible individuals and amazing historical material. You also gain insight into the importance of law in maintaining fairness in society. Legal research may seem boring, but when you consider that law is often a representation of societal norms and expectations, legal research turns into a fascinating dig through the pages of history. I want to point out that, no matter the area of specialty, our jobs as library staff are still to curate the information and find pinpoint references within an ocean of data.
What advice would you give students and new graduates starting out in the industry?
Get your hands dirty, don’t be afraid to do the odd job that isn’t in your job title. It’s a great way to learn new skills, work with new people and get a new perspective on the workings of the library. Being able to see the bigger picture will help with more creative and efficient ways of working, plus you’ll probably make some friends along the way. Pay attention to your colleagues, they may not always have time to teach you everything, but you can learn through observation as well. I feel I’m repeating what many others have already said, but it is extremely important to always be actively learning.
You can find Fang Tweeting at @chinese_leek