Marie-Louise Ayres may have spent 14 years working in senior roles at the National Library of Australia, but the last five have been something of an apprenticeship.
The soon-to-be director of the institution has had the chance to watch her predecessor in action, and says she has been able to learn from the best.
"Believe me, I've been watching and learning," she said this week, following the announcement from arts minister Mitch Fifield of her appointment.
Ms Ayres will take over the helm from Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, who is retiring in March 2017 after six years in the job.
She said that over 14 years, she had negotiated the divide between the library's physical and digital collections, from being head of manuscripts to leading the library's digital archive Trove.
"My career has been almost evenly split between working with physical collections, especially archival collections, and they're messy and difficult to deal with, and the kind of digital delivery and online services," she said.
"So for me, that absolute nexus between the physical and the digital library is, I think, the thing that I can really bring to the job."
Over the years, she has watched as staff have been let go and services cut back as a result of the federal government's relentless efficiency dividend.
But she said another benefit of her decade-and-a-half at the library had been watching how the institution dealt with such setbacks.
"When things happen that you wish hadn't, you stop, and you look at it clearly and then think how are we going to deal it as you head on towards it," she said.
"The other thing I think is just great about this organisation is we keep our eye on our long-term goals and we get there in the end."
She cited the recent upgrading of the library's physical spaces as one such achievement – a process that began a decade ago.
But she said one of her goals for the next decade would be ensuring increased access to the library's collections well beyond Canberra.
"We have such impact when we can reach people in the tiniest, tiniest little towns and villages all around Australia, so that's certainly in my thinking - reaching communities that we haven't been best able to serve in the past," she said.
In the meantime, Ms Schwirtlich, who decided on her retirement some time ago, said there was still too much time and too much to do to start counting the days.
She said she was most proud of watching the library realise what had always been "really clear and clever aspirations", especially in the realm of digital collecting.
"[Even] 20 years ago, we knew that if Australia was to have a really good command of its documentary heritage, we had to be in that space," she said.
Ms Schwirtlich will leave her post in March, 2017.