After returning from Africa, I married, settled in East London, and had my son. About 20 years ago, I worked part-time at the Docklands Library, assisting students like me and my peers in West Philly with finding resources to support their studies. The part-time role enabled me to spend time with my young son while developing my management skills running the library services. As my son got older, I left University of East London to gain experience at other institutions around London then returned two years ago to take on the role of Director of Library, Archives and Learning Services. When I started the role, I was the only BAME director of an academic library in the UK; I am now one of two BAME directors with Masud Khokhar, Director of Library and Archives at University of York.
There is low representation of BAME staff in the library and information profession. This is problematic in the higher education sector, specifically, as students need and want to see people who look like them in the academic and professional services. I am working with professional societies to develop and support more BAME people into the library and information profession.
Modern libraries are about more than 'stamping books.' Roles include teaching information and digital literacy, advising academics and students, managing databases, analysing data, writing and developing online content, procuring resources, managing suppliers, organising and hosting events, leading and managing teams, managing digital and physical collections, managing physical buildings and more. More importantly, libraries are about enabling access to knowledge and information that can dare a child to dream and maybe change the world.
Regina Everitt is the Director of Library, Archives, and Learning Services at University of East London.