Dr Sue Reynolds shares her passion for investigating the context in which information management exists and addressing how it is rapidly transforming in her teaching.
Dr Reynolds has participated in funded research projects, received numerous accolades recognising her contributions to research and teaching and produced many publications throughout her career.
What is your current research and teaching focus?
My research and teaching practice complement each other as I explore how the information professions can nurture and develop our recent graduates when they leave the university. The information management programs at RMIT are underpinned by a philosophy of developing a passion for the profession through our teaching and modelling of such passion.
Another focus of both my research and teaching is the idea of developing information professionals who are ‘good citizens’. This involves encouraging students to support their peers at university and developing this into the idea of contributing for the good of the profession and employing organisations.
I am also a library historian and am writing a history of the teaching of librarianship and information management at RMIT. The program has been going for over 50 years!
What is your approach in your work?
Curiosity is an attribute which serves information professionals well and which leads me, as an information professional myself, to investigate all kinds of activities related to my teaching and research. I like to start at a point of inspiration related to the library and information discipline and then follow wherever it leads to produce new understandings.
Explain the impact of your research, who can learn from it and how?
My interest in library history is useful in informing both my teaching and research. Understanding the traditions and context which underpin the discipline gives depth to my teaching. In turn, this can instil in the students a sense of the wider social and historical forces which contribute to the profession and an understanding of the core values and roles of information professionals.
In a wider sense, history can be applied as "organisational intelligence" to transform current practices and thus strategically and culturally inform the future of information organisations.
Have there been any unexpected outcomes from your research? How did this come about?
An unexpected result of my doctoral research has been the publication of my thesis as Books for the Profession: The Library of the Supreme Court of Victoria (Australian Scholarly, 2012) to celebrate 150 years of the library.
This in turn led to a commissioned chapter on the buildings of the Supreme Court published in Judging for the People: A Social History of the Supreme Court in Victoria 1841-2016 (Simon Smith, editor, Allen & Unwin, 2016) to mark 175 years of the court in Victoria. It has been rewarding to work and develop relationships with other researchers in both library and legal history that have led to further research opportunities.
What has been the proudest moment in your research or teaching career so far?
What I love most about teaching is seeing students develop during their studies at RMIT and then seeing them in action as accomplished and successful practising professionals in the information sector.
I was also very proud to be the first non-American to win the American Library Association's Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award.
Story: Monaliza Platini