Sandra Henderson retires in mid-April after more than 30 years service with the National Library. During this time Sandra’s career has moved through many phases. From a beginning in the Library’s then specialist science section, Sandra has worked across a broad range of functions and leaves the Library a much valued member of staff.
After completing a Bachelor of Science at the Australian National University and a Graduate Diploma in Librarianship at the Canberra College of Advanced Education, Sandra started at the National Library in early 1977 as a science reference librarian. In 1978 she moved to the Life Sciences Section, which provided a MEDLARS search service for Australian health professionals, and participated in the development of the Australian MEDLINE Network. This was real ‘pioneer’ work and Sandra’s strong IT capabilities came to the fore at this stage.
As the MEDLINE Network expanded, Sandra took on roles in training, customer helpdesk support, indexing and newsletter editing, and became the Principal Librarian of the section in 1983. In the following years APAIS and ANB were added to the Section’s responsibilities and in the early 1990s the focus shifted to the production of APAIS and AMI. It was during this time that Sandra acquired significant expertise in indexing and she remains an active member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers.
Soon after the indexing services moved to the Library’s Collections Management Division in 2000, Sandra moved to a position in the Coordination Support Branch within the Executive area of the Library, where her responsibilities included national and international liaison, for example providing support for bodies such as the Australian Library Collections Task Force and the Conference of Directors of National Libraries. In recognition of her dedicated work in this area, Sandra was awarded a National Library staff Australia Day Award in 2006. More recently, she has organised a number of Australian and international conferences held at the Library, managed the Libraries of Asia Pacific website and been the project manager for the initial stages of the Library’s rights management project.
Sandra will be greatly missed when she retires. Over the years she has acquired an in-depth knowledge of Library activities and is able to turn her hand to any task. She embodies the word 'professional', and those outside the Library who have worked on conferences, seminars, visits and many other things besides, attest to her abilities through their letters and emails of thanks.
In retirement Sandra will pursue her interests in birdwatching, indexing and gardening.
Jasmine Cameron Assistant Director-General, Executive & Coordination Support – NLA
(This article was published in, Gateways, Number 92, April 2008)