Get to Know Your 2019-2021 Council Members: Zubaidah Mohsen

Zubaidah is the newly appointed Programmes and Engagement Committee Chair.


What is your vision/aspiration for LAS as Programmes & Engagement Chair for 2019-2021?

I would like to organise events and learning journeys that help give us a wider perspective of what is available beyond our own sphere of work and to gel the different librarians across public, academic, special and niche libraries. This will help us build a better community that can tap on one another and hopefully move the profession forward. This year, the committee’s name has also changed from ‘Programmes and Social‘ to ‘Programmes and Engagement‘. I see my role not just to build bridges among librarians locally but regionally as well.

What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?

Stretches and Prayers, for my body and soul. 🙂 
These get me going and start the day right. Although I must say that most days I still need a little more, such as that caffeine fix in the early morning 🙂

What characteristic do you most admire in other librarians?

Passion – The librarians that I have come across are passionate people. In my long, more than two-decade career in librarianship, I have met librarians who were full of energy and strove to stay positive and passionate in their area of expertise. They truly believe the need to adapt and learn new things in order to keep librarianship alive. Most believe that “Librarian” is the designation we best identify with. Any other name is just that – another name. Because deep down, these passionate people that I’ve been fortunate to meet know their roles very well and are librarians at heart.
Perseverance – well because no matter what new things come up, librarians will adapt and match the change.
Another “P” I admire in librarians, is Persistence. Be it solving a problem or answering an enquiry, librarians will go all the way to find that solution, or the most credible and authentic source they can find.

What made you interested in joining LAS and now the Council?

It’s payback time. I have been a librarian for more than 2 decades. However, it was only about 5 years ago that I committed myself to join LAS. It’s the best time for me to give back to the librarians’ community.

I was given a chance to be on the PDS Board and be part of the organising committee for the ‘Smart Libraries for Tomorrow’ Conference. And a light bulb was lit. I have always believed in the importance of training & development for librarians, hence my decision to join a committee that focuses on that first. I believe I can somewhat contribute to the development of other librarians. While I believe in lifelong learning and enjoy learning new things, joining the Council enables me to make a change for others. I enjoy my work, even with its trials and tribulations. I am also trained in many different areas. I must say I have done many different things and play different roles within the Public Library. I believe there is something to learn from supervisors, colleagues and new staff, and strive to stay positive as much as I can. There is always a silver lining in any situation. Being in the Council provides me with the chance to represent the librarians and be the voice to speak for the rest. My varied experience will help me contribute to the Council, and in turn this will help the profession.

What is the most engaging part of the work you do as part of your committee?

We get to do both the fun bit and the serious stuff. This committee gives us the opportunity to network with other librarians, the opportunity to see how we could build a connection for librarians across all libraries and to learn from the broader industry as well. Having fun while learning is the best way to learn. And while doing so, you get to meet others who you would not otherwise had the opportunity to meet or work with. This is the networking part that we are helping others to gain from. I know my team members are busy people, yet they are putting aside time whenever it’s needed to do the committee work. They are truly committed and supportive. I would urge all LAS members to check out the activities that we have lined up for them and join the activities. 🙂


Interview questions prepared by Edward LimHe is the Reference and Research Services Librarian for Business at New York University Shanghai and a member of the LAS Training and Development Committee.