To celebrate Cambridge Core’s first birthday, we have launched, Librarian Perspectives, a series of interviews with librarians from around the world. We will talk about innovative projects, a typical librarian day, and the future of libraries in education.

In this interview, we feature Ángela María Mejía Gutiérrez, Library System Director at the University of the Andes (Universidad de los Andes), in Bogotá, Colombia.

 

Q: What is the role of libraries in your country?

A: Libraries in Colombia have the challenge of evolving, of being transformed every day to address the needs of their users, adapting to their environment and the national reality.

They must be an important part of their community, to

boost development, offering spaces and tools that make it easy to access information. They must promote learning, know

ledge creation, research, innovation and collaboration.

The library itself must be an inspiring element to those who want to dream and achieve their life projects through information.

 

Q: How does a typical work day look for you?

A: I arrive in the morning, check my day’s schedule and email and any physical correspondence. I manage the answers and attend any meeting scheduled for the day.

I then take a tour through the libraries to talk with officials, check how service is going, and how busy with attendees each library is. During my tour, I interact with users, and according to what they allow me to learn from how they experience our service, we look for things to improve at the physical plant level as well as in processes and services.

After that I make a general review of the budget execution and the purchases being made, in order to make the necessary releases in accordance to the established amounts and policies of the University.

I also participate in the internal committees with other areas of the institution, in which we check cooperative projects and we establish the agreements in which the library can be a support. We also establish which of our projects need support from other areas of our institution.

I am a member of some committees or events organized by other external institutions and suppliers. There, I receive updates on trends regarding library services, resources, and management. From this information, we establish actions to better the processes and services of the library.

 

Q: Does your library have any special projects you want to tell us about?

A: We are currently participating in an institutional project called Centro Cívico Universitario, that tries to be a space of integration with the center of the city, its dynamism and transformation. It also tries to be an interaction space among students, teachers and researchers.

This urbanistic project contemplates a 25.000 square meters and an infrastructure that will bring new cultural and academic stage to the city, including a Public-University Library, an experimental theater (Black Box), an exhibition space, and a bookstore.

 

Q: What will be the role of your library in the next 10 years?

A: The role of our library in the next 10 years will be geared towards supporting the university’s strategic axes:

  • Academic Leadership
  • Impact and Visibility
  • Institutional Community and Culture
  • Institutional Viability and Effectiveness
  • Efficient and Flexible Physical Infrastructure

To become a leader university, a reference in Latin American Higher Education, guided by the principles of inclusive, diverse, solidarity, innovative and international excellence.  To have links with different regions, and contribute with society due to the relevance and quality of its teaching and research/creation, as well as supporting the achievement of our objectives as an institution, which are:

  • Greater national impact: regional presence and inclusion
  • Internationalization with a strategic sense for the university and the country
  • Interdisciplinary and collaborative work as a means to add value and innovate

 

Q: What would you like to ask the next librarian we interview?
A:
More than asking, I would like to invite him or her to reflect, to see our profession as a differentiating element. We are lucky to have this craft, to have within our hands the responsibility of transforming realities based on our management, and from our ideas, from our doing.

I would simply ask: What do you do day after day to transform realities from your tasks/work?

 

Don’t miss our next interview, with Erik Alonso García Arellano, Collection Development Coordinator at the Santa Fe Library, at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey), Santa Fe Campus, in Mexico City.

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