In her role as Publications Associate, Ally Souster works closely with the Eds and members of the board to bring the UKSG journal to a screen near you three times a year. This involves liaising with authors and managing the various stages of editing, production and publication, otherwise known as nagging everyone constantly.
Now the longest-serving employee of UKSG, Ally hopped on board at a time when there was no electronic version of Serials; now, there is no print version and it has become Insights. She also works on other UKSG publications, like The E-Resources Management Handbook, an ongoing and free e-book.
After specializing in modern languages at grammar school, Ally graduated with joint honours in visual art (half practical/half art history) and classical studies from the University of Wales, having been assured this would have ‘novelty value’. A postgraduate business studies year in Oxford followed.
Ally's first job was a gentle, fun introduction to the world of publishing. Working in the Illustrations Department at Oxford University Press (OUP), she enjoyed the variety of the academic and general list, meeting eccentric authors with absolutely no notion of budget or schedule, doing picture research and helping the designers while also working as PA to the departmental head. Opportunities arose, and she soon switched to the slightly less ethereal educational division (OXED). By the time she was 28, Ally was happily working in her dream job: Senior Art Editor for children's books and schoolbooks at OUP. She loved being with creative people, visiting art colleges in search of new illustrators (especially Brighton in summer), rummaging through archives and spending days directing photographers on location. One thing she hopes she has achieved since working on this journal is to introduce more images, the conference spreads being particular favourites.
When her son was born (soon to be followed by another), Ally decided to become a full-time mum – a decision she has never regretted. Later, part-time work for UKSG in various roles was peppered with other jobs, such as branch administrator for a charity (VRH, now Beanstalk) and foreign-language market research into HEI staff for an academic list broker – or in some years, three jobs at once! Ally now just works for UKSG so is able to go on tea and cake dates with her early-retired husband, fit in the odd bit of creative this and that, and escape to the coast whenever possible – ideally, to Cornwall or a sunny Greek island.