Welcoming our new President Elect – Claire Sewell

At SLA Europe, we are delighted to end another year with an excellent leadership team and events catalogue for 2020, especially in consideration of our “new normal” and shift to online spaces.

As our 2021 President Elect Amy Stubbing moves to take on the mantle of SLA Europe President from our 2020 President Seema Rampersad, we are thrilled to announce our new President Elect for 2022, Claire Sewell. Whilst also the published author of The No-nonsense Guide to Research Support and Scholarly Communication, Claire has actively volunteered with SLA Europe as our Conference Coordinator with SLA HQ and was part of the programme committee for our first Conference in 2019.

See Claire’s interview below to learn more about her and what she hopes to achieve as our new President-Elect: 

Tell us how you started off in the information profession? 

Although I’d always enjoyed using libraries as a child and later as a student I didn’t think seriously about them as a career option until I was almost ready to graduate. I read history as an undergraduate and spent a lot of time in the library doing research which helped me to realise that this was an environment I wanted to work in. I attended a class on searching this thing called the internet (I am THAT old) and realised this skill set was actually a good fit for my interests. I’m lucky that I live in Cambridge which has many libraries to choose from and shortly after graduation I landed a temporary role at the University Library. Eighteen years later I still work there (albeit in a different building).

How did you first get involved in SLA and why? 

I first heard about SLA when I started to become professionally active on Twitter and read about the ECCA awards. As a student at the time I applied but was unfortunately unsuccessful. I applied several times after that with the same result and at some point the Board must have got fed up with hearing from me and offered me a position as Conference Coordinator! This seemed like a good chance to get more involved in the organisation and learn about how it worked from the inside so I said yes and have been doing the role for the last three years.

Why SLA? 

Although I’ve always been professionally active, much of this activity has been focused on academic librarianship. Of course SLA has an academic community but it also covers a vast range of other library sectors which has really opened my eyes to different ways of working. It has also helped to offer me a truly international perspective on librarianship, something which has come in handy as I work with students and academics who come from all over the world to study in Cambridge. 

What are your plans for the coming year? 

Firstly I want to take time to learn as much as I can about both SLA Europe and its place in the wider organisation so I’m planning to spend a lot of time talking to the current presidential team. I also want to think about how I can make the best of my time in my forthcoming role(s) so I’ll be doing a lot of research into what the membership wants from the organisation. Finally I want to make sure I use the next year to develop my confidence in my own leadership abilities so that I continue to ensure SLA Europe is a successful organisation.