Welcome to M25 SpeedMeet. Every month we meet someone working in an M25 member institution and ask them to tell us a little bit about themselves.
One of the three strategic themes of the M25 Strategic Plan 2019-2022 is connecting and collaborating through our network. Our aim is to provide a regional network whose members offer multiple perspectives which can inform decision making, and facilitate opportunities for networking and joint working on shared issues. What better way to do this than to meet?
If you’d like to feature in the M25 SpeedMeet, please contact email@example.com.
Who are you, where are you based and what do you do?
Russell Burke – I am an Assistant Librarian at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). We are a post-graduate institution that covers teaching and research in epidemiology, infectious diseases, public health, and global health. I work as part of the Information Services Team in the Library. Many of our researchers are very active in high level Covid-19 related research and committees, and as you can imagine this is a huge focus for us at the moment, although we are still very active in other areas of research.
I have worked from home (a tiny flat) throughout the whole of the pandemic period, and have been lucky in that I can do all of my work remotely (with the exception of shelf tidying – though I could probably do with a bit of that at home ….).
What do you most enjoy about your job?
My main roles are: teaching Literature Searching skills to our students, researchers, and staff (both face to face and distance learners/researchers) from introduction to advanced levels; developing teaching & course materials for the classroom and online environments; advising researchers on Systematic Review lit searching; and collaborating on and writing literature searches for published Systematic Reviews. I really love teaching and working directly with students and researchers. Since I’ve started writing literature searches for publication, I have found that this has helped me ground the theoretical aspects of my teaching and has helped me understand more about the practical aspects, and understand the experience of the researchers.
What motivates you in your work?
Working with really ace people and having a very supportive manager is really important to me. Knowing that my work is influencing or, in some cases, directly contributing to the research of the students and staff, is a huge personal motivation. Seeing the benefits of what we provide as a service is truly wonderful. The challenge of maintaining the best possible service keeps us on our toes.
How has/can the M25 Consortium support you in your career?
I’ve attended many M25/cpd25 training sessions, seminars, and conferences in the past, and have given papers and delivered teaching as part of their events. The work of the M25 Consortium has pretty much been a constant element of my professional development, and it feels like they have been there for me throughout my *cough* long career. The M25 Consortium’s sessions and events have contributed to my understanding of the practical aspects of my work, through to the socio-cultural issues that we all need to engage with.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I was born with 6 fingers (or 5 fingers and a thumb) on each hand. I do not play the piano.
In relation to librarianship, while I now write health-based literature searches for Systematic Reviews, I previously studied English Lit as an undergraduate and then for a Film Studies MA. So, we librarians do have transferable skills!
Complete the sentence: If I wasn’t working in a library, I would be … doing something with wine because … I love drinking wine! And I also love learning about wine. I have a professional qualification in assessing wines, grape growing, and winemaking. I’d love to do a degree in viticulture and winemaking at Plumpton College, but maybe when I retire.
Russell Burke, August 2020
To read more SpeedMeet interviews see the links below!