After 27 years in Melbourne, Australia, Kim Tairi was drawn home.
Kim, who has 20 years’ experience in the tertiary sector, is passionate about providing access to knowledge and learning. She was lured back by AUT’s passion, diversity and commitment to tika, pono and aroha.
“I’ve always worked for universities of technology. They tend to be younger, more nimble and not so traditional in their approach. You can get things done.
“And AUT is much more diverse than any other university I've worked for. We're a reflection of our community, and it’s one of the reasons I came back to Aotearoa New Zealand and chose AUT. My whānau are all in Melbourne, but I felt this is an organisation that has heart and the opportunity to try new things. I have no regrets about the move.”
Kim jokes that she used to be terrified of school librarians, and although times have changed she acknowledges ‘libraries are quite daunting places when you start at university’.
“In terms of our place in the community, it’s really important that we offer a great student experience to ensure that the library is a welcoming and engaging place.
“We’ve got great floor staff – our people are friendly. We have quite an involved recruitment process to get the right sort of people and we’re careful about who we put in those roles. It’s about openness. We’re here to support students’ journeys, just like the academics are.”
The future of libraries, Kim says, is about co-locating different services within an exciting, dynamic environment.
“Libraries are complex ecosystems. At AUT we have five different teams within the library, all doing different things. It’s a mix of cutting edge digital services as well as traditional library offerings.”
In 2017, with support from Student Services & Administration, they developed a radical new space within the library, and it's this cross-border collaboration that Kim loves.
"The ‘makerspace’ called Studio 55 is a space that encourages experiential, collaborative learning and co-working. The studio gives students and staff an idea of what it’s like to work in contemporary co-working spaces. We’re the first academic library in Aotearoa to have one, which is awesome.”