Colleen MacDonell

Head, 3 Alma (children's division, TEAS Press, Azerbaijan)

Favourite aspect of your job? Most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging part of your job? Proudest moment so far? I love dealing with creative people. Currently I am working with Azerbaijani writers and illustrators on many writing projects for children (in Azerbaijani, naturally). It is very rewarding to see a work develop in unexpected ways as a result of creative collaboration. Proudest moment so far - getting Mo Willems to come to Azerbaijan and having his books translated into Azerbaijani!

Have you followed a circuitous path to your current position, or a straightforward path? What has been the biggest surprise in your career path? Has serendipity played a role in your career? Serendipity has played a role in my career - but for a reason. I don't like to get too comfortable in a job. When challenges start to wane I am keen to set off for new prospects. 

In your professional life, do you consider yourself to be a systems thinker? Someone who thinks outside the box? Does this carry over into your personal life? I consider myself to be a systems thinker and someone who can analyze a problem but also be open to many alternative solutions. Thinking outside the box for me is just playing - having fun with thinking. This openness and creative impulse carries over into my personal life. It has helped me to become a singer and kamancha player of Azerbaijani mugham and traditional music. It helps me appreciate and embrace other cultures in a deep and meaningful way. It is a real source of joy in my life.

Words of advice for MLIS students? To new students: Don't follow what you think is going to be the new big thing. Everything changes and no one has a crystal ball. Follow your heart. It will get you to the best place every time.