Spotlight on... Sofina Lias

This week we meet Sofina Lias, Library Assistant at the Institute of Archaeology Library, who recently completed a secondment as Communications and Marketing Officer at UCL Communications & Marketing (CAM). Here, Sofina chats to us about creating a book of plants for the Library.

What is your role and what does it involve?

My role is Library Assistant at the Institute of Archaeology Library. However, I have just completed a secondment role at CAM as a Communications and Marketing Officer on UCL’s central social media channels.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I have been at UCL for eight years, working in the library. Before working for UCL, I worked in various roles, usually around at the same time, ranging from primary school teacher, Crown Court logger, oral history for a local authority and Public Library Assistant. At one time I was working in three roles.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I am very proud of all the research and work I have done during my secondment at CAM. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at CAM and have learnt so much. I am also proud of the plant book I created for the Institute of Archaeology Library, as the library has so many plants - myself and another colleague look after the plants in the Library and students and staff would regularly ask me the name of the plants that were in the Library - so, I decided to create a plant book of all the plants there to give to students and staff whenever they asked about the plants.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

I am currently working on updating the plant book, as so many plants died during the first lockdown last year. As a team, we have all brought various plants for the Library to replenish it to its former glory and help students to study in a peaceful and soothing environment. I am now photographing and adding in the new plants into the book.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

I don’t have a favourite album as my musical taste is very eclectic, ranging from FKA Twigs and French rap to classical music and pop songs.

I have two favourite films: Do the Right Thing, which is an amazing film showing the racism within society during the late 80s and Amelie, because it is quirky.

Again, I have two novels that are my favourites. The first one is Natives by Akala, I love his honest perception on his life and his observation on British society while growing up. My other book is not so much a book but rather a series by Colin Cotterill. It is the Dr Siri series. This series is very quirky and very different as it is set in Laos during the 70s, with the Dr Siri being in his 70s too. The series follows Dr Siri’s adventures during the winter years of his life, and is colourful and hilarious.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

I don’t have a favourite joke, as there are too many to think of. I do enjoy watching comedy and stand up shows, and I do tend to laugh at the corny jokes.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

My dream dinner guests would be my friends and family, especially my family in Malaysia as I don’t get to see them that often.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The advice I would give my younger self would be: stay positive, relax, keep moving and don’t worry - everything will work out.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

That I taught ballet and dance when I was a teenager and studied dance for many years.

What is your favourite place?

I have two favourite places: Nice, and Temerloh in Malaysia, because it has my favourite dish: Tempoyak Ikan Patin.


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