Meet Leigha Rind!

Leigha Rind is a Métis Indigenous Intern at the University of Alberta Libraries. She grew up in Devon, Alberta, with family roots in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan and Bedford, Nova Scotia. She is about to begin her second year of the MLIS program at the U of A. When she’s not working, she can probably be found reading graphic novels, playing video games, or going for long walks in the Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton) river valley.

leigha rind

What was the first job you ever had? 

I got my first job in grade six; it was a flyer route in my hometown, Devon, Alberta. I sorted the flyers while watching MTV with my sister of Fridays after school. Since I split the pay with her, I barely made any money! It was good though – I made at least enough money to buy a graphic novel or two a month.

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

I was a summer reading program coordinator at Devon Public Library during my third year of undergraduate studies. It’s a great library, and I am very attached to it because I’ve been going there since I was two years old. I realized during that job that I had big ideas about what the library could (and should) be. I realized that my ideas were a little too big for a summer reading program coordinator to have. I also realized that if I was going to pursue those ideas, I would need to stay in school a bit longer!

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work? 

I love helping people find what they need, without feeling like I’m selling something (I had a sales job once… it was not my cup of tea). I also love the creative aspect of library work. Problem solving, answering reference questions, putting together displays and programming – it’s all creative work!

What are you reading or watching right now? 

Currently, I’m reading through a huge stack of graphic novels. I’m taking a Graphic Novels & Comic Books course over the spring and summer term. I’m currently watching Game of Thrones… I’m so anxious to watch the last episode!

What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

I have a little amigurumi shark that I bought from the Devon Farmer’s Market (see the picture!). I had to bring it to work to keep it safe – my cat was determined to destroy it!

What do you think is the biggest challenge libraries face today?

I think the biggest challenge libraries face today is a perpetual one: change. Changes in technology and in the ways people use information are definitely major challenges, but I’m thinking especially of the changes libraries still need to make concerning social responsibility. I am fortunate to know many people in libraries that recognize the need for this kind of change, and there are some awesome projects happening (I’m thinking of the Decolonizing Descriptions project at the U of A Libraries). It will take lots of time and consultation, but I know many librarians and students who are eager to ensure that libraries truly do live up to their goal of being safe and welcoming spaces for all. It makes me very hopeful and excited to see the future that we will create together in library and information organizations.

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Meet Karen Hudson!

Karen Hudson is the Chief Librarian at Salt Spring Public Library. She celebrated her 10th anniversary there in June. She has 20 years of library experience including time spent at Vancouver Public Library, UBC Library, and AskAway virtual reference. She holds her Master of Library and Information Studies from UBC (2009). She loves travel and became a certified scuba diver last year.

karen

Describe yourself in three words. 

Happy Go Lucky.

What’s an average day at your library? 

Our library is very busy with 222, 300 visits as well as 754 programs and 15, 000+ attendees of all ages last year. We are run by a unique hybrid of 150 volunteers and a small staff, so there is no average day and never a dull moment.

What was the first job you ever had? 

I started working at 13, so I walked to the local ice cream store in my neighbourhood.

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

I worked as a library assistant at the reference desk in the Literature Division at the new Vancouver Public Library Central Branch in 1998.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

I soak up information from many sources including print, online, social media, and annual BCLA conferences. I’m the membership chair for the Association of BC Public Library Directors and we have annual ProD including a regular future talk by Scott Hargrove of Fraser Valley Regional Library, that’s why we loan ukuleles and Sphero robotic balls, etc.

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work? 

I’m a true biblioholic but I also love the people who love libraries.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I just finished Jojo Moyes The Girl You Left Behind, and now I’m reading Magic Redeemed by local author Coralie Moss, Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese for my Indigenous Authors book club, and for Indigenous History Month, I’m joining readers across Canada reading Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont as part of One eRead Canada.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

Volunteering for Librarians Without Borders.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

Leading is about empowering other leaders.

What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

The Ergotron sit-stand unit on my desk as sitting is the new smoking 🙂

What aspect of library work are you most passionate about? 

Running a vibrant, community-led library, and Truth and Reconciliation in libraries.

Why do you think library work is important? 

Our library is our community centre, shelter, free space, and a place for people to find real answers in an increasingly complex world.

Meet Courtney Crocker!

Courtney is the Regional Librarian for Central Division with Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries. She grew up in the small fishing community of Green’s Harbour, NL. Courtney has a passion for literacy, LGBTQ+ matters and accessibility. You can often find her reading a book, creating a beauty review for her YouTube channel and Instagram, or cooking healthy dishes in her kitchen. Courtney resides in Gander, NL.

courtney

Describe yourself in three words. 

Ambitious, friendly and a reader.

What’s an average day at your library? 

There is no average day for me! I work as the Regional Librarian for Central Division with NLPL. Every day looks different. I could be training staff in one of our picturesque libraries such as Fogo Island, Twillingate or Harry’s Harbour, doing a presentation in a school or helping a local library board order books for their library’s collection. I love the variety in this job!

What as the first job you ever had? 

The first job I ever had was in a fishplant. My dad was a fisherman and I remember Dad getting so excited about the various fish he would catch in the spring of the year. Afterall he spent the winter mending his nets and telling tales about fishing. When the capelin finally rolled in muggy August, I was ecstatic to get to work. I was on night shift and the smell of fish was putrid. The man who showed me how to tell the males and females apart was so frustrated that I couldn’t see the difference. I lasted 4 hours and gave the job to my younger brother. I vowed I would never work in a fish plant again and followed my Dad’s advice of going to school and getting an education.

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

My first job in the library and information field was at the Jules Leger Library, a library with Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. I learned so much and had a wonderful experience there.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

I love to attend conferences and learn what my other colleagues are up to! I also enjoy talking to friends from library school who work in exciting library systems such as Toronto Public Library and Vancouver Public Library.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I just finished reading the End of Your Life Bookclub by Will Schwalbe for my book club. It was a great read and made for insightful conversations. I’m also reading Educated by Tara Westover. It was recommended to me time and time again and I love how powerful and encouraging this book leaves you feeling. I enjoying watch period dramas because I’m an old soul at heart. I am anxiously waiting for the DVD release of A Place to Call Home, Season 6.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

I think I would be working in television or on the radio. I have always had a fascination with the media and when I was younger I wanted to do journalism. In my free time I volunteer for Eastlink and work as a host on the show Discover NL. Television is tough, especially when you don’t have a script, but I love a challenge and feel that’s the only way to grow. Getting outside of your comfort is where the magic happens. I also have a YouTube channel where I review beauty and fashion.

 

Meet Darrell Yates!

Darrell Yates is the Executive Director and CEO of the Lakeland Library Region. Lakeland Library Region’s total serviceable population is just under 110,000 and is spread over approximately 45,000 square kilometers. Encompassing cites, towns, villages, and hamlets, Lakeland is located on Treaty 6 territory, offering service to residents on 13 reservations. Darrell received his MLIS from Dalhousie University. Originally from Gander, Newfoundland, he has not seen the Broadway Musical Come From Away.

darrell

What’s an average day at your library? 

There are no average days. Saskatchewan has a universal library card, enabling patrons to walk into any public library branch in the province and check out material. One of the many challenges is ensuring all 11 public library systems are working together to provide a seamless level of service on a singular ILS while maintaining each library agency’s cultural singularity. Three of Lakeland Library Region’s 32 branches are located in cities, one of which is the City of Lloydminster. Lloydminster has a very unique place in my region and the province, since it straddles the Saskatchewan/Alberta border. Both provinces have legislation pertaining to the city and there is also a City Charter that is provincial legislation. I believe Lakeland Library Region is also home to what is, perhaps, the country’s only public library located within a shared correctional and psychiatric facility. Since our funding is significantly smaller than that of a major city public library system, we wear many hats, which means I frequently play a larger part in nitty-gritty overall operations than your average CEO. Today, for example, I’m also the Director of Finance, Board Secretary, and Director of Human Resources. It sounds crazy. It is crazy. I love crazy.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

Facebook professional’s clickbait and conferences. Saskatchewan’s Provincial Library and Literacy Office also provides extended loans on professional development material, which I can request through our ILS and pick up in my local library. They develop the collection regularly. Numerous meetings also offer new ideas.

What was the first job you ever had? 

It’s a tossup between shoveling driveways and being a page for my high school library. I seem to recall they didn’t have any petty cash and they may have paid me from photocopier revenue (they paid me in change). I bought candy.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

Watching: Ex Libris: The New York Public LibraryLore.

Reading: Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities, and Reference Librarianship & Justice: History, Practice & Praxis.

What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

That’s a tossup between an “intro to music” kit I’m putting together for the branches, the mint-condition peek-through pop-up book that was part of a donated personal collection, or the 40-year old Sears List of Subject Headings (we had a library branch that had a Sears outlet inside it that was staffed by the branch’s librarian). My office is the book’s new forever home.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

Performing arts, either theatre or music. I just won best actor at the Provincial Theatre Festival in Regina, playing the part of Austin in Sam Shepard’s “True West.”

Why do you think library work is important? 

With the abundance of information out there our work is more important now than ever better. We need more libraries. We need more professional librarians.

Meet Leigha Locke!

Leigha Locke is the Children’s Services Librarian for Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries. She is based in St. John’s.

leighalocke

Describe yourself in three words. 

Bubbly, Reader, Determined.

What’s an average day at your library? 

I work as a selector and program coordinator for a library system, so a lot of what I do is behind the scenes work. An average day would include some collaboration with branch staff, reading reviews, buying books for the collection, researching contemporary trends in children and youth services, and conceiving of ways to implement them at NLPL. Many days also include outreach with kids – I love this part of my job!

What was the first job you ever had? 

The first job I ever had was babysitting (where I would read as soon as the kids went to bed!), but my first non-babysitting job was a seafood personnel at Sobeys.

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

I started volunteering in libraries from the time I was in junior high. I did this when I was changing careers from teaching to librarianship as well so that I could get as much experience as possible before my first real library job. The job was Library Assistant at an awesome little branch in St. John’s.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

I research all of the time. Even in my free time! I am also part of social media networks with a focus on library services and trends and I ask as many people as many questions as I can. I want to learn everything!

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work?

I think being a part of amazing literacy evolution is the coolest part of my job. Because I do not work directly with our patrons, keeping abreast of trends in services and also in the publishing industry are so enjoyable. Also, when I spend all day reading reviews and the titles of upcoming children’s books I always get a kick out of some of the titles. I have the best ordering area!

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I am always reading! Right now I am deeply in love with the book Internment by Samira Ahmed, a very timely YA novel. As well, I am reading To Night Owl from Dogfish by Meg Woltizer and Holly Goldberg Stonee, a juvenile lit book about two girls who are brought together in the most interesting way. It is told entirely through email. It is so much fun!

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

I would probably still be teaching high school, or would have gone back to university to be an oceanographer!

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

Listen to people and focus on community building. It is the best way to move forward to have a working environment that everyone can enjoy.

What is the coolest thing in our office or on your desk? 

I have a giant life-sized cut out of Thor in my office. Sometimes he wears a Santa hat. He is very festive. 🙂

What is the most challenging part of your job? 

We are underfunded and understaffed, as many library systems are. This makes providing the best services tricky at times. But we work really hard to give the public every opportunity to have a great library experience, despite these challenges.

What do you think is the biggest challenge libraries face today?

I think this is two-fold. First, they are underfunded and a big reason for this is because the perception of libraries for so many people is an antiquated one. I think we need to bring our libraries up to speed and offer those services that will impact our most needing populations and we also have to stay on trend so that everyone sees themselves reflected in the libraries within their communities. We need to think outside of the box and really appeal to the collaborative and life-long nature of libraries.

What aspect of library work are you most passionate about? 

I love sharing the message of how important libraries are, but what I love most is seeing kids excited to be in the library or tell me stories of what they love most about the library when I am at outreach. It makes every book purchase that much more enjoyable because I know there is definitely a kid out there who will be excited to find the book in the branch!

Why do you think library work is important? 

Libraries are forward thinking, free, educational, and fun institutions. Libraries are meant to inspire and welcome everyone through their doors. What other type of institution can we say that about in this day and age?

Meet Jane Edmundson!

Jane is a life-long resident and lover of Lethbridge, Alberta. She is a walker, cyclist, museum-lover, cat enthusiast, independent curator, wannabe gardener, and Member Support Librarian at Chinook Arch Regional Library System.

jane

Describe yourself in three words. 

Curious, capable, critical.

What’s an average day at your library? 

I work at a regional library system, supporting our 33 member libraries, so I’m usually fielding emails and phone calls from library managers, staff, board members, or patrons about anything and everything library-related you can think of. I also maintain our system’s 30 websites, and sometimes get to head out to the libraries to provide training or lend a hand with operations.

What was the first job you ever had? 

Probably dead-heading carnations at my Dad’s flower shop, when I was 7 or 8.

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

Working at Chinook Arch is my first library position, but my background is in fine art and cultural collections management. Before entering the library world I facilitated public access to art and museum collections through exhibits, class lectures, and tours, and shared historical research via public collections databases.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

I am very fortunate to work for an organization that highly values professional development; this was especially important for me as I worked to get up to speed on all things library. I attend library conferences, checked out lots of webinars, and read library blogs and online journals: my favourites are Jessamyn West’s (http://www.librarian.net/) and http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work? 

I love solving riddles and doing research, so spending my day working to find answers to all sorts of questions on everything from board governance to digital resource troubleshooting is pretty fun. I like knowing that at the end of an interaction with a library manager or patron, I’ve (hopefully) been able to give them information that helps them with their work or their use of library services.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I just started listening to the audiobook version of Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT Leroy by Savannah Knoop, and it is fascinating. I love non-fiction, especially about crime and hoaxes. I’m really looking forward to Emily Carroll’s When I Arrived at the Castle when my hold is available. And, like pretty much everyone else, I’m watching the last season of Game of Thrones. My post-GoT palate-cleanser is RuPaul’s Drag Race.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

I’d be working as exhibit designer/installation tech at a gallery or museum.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

From one of my mentors: “We’re not building a piano.” AKA: done is better than perfect.

What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

I ride my bike to work most days, so it is parked in my office and is definitely cool. It is equipped with a giant ding-dong bell.

What is the most challenging part of your job? 

Every day I see how hard library managers and staff work to provide the best service to their patrons. It is really challenging to reckon with the disparity between the high level of expertise and personal sacrifice this work demands, and the low level of funding these libraries are expected to operate with. The gap widens drastically when you look at rural libraries and libraries providing service to remote or otherwise underserved communities.

What do you think is the biggest challenge libraries face today? 

Being relatively new to the library world, it wasn’t until I read Fobazi Ettarh’s article ‘Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves’ (http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2018/vocational-awe/) that I realized how librarianship, for many library people, is less of a job, and more of a passion or higher calling. Ettarh outlines how this belief contributes to libraries being viewed as inherently good and beyond critique, while facilitating the disenfranchisement and exploitation of people who work in libraries. Compounding these outcomes is the fact that library work is often feminized and precarious, demanding emotional labour from workers who may be limited in their ability to advocate for their own safety and well-being at work. I think the biggest challenge facing libraries today is to make the library as great a place to be for staff as it is for patrons. As Ettarh writes, “Libraries are just buildings. It is the people who do the work. And we need to treat these people well… Passion, devotion, and awe are not sustainable sources of income… [M]artyrdom is not a long-lasting career.”

What aspect of library work are you most passionate about? 

See above. Ha ha.

Why do you think library work is important? 

Due to continued funding cuts to social support programs in our municipalities, provinces and territories, and country, libraries are one of the few remaining public spaces that are open to anyone and free to use. Yes, libraries can connect people to almost any kind of information or entertainment they might be looking for, but libraries can also simply give people a place to *be*. Libraries can combat social isolation, bring people with wildly varying personal experiences together, and foster a greater sense of community belonging. We just have to support libraries and the people who work in them, with our tax dollars, with our checkouts, and with our advocacy.

 

Meet Tanya Ball

Tanya (She/Her) is a Michif woman from Winnipeg, Manitoba in Treaty 1 Territory. She is currently living in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta) where she is enrolled in the PhD program with the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Here, she is working with her family from St. Ambroise to research the connections between Michif storytelling and experience of religion. She is also a sessional instructor at the School of Information Studies at the University of Alberta teaching LIS 598 Indigenous Librarianship within a Canadian context.

tanya ball

Describe yourself in three words. 

Positive trouble maker.

What was the first job you ever had? 

My first official job was working as a grill cook at McDonalds. I ended up staying there for about 3 years and wound up in a management position. It was an intense job and I have lots of stories from working there. I won’t spill the tea here, but if you take me for coffee I’d be happy to share.

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

I started working at the Edmonton Public Library as a Library Assistant. I was actually a library patron before getting the nerve to apply for a position there. At that time, I just had my daughter and was going through postpartum depression. After confiding in a friend, she convinced me to attend a Baby Laptime program. I attended every Friday as a solid reason to get out of the house. Obviously, I fell in love with the library at this time!

I would have to say that this was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. It was extremely rewarding working with community and KIDS. I never realized how much I love singing to babies and playing with LEGO: key qualities for any public librarian.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

Visiting. Lots of visiting. I can’t even tell you how many breakfasts and coffee’s I’ve drinken to keep up-to-date with community members and other librarians.

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work? 

Definitely the people: staff members and patrons. We’ve all had those grumpy days where everything seems to go wrong. Sometimes we can forget that just one small thing can make a huge difference. I love being the person that can add a little bit of hope to someone’s day: whether it’s forgiving fines, finding a lost book, or being a friendly person to chat to. This gives me all the feels.

What are you reading or watching right now?

Right now, I’m reading books from my comps list for my PhD in Native Studies at the University of Alberta. So, basically pumping through a bunch of badass Indigenous authors. I’d have to say though that my favourite book has been A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood by Kim Anderson. This book was a game-changer for me. Being a Michif woman comes with a lot of challenges and (for a lot of us) it also comes with a lot of sexual trauma. I have been going through my own journey to heal from these moments in my life. This book was able to lift me up from a dark place by discussing the beauty of Indigenous culture and what it means to be a woman. This is a MUST read.

For television shows, I’m currently re-watching UNHhhh. It’s a video series on YouTube with two of my favourite drag queens: Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova. Being a pansexual woman, watching shows that highlight the queer community fill my heart with happiness. Plus, it’s full of random, dark humour which is right up my alley.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

This is a great question. Honestly, I’m not sure how to answer it.

I’m no longer a practicing librarian. Currently, I am working towards my PhD in Native Studies while working as a co-instructor at the School of Library and Information Studies teaching LIST 598: Indigenous Librarianship within a Canadian context. After piloting the course last fall with my great friend and colleague Kayla Lar-Son, I feel like I’ve found my niche in teaching. Specifically, I think it’s really important that I can teach from my own culture and perspective. We are all about heart learning in our class. Oftentimes, academia is focused on developing the mental pieces of a person by throwing journal articles and theory at the students. Personally, I think learning happens in the heart. I’ve heard many Elders say that learning is about “going from the mind, to the heart, and back again.” By focusing on the hearts and emotions of the students, we hope to enact change in every individual who comes through our class.

I guess this is a long-winded way of saying… I’m living the dream! The icing on the cake would be to teach a course on Storytelling and Graphic Novels. I feel like I could decolonize the crap out of those topics.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

My supervisor gives me all the good advice. Thanks Paul! You’re the best.

On a sentimental note, he says: “Family first, work second.”

On a badass note, he says: “Punch colonialism in the face.”

I channel both of these phrases in everything I do.

What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk?

I’m not sure if I even know what cool is. Everything I find cool ends up being super nerdy, ha!

I would say that my favourite thing in my office (outside of my excellent office mates) is my Lying Cat toy. Lying Cat is a character from my favourite comic book series, Saga. They have the ability to target liars by stating, “Lying” to anyone who is not being truthful. Plus, it was a graduation gift from Kayla, which makes it extra special. This is lying cat.

lying

Why do you think library work is important? 

This is a big question. I could probably write a book on this one!

There are so many aspects of librarianship that are beneficial, but I like to focus on how I can use my expertise to give back to the Indigenous community. This could take form in a number of ways. For example, one thing I am learning a lot more about is data sovereignty. From what I know about Indigenous knowledges (purposeful pluralization here since there is not just ONE form of Indigenous knowledge) is that knowledge is not a privilege that everyone has. It has to be earned. You can’t just wake up and be an Elder. It takes years and years of preparation and learning to be able to perform certain ceremonies. Traditional Knowledges need to be protected and Protocols must be enacted. I see librarians as being able to help communities work with their own information, or even to repatriate stolen items. Within this scenario, I see librarians providing materials, expertise, and specific training so that Indigenous communities can do this work themselves. Because…really…we aren’t gatekeepers for THEIR knowledge. We should just lend a hand where and when it is needed/wanted.

I guess within this frame of thinking, I see librarians as helpers and facilitators to empower others to do what they need.

Meet Natasha Wells!

Natasha Wells works as a Regional Librarian in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. Prior to this she worked as a Youth Services Librarian and as a School Librarian in Houston, New York City, and Cleveland. She’s currently working towards her 200 hour yoga teacher training certificate and can’t wait to start teaching yoga at the library! She and her husband of 10 years love relaxing at home with their dog, Max.

natasha

What was the first job you ever had?

Like most young girls my first job was as a babysitter, but my first real paycheque came from working as a cashier in a small neighborhood grocery store. The job taught me the importance of customer service and getting to know your customers. I loved that job!

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

Since my background is education, I started working as an Elementary School Librarian which is something I did for almost 6 years. I enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the job because I got to work side-by-side with teachers developing information literacy lessons. Of course, the best part of the day was always reading to the kids and seeing them connect with the characters in the book. My passion for picture books was fueled by this position. I honestly thought I’d always work as a School Librarian but my heart belongs to public libraries and serving the public.

What is the most challenging part of your job? 

As a Regional Librarian of 29 branches, the biggest challenge is finding time. My position encompasses many roles so it can be a bit of a juggling act as well; prioritizing is key and something I didn’t think I’ve necessarily mastered yet. Also, because the branches are so geographically spread out it’s not always easy to travel to each branch, especially in the winter.

What do you think is the biggest challenge libraries face today?

Definitely funding. However, I think we all do our best to prioritize and provide the best service possible within our given budget constraints.

What aspect of library work are you most passionate about? 

Since my background is in education, I thought I’d end up in children’s services. However, while working in the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) system I realized what I really enjoyed was working with and servicing adults. Even though my role with CPL was as Youth Services Librarian, I had plenty of opportunity to work with patrons of all ages. I found a sense of fulfillment in answering their questions, assisting with resumes, teaching information sessions, and just developing a trusted relationship with the regular patrons.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

Growing up I wanted to do and be a million things. When I think about what I wanted to be, it was always centered around the arts – photography, acting, painting, writing. So, I’d like to think I could make a living being creative. I’ve always admired artists of all disciplines. They are so committed and driven by passion and creativity. It’s inspiring.

Meet Joanne Rodger!

Joanne Rodger has been a librarian in Alberta for more than 20 years, since graduating from the University of Alberta’s School of Library and Information Studies in 1998. Her career has included library and non-library work and she has experience working in school, public, and regional libraries, as well as in post-secondary education and the non-profit world. Joanne has a PhD in Elementary Education and has taught in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta for 16 years. Currently, Joanne is the Curriculum Specialist for the MD program at the University of Alberta. When she is not working or teaching, Joanne likes to read, walk the dog, travel, and hang out with her two teenagers.

joanne rodgers

Describe yourself in three words.

Decisive, compassionate, curious.

What was the first job you ever had? 

My first volunteer job was as a library helper at Rosedale Public School in Sarnia, Ontario. At age six, I was the youngest library helper in the school when I started in grade 1. My first paid job was as a student page in the children’s department of the Sarnia Public Library when I was 14. I see a trend…

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

My first job out of library school was as the Director of the Barrhead Public Library and teacher-librarian for the Barrhead Elementary School library. The library was a school-housed public library, allowing me to work in both the school and public library at the same time. It was a challenging job, but I learned a lot about both types of libraries.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

Teaching courses for both the Department of Elementary Education and the School of Library & Information Studies at the University of Alberta ensures I stay up-to-date with both public and school library fields. I read blogs, research and professional journals, and keep up with library leaders on Twitter. I enjoy listening to podcasts and have found some good library-related ones. I also maintain a small research program, so I try to stay-up-to-date by contributing to research in the field.

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work? 

When I think about my work in libraries, my favourite thing is working with diverse people (staff, customers, etc.). When I think about my teaching roles, my favourite thing is interacting with students and learning alongside them as they build their professional identities as librarians and teacher-librarians. Overall, I think my favourite part of being a librarian is how transferable my work experiences and skills have become. My library degree has opened doors to me inside and outside the library world and I have appreciated those opportunities to continue to learn and grow my career.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I am reading Jane Harper’s new book The Lost Man and Eric Manheimer’s Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital. I am currently watching the second season of The Good Fight. My son and I try to watch one episode of Parks and Rec each night and we love it.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing?

I probably would have stayed in K-12 education and been a classroom teacher or teacher-librarian.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

Be open to opportunities that present themselves and don’t be afraid to try new things. Oh, and remember that the library world is VERY small, everyone knows everyone.

What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

Every time I change jobs, I move lots of things into my new office. I like my office to reflect my personality and to look welcoming. I have photos of family and friends, my diplomas, and lots of books. Everyday, I use my Thomas Jefferson’s library mug (from the Library of Congress) to drink my coffee.

What is the most challenging part of your job? 

Being a librarian in a non-library environment, I often have to educate people about what I can do and how the skills and experiences I have learned by being a librarian apply to a very non-traditional environment.

 

 

Meet Kieren Bailey!

Over the past ten years Kieren Bailey has had the opportunity to work as a librarian in both Canada and the United States. Her educational background is diverse: graphic design, library sciences, and learning sciences. She is currently the Chair and Librarian at Grande Prairie Regional College.

kieren

Describe yourself in three words.

Determined. Competitive. Loyal.

What’s an average day at your library?

I’ve been in this job now for a year now and I still haven’t figured out what an average day is. Honestly it probably depends on the time of semester. Some days are full of library instruction and research appointments; while others are filled with answering emails and attending meetings. Today I’ve done a little collection development, research, touching base with my staff and answering of emails.

What was the first job you ever had? 

I started working in high school at McDonald’s. I did everything from cleaning, to flipping burgers and running the cash register.

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

Technically, my first position in the library field was back as an undergraduate student working at the circulation desk at Walla Walla University. The interesting story behind that was I always said when I worked in the library that I was never becoming a librarian yet here I am 10 years into my career as a librarian and loving it. My first librarian role was at Burman University in Alberta when it was still CUC as a Technical Services/Systems Librarian.

How do you stay up to date in your field?

Having recently finished a doctorate in learning sciences which I was able to connect to library instruction I’m heavily engaged in that field of study still. I’m currently working on writing articles based on my research. I’m learning that I have to continue to stay up to date with the latest publications as this topic of using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) theoretical framework in writing courses is gaining ground in publications right now. I’m focusing on the research part of those writing courses and the implications that CoI has for informing and assessing library instruction. I also try present at least one conference a year. I like to stay connected to what is happening locally in academic librarianship by networking with fellow librarians in the province.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I just started watching Whiskey Cavalier which is a new action comedy-drama.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

Never give up on your dream just because one individual doesn’t think you are suited to reach your ultimate goal.

What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

I like to display artwork from my nieces. 🙂

What is the most challenging part of your job? 

I am a solo librarian. The difficulty comes making sure I pay attention to the administrative duties as the Chair of the Library as well as making time for faculty and students.

What do you think is the biggest challenge libraries face today?

I believe there are two major challenges currently in the academic library world: shrinking or stagnate budgets and striving to show what the value of an academic library is in a highly digital information world.

What aspect of library work are you most passionate about? 

I’m most passionate about helping students learn how to do research. I always start a class session by letting the students know that I am their best friend when it comes to the area of research. I love it when students come back to tell me that because of my help they were able to achieve a higher grade on their coursework.

Why do you think library work is important? 

In the academic world we are here to support student learning. The library plays a vital role in the retention of students. We are here for them to help them succeed.