Early Career Conference Awards – Interview with Dani Stubbs

This is the third in a series of interviews with each of our Early Career Conference Award (ECCA) winners for 2022. In these blog posts our winners will tell us more about why they applied for the award, and what they are looking forward to at the conference, being held in Charlotte, North Carolina this summer.

Dani Stubbs

Our third interview is with Dani Stubbs, Library User Services Coordinator at Imperial College London Library. Dani’s award is sponsored by SLA Europe.

Why did you pursue a LIS career?

I read Philosophy at University and specialised in Epistemology (The Theory of Knowledge). I dedicated years to analysing and writing about the societal concepts of truth, falsity, reliability and accuracy of information. I have always been fascinated in how society treats news, weighs up facts against false statements, and judges who or what knowledge platforms to trust. I decided I wanted to help students to learn essential knowledge-seeking skills which they could firstly utilise to complete coursework, and secondly could apply to their lives and/or careers once they have left university. 

Can you tell us about your career so far?

After graduating from the Philosophy MA course, I jumped into a couple of library internships. The first was in an RHS horticultural library and the second was in a HE (Higher Education) institution in the UK. I swiftly decided HE was the environment for me and have stuck to this ever since. I have completed a number of temporary contracts in different UK HE institutions over the years. I started working initially in the Collections/Acquisitions divisions, and then switched to User Services a few years ago. 

I was eventually persuaded to study for the library qualification last year, when I realised this would aid my progression from Assistant posts to supervisory roles with line-management responsibilities. After finishing the course in Sheffield, I took a risk and signed for a maternity cover Coordinator post at Imperial College London. This was the pivotal point in my career that allowed me to gain valuable line-management experience and take additional responsibilities for a team. It also allowed me to contribute to service improvement and innovation in greater depth. I met some amazing people whilst in this role and had such an inspiring line manager. I consequently built up the courage to start Chartership, start volunteering with a library charity outside of work, and soon after, apply for the permanent Coordinator post. 

Why did you decide to apply for an ECCA with the academic community?

I thought it would be a good opportunity to further my knowledge of the wider sector, developing trends and hot topics, that I can hopefully bring back to my workplace and put into practice. Secondly, I thought that this would provide a key opportunity to network in the wider LIS sector, potentially with other information professionals from across the globe. I hope this would provide fresh insights into other (potentially more efficient or innovative) ways of working within HE libraries. I would also like the opportunity to volunteer with SLA Europe after the conference, in order to further my awareness of the wider LIS sector.

What are you most looking forward to about SLA annual conference?

Learning about different approaches to innovation within libraries across the globe. I would like to hear about other innovative ideas and projects happening across the HE library sector, and would be interested to network with other HE librarians, with the goal to collaborate and reciprocally improve our library services. It would be great to hear about ways to lead staff through these evolutions. 

Which sessions/speakers on the programme are you most excited about?

I am fascinated by change management so I will definitely sign up for the ‘Change Management for Information Professionals’ session. Also, I hope to attend Mary Bates’ session on ‘The Resilient Info Professionals’. Strategic planning for the future, and also developing library roles that allow for an amount of continuing professional development and a variety of ongoing opportunities, is I think crucial for any team or collegial relationship. I would love to see Mary’s take on this.