ALIA WordPress Blog GLAMR Interview – Alex Dupriez

In November, Kate Davis, ALIA Students and New Graduates Social Media Coordinator (WordPress Blog) interviewed Alex Dupriez for the blog’s second GLAMR Professional Profile Interview.

Alex is a new professional in the LIS sector, who currently works as a Library Services Officer at Brisbane’s Griffith University. Alex also sits on the New Generation Advisory Committee with ALIA. Known online as the Swordfighting Librarian, you can connect with Alex via his Twitter: @Alex__Dupriez

I have quite a diverse background. I’ve always been drawn to the library, art, museum, and general GLAMR side of things, but I didn’t realise there was a designated path to get into libraries. I initially wanted to go to university but was unsuccessful in getting in, so I couldn’t learn via that pathway. I was a tradie for a while and happened to also be doing data collection for native frogs at the time, and I found I really enjoyed it! Not long after that, we had the bushfires, so I had to find a new industry. I thought okay, I’ve always been interested in art, I’ve always been good at art, so I’ll go into that.

As I was finishing up my Certificate of Arts, I was signing up to do a Diploma of Visual Arts at a booth, and one of my friends mentioned they were there doing stuff for libraries. I actually remember just before I went into a trade, I was going into the library every day for a year, and I had asked the librarian how to get into library work. They’d said I needed a master’s degree, which wasn’t accessible to me at that point. But on this day, I thought considering how much time I’ve been spending time in libraries over the past few years, that would be ideal. So last minute, I was quite literally signing up to do a Diploma of Arts and asked if I could change. I switched right then, got to the orientation session half an hour late, and here I am now!

I am someone that has multiple disabilities; I am autistic and have ADHD, so I have to be able to work in an environment that will work with that. One of the things I’ve always really liked is categorising things and analysing them, organisation – I’d do that for free forever! But I’m also incredibly sound-sensitive, so working somewhere in retail wasn’t an option. I knew I needed something that I’d be able to sustain my therapy as well and find an environment I was able to thrive in and one that would be able to work well with what I have.

A lot of ways that libraries are built to work, I happen to be built to match really well. I rarely run out of things to do, because if I’ve somehow done all the work for the day, it means I can go into the collection and organise, and I get praised for it! I used to do this for free for years! I’m lucky enough at Griffith too, the way they set up the timetables works well for me. Every hour is a different task and that’s exactly how my brain works with everything – it’s a match made in heaven.

I would say customer service, especially under pressure. If it’s something that is potentially timed or something that I’m not fully familiar with, it’s always been one of my weaker spots. But it is something I’m constantly working on.

In my case, particularly with ADHD, I constantly need to do multiple things at once; if I’m not, I feel like I’m not doing enough. When I’m doing document delivery, scanning, and interlibrary loans, if the item Is about a topic I’m interested in (especially history), I’m sitting there learning things. I didn’t go to university, but I now have access to academic documents that could be furthering my interests, while also doing my job. I’ve got a background in visual arts, so using programs to scan everything is fast and repetitive for me, which I love.

Quite literally I’ve just come out of that neck of the woods, in April. When I was finding my placement, we were advised to start looking 2 months prior, but I recommend doing it as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the beginning of your course because particularly post-covid, placements are much harder to find than before. Some places are also more selective. When I started looking, I thought I’d try my local public library, but at that point, they weren’t taking placements or recruiting, indefinitely. When I was looking, I was flexible enough to be willing to take on anything within a 150km radius. At that point, only 5 places were taking any placements within that radius; most were already booked out 6 months in advance.

The only reason I got a placement is that I went back to my primary school to ask if I could do my placement with them. If there’s a school that you’re familiar with, take that opportunity. Otherwise, look into libraries that aren’t obvious; even if you have experience in other areas, medical libraries are always an option. Legal libraries as well, museums, and art galleries, all have libraries.

When I was job searching, in almost every single interview I did, I was told, you’ve got good experience, background and study, but you are the number 2 candidate. So, I thought I’d see what ALIA had that I could use to try and get myself more involved in the industry, to give myself that edge to get me over the finish line. At the same time, I was also doing a lot of other volunteering stuff. I saw that the New Generation Advisory Committee was looking for new people, so I applied. I thought the worst that could happen is they’d say no, but they wanted me to join on!

From there, I thought I’m going to take this opportunity; everything that I had to jump over in terms of hurdles in trying to find employment, I’m going to try and give all that information that I wish I had known to everyone that I do know now. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since! I enjoy helping people, but now I’ve got a title and backing to do it!

One of the things I like is surprisingly how well-spread out the sector is, with connections to other industries. Almost any other industry you work in can be transferred to libraries or GLAMR in some way, shape or form. Another thing I enjoy is how integral to the community the sector is, especially if you’re someone who enjoys helping people, likes being informed on current events, or enjoys expanding your knowledge. Libraries and GLAMR all connect in that sense. There’s almost always continuous self-development as well as industry development, and always being connected with everything. Then you can have more of a focus on particular aspects; you can be as widespread or as niche, as you want, and there will almost always be a way to pursue that within the GLAMR sector.

I recommend while you’re studying if you have to opportunity to do volunteering in any way, do it before your placement. Some places, like the Salvation Army, might need volunteers for archiving or cataloguing; snap those up as much as you can! Once you get your foot in the door, you’re pretty set, but the first step is always the hardest. If you can get yourself that nudge further, sometimes that’s just what you need to get the edge over someone else.

Also, help people out. Do the best you can for yourself but help others out. Libraries are a lot smaller than other industries, and the word does spread quickly. Eventually, everyone knows everyone, so little acts of kindness do end up going a long way, and people do remember that years down the line.

A huge thank you to Alex for sitting down with us for the interview!


GLAMR Professional Profile!

Join the ALIA SNGG WordPress Blog, on Monday 28th of November, for a brand new GLAMR Professional Profile Interview.

ALIA Students and New Graduates Group Social Media Coordinator (WordPress Blog) Kate Davis interviewed Alex Dupriez, Library Services Officer at Griffith University, and NGAC member!

Learn about Alex’s journey into librarianship and his advice for students and new graduates.

ALIA WordPress Blog GLAMR Interview – Nell Fraser, Library Coordinator at Melbourne Art Library.

This November we share our first ALIA WordPress Blog GLAMR Professional Profile Interview.

In October, ALIA Students and New Graduates Group, Social Media Coordinator (Twitter) Rhodora Spring (AALIA) interviewed Nell Fraser, Library Coordinator from the Melbourne Art Library.

📚 Question 1:

How did you begin your journey into librarianship, what did you graduate from?

I came to librarianship from a background and interest working with social history collections and museums. My first professional job was working in the digitisation team at the National Library, which gave me an introduction into how a large library functions and the different roles that go into a library on that scale. Later, I had a short tenure (filling in for long service leave) at the Research Library of the National Museum. Compared to the size of the National Library, I loved working in a very small team at the Museum, which was responsible for all aspects of running the library and caring for the library collection. I had a wonderful supervisor who helped me develop a lot of librarianship skills on the job and made me consider a career in librarianship. Following this, I studied and graduated from the Graduate Diploma of Information Management at the University of South Australia.

📚 Question 2:

What skills or characteristics have been most important to you in your career, and how did you develop them?

I haven’t thought about myself as having a librarianship career or even a career. I just do things that I am passionate about.

📚 Question 3:

You are the founder of the Melbourne Art Library. How did you feel launching MAL as a brand new non-for profit in the city during the Melbourne lockdown in October 2020?

The importance of sharing and shared resources became more important than ever – sharing support, sharing stories, and sharing. MAL began not because I was interested in running a specialist library, necessarily, but because I was astounded that such a service didn’t already exist and thought it was a vital gap to fill.

📚 Question 4:

MAL is a volunteer-run organisation. How does MAL support volunteers with Information Management skills?

Hopefully it’s an opportunity for people to follow their interests and contribute to a collective project, rather than being stuck in a particular role.

📚 Question 5:

What is the best part about the MAL collection?

Our small but growing collection of artist books from local artists. It’s great when people come into MAL with books that they’ve handcrafted or authored.

📚 Question 6:

What advice do you have for GLAMR students and new professionals interested in a library career?

Follow your interests, don’t think about it as a career.

Thank you to Nell for the interview!

📌If you have any questions about MAL send them to Nell at:

📌Visit in person:

Melbourne Art Library

619/37 Swanston St, Nicholas Building, Melbourne



LinkedIn: Melbourne Art Library

Facebook: Melbourne Art Library

Instagram: Melbourne Art Library, Naarm

#GLAMR #SpecialLibraries #Victoria #ALIASNGG #ALIASNGGWordPress #GLAMRProfessionalProfile

Photo by Rhodora Spring (2022) ©️

Photo by Rhodora Spring (2022) ©️


Nell Fraser, the Library Coordinator at the Melbourne Art Library, is sitting next to a window and bookshelf at the Melbourne Art Library. She is smiling, reading a book from the MAL collection.

📌Join the ALIA SNGG WordPress Blog, on Monday 31st of October, for a brand new GLAMR Professional Profile Interview.

ALIA Students and New Graduates Group Social Media Coordinator (Twitter) Rhodora Spring (AALIA) interviewed Nell Fraser, Library Coordinator from The Melbourne Art Library.

Learn about Nell’s journey into librarianship and the Melbourne Art Library.

#ALIASNGG #GLAMR #GLAMRProfessionalProfile #SpecialLibraries

GLAMR Professional Profile – Annette Messell

Annette Messell

Our next professional profile focusses on the other fantastic Co-Convenor of the ALIA Students and New Graduates Group – Annette Messell. Annette currently works as a Learning and Teaching Services Librarian at the University of New England. In this interview, Annette explains her roundabout journey into librarianship, the importance of creativity in the LIS profession and opportunities to connect with cultural institutions online.

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