Meet Nicole Eva!

Nicole Eva has been a librarian at the University of Lethbridge since receiving her MLIS as a second career in August 2008. She liaises with many different academic units and is involved with instruction, collections management, reference, and scholarly communications. She often wonders how she didn’t realize she belonged in libraries earlier.

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What’s an average day at your library?

Crazy. Often running from meeting to class to the reference desk with very little “in-office” time to catch up on the flurry of emails. Every day is different, but that’s part of what I love about my job – never boring!

What was the first job you ever had? 

Bussing tables at the Sands Hotel in Saskatoon.

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

This one!

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

I scan the table of contents of both library journals and journals in the subject areas I liaise with, and print those I want to read in-depth. At any time I probably have 25-50 articles in my “to read” pile. I also follow several librarians on Twitter who are often sharing great blog posts and articles, and I read Brain-Work blog from the U of S-based Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (C-EBLIP). I’m also on many different listservs, and attend at least a couple of conferences every year as well.

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

I love seeing the range of research people are doing in an academic environment, from undergraduates to professors. Reference questions are always enlightening to new topics and ideas that I may not have encountered before. I really enjoy helping people at the reference desk because they are always so thankful for the help.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

Watching – The Amazing Race Canada! (yes, I’m an old-school TV watcher).

Reading – The Harry Potter series to my six year old!

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

Probably either still toiling away in advertising or maybe freelance writing or editing.

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

I received a lot of encouragement and suggestions on things to publish and present from a (now-retired) colleague which I think established good habits for me early on and has helped me advance in my academic career.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

The Nuts About Work Librarian figurine my mom got me when I became a librarian. 🙂

What makes you passionate about library work?

I love helping people, I love being in an academic environment, and I think libraries of all kinds are critical to an equal and just society. Universities couldn’t function without academic libraries and the access they provide, but I actually think public libraries are even more important with all of the services and resources they provide to anyone who walks through their doors. I’ve been a heavy public library user since I was a small child and I continue to be one today, and happily can say that my child has become one too.

 

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Meet Megan Siu!

Megan is the Community Development & Education Specialist at the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA). In her free time, she enjoys making and eating food and often does both simultaneously. She is also that one library friend of yours who is allergic to cats.

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

I was a part-time library assistant at the Alberta Law Libraries – Edmonton Reference location. It was during my undergrad and I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was fixated on having some sort of law-related career… little did I know, it was right under my nose!

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

“Library land” is very active on twitter, so I scroll through my newsfeed at least once a week. Feel free to follow me – @megscellany! I also stay connected by being involved in library associations at the local, regional, and national levels. Library associations offer many opportunities to network and expand your knowledge and skill set.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I’m watching a cartoon series from a decade or so ago called, “Harry Birdman, Attorney at Law.” If you’re familiar with the 1960s Hanna-Barbera superhero, “Birdman,” it’s him, but he’d a criminal defense attorney and his former nemeses are also attorneys, so they fight each other in court.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

There was a point when I decided to hang some art in my office, so I commissioned my local artist friend, Riley (https://rileytenove.space) to paint something for me. I didn’t know what to ask him to paint, so he did an acrylic surrealistic version of what you see when you stand up and look through my office window, which is essentially the backs and rooftops of some buildings and a parking lot. I appreciate that Riley has a knack for featuring things in his art that might otherwise be overlooked.

What makes you passionate about library work? 

Librarians and information professionals bridge the gaps between people and information. We don’t necessarily know everything, but we’re good at finding things and sifting through the plethora of information out there. I love that I can have a career that involves being a professional nerd and connecting with people.

Meet Riel Gallant!

Riel is the Legislative Librarian at the Nunavut Legislative Library.

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What’s an average day at the library? 

It varies depending on the time of year. We’re busy when the Legislative Assembly is in session. We get many reference questions and document requests, while making the new Legislative documents that we receive available to the public. When the Assembly isn’t in session, we spend most of our time on collection development, cataloguing, administration, maintaining our e-repository collection, responding to reference questions and preparing for the next sitting of the Assembly. Over the past year we’ve been dedicating a lot of our time to migrating to a new Integrated Library System (ILS).

What was the first job you ever had? 

Delivering newspapers (Journal Pioneer – PEI) in my hometown when I was 13.

What do you do to stay up to date in your field? 

I try to read as much as I can online. I pay close attention to what other legislative libraries in Canada are doing through our professional association (APLIC) and when I hear about something new that could apply to our library I start doing research on the topic. I tend to avoid online courses and workshops that stream video because of the slow internet speeds in Nunavut, but that could change as bandwidth infrastructure in the territory improves.

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

I enjoy the systems side of the library and information management field, so I could see myself working in the IT or web design field. However, I think I would really miss answering reference questions and doing historical research.

Meet Gerry Burla!

Gerry Burla is the Legislative Librarian at the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. He and his family relocated to Yellowknife last summer and this is the latest endeavour which has seen Gerry and his wife, Tammy, assume roles in Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Even though the family spent the last 12 years in Saskatchewan, they do have northern roots. Tatyana, 17, was born in Fort Vermillion, AB and Mayuko, 15, was born in Whitehorse, YT.

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

When I was eighteen, I worked for a summer for the Lakehead Board of Education in Thunder Bay cataloguing materials and organizing shelving units for a new school that was built that year.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I really enjoy reading travelogues, but if the story is interesting, I will read just about anything. Currently, I am flipping through Christina Laflamme’s Flip Flop Fantasy, her solo travels from Toronto to the Cabot Trail by bicycle.

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

Probably be working in the environmental or GIS fields. I was interning with Fire Management and the Environment Directorate when it was suggested I consider pursuing information sciences.

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

I am paraphrasing, of course, but “be fearless.”

Know your environment, your clients, and your goals and do not be afraid to fail. Just keep moving. ~ Sheryl Pelletier, Librarian, Shannon Sexsmith Municipal Library

Carry on, carrying on. After all, it’s just library work. Babies are not going to die if we have to try again. ~ Maureen Woods, Executive Director, SILS Consortium

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

I would have to say the “Pool Noodle of Discipline.” It is a pool noodle tricked out like a Star Wars light sabre that I brought with me from my days working with the Saskatchewan Information and Library Services Consortium. We used them to duel over disputes during meetings in a playful and remarkably effective way.

Meet Lauren Jessop!

Lauren is the new CEO of the Barrie Public Library in Barrie, Ontario. Lauren has a degree in history from the University of Guelph and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Western University. Lauren lives just north of Barrie with her husband, two children, a cat, 7 fish and 3 chickens.

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What’s the first job you ever had?

My first job was in a greenhouse cutting roses. It was very hot and very dirty and I was 13 years old. It really taught me the value of hard work and the value of money.

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

When I went to university I was sure that I would earn my degree and go to teacher’s college. Around my third year, I started to think that might not be the path for me and I started investigating a Masters in Library and Information Science. However, before spending more money and time on a master’s degree I wanted to be sure it was right for me. I got a job as a Sunday clerk at the Bullfrog Mall Branch of Guelph Public Library. I loved that job!

What are you reading or watching right now?

I’m reading Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist. I have a goal to read 5 books over the summer and this is book two! I just finished The Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Jean E. Pendziwol and it was excellent.

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

If I wasn’t a librarian I would likely be a professional photographer. I love photography and often take photos for family and friends. It’s a hobby that takes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me.

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

When an opportunity comes your way you have to take the chance. Sometimes others may believe in you more than you believe in yourself and you have to trust them. Staying in a job or in a city that’s comfortable is fine, but putting yourself out there and making the uncomfortable choice can often lead to the most personal and professional growth.

 

 

Meet Mark Black!

Mark Black is the manager of the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives at the Banff Centre. He’s originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and wrote Going Nowhere (Invisible Publishing) about the punk bank NoMeansNo in 2012. He hopes to someday have a clean desk.

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How do you stay up to date in your field?

My library isn’t necessarily remote, but I do feel a little detached from colleagues at times because of our location and size. My go-tos – Library Journal, Twitter, Reddit, maintaining friendships with librarians smarter than me, LinkedIn (I hate it, but it is useful for sharing processional articles), and just trying to devour anything I can about libraries.

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

Connecting somebody to a resource/piece of information/work that they didn’t know existed (also conversely getting connected to something I didn’t know existed – love the recommendations I get at work). Either that or storytime.

What are you reading or watching right now?

I just finished Ronen Givony’s 33 1/3 book on Jawbreaker’s 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. Hoping to finally find some time to crack open Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow by Daniel Kahneman and if that doesn’t work out, I just checked out Human Acts by Han Kang.

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

Sometimes I think I can pin down the answer to this question and other days I haven’t a clue because I feel like I am constantly ignoring all the sensible advice I have received over the years. Recently I wished that I heeded, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” – translation: I have a big mouth.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk?

I could say baseball bobbleheads, but there’s nothing cool about an adult man chasing down sports nostalgia. On the door to my office is a sheep of flip chart paper that we use to ask our users to express what the library meant to them. It’s all positive and reaffirming and a nice reminder of what we mean to others. The best part of it is that it lets me know when the glass door to my office is closed, so I don’t walk straight into the door anymore.

Meet Derek Yap!

Derek Yap is a Systems Librarian and Cataloguer, part of the Library Services team at the Innovations Common at Yukon College. Coffee, travel and union activism keeps him busy outside of the library. He has lived in the North since 2002 and calls Whitehorse his home.

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

My favourite part of library work is helping people connect to resources they need to answer the question or questions they have. Nothing is more satisfying than hearing a student tell me that they aced an assignment!

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I am in the process of cataloguing a group of books acquired for our new Indigenous Governance program at Yukon College, and I can’t help but read them because of their perspectives on identity, sovereignty, and history. These books help me be a better ally in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, of which one in four attend Yukon College.

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

There is all kinds of work out there, so be open to unexpected possibilities and opportunities.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

The living moss wall in our new Innovation Commons gives everyone who comes in something to talk about.

What makes you passionate about library work? 

Helping people and watching people grow makes me passionate about library work, and make coming into work every day a real pleasure.

Meet Patrick McCullagh!

Patrick McCullagh grew up in Ottawa and after exploring different career paths in Ottawa, Vancouver, and Montreal he settled down in Lethbridge, Alberta to become the Bookmobile Coordinator for the Lethbridge Public Library.

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What’s an average day at your library? 

An average day is getting the Bookmobile ready for the day. This includes gathering in-transit items, capturing holds, and getting the vehicle ready. Once we are ready to head out, the Bookmobile attends stops within the community to provide library services to the public.

What was the first job you ever had? 

I worked at La Bottega, an Italian deli and specialty food store in the Byward Market in Ottawa.

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

I volunteered while in library school but the first job I had was the Bookmobile Coordinator at Lethbridge Public Library.

How do you stay up to date in your field?

I read articles in library magazines, stay in touch with members of the community to understand their needs, and keep contact with my networks in other Canadian cities.

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

I enjoy interacting with the community and providing them a service that they appreciate.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I am reading the Penn Case series by Greg Iles and Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk.

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

Running a social club that supports adults coming together to share experiences with each other.

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

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

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

A photo of my dog when he made the local paper. I love my dog!

What makes you passionate about library work? 

Getting the knowledge and the tools in the hands of the people who will change the world! Knowledge is Power!

Meet Paige McGeorge!

Paige McGeorge is the Teenbrarian at the Lethbridge Public Library. She can often be found running around the library with multi-coloured tape, a stripey Doctor Who scarf, and a stack of her favourite comics. And chocolate. Always chocolate.

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

I was Paige the Page for two years! I shelved books in the children’s department, and suffered endless puns about my name.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

Social media, and digging into the news and opinions that people are posting is a big thing. If something grabs my attention on Twitter, I’ll do some research, finding the original article, and seeing what else is behind it. I miss having full text access to academic journals – I have to rely upon the kindness of my university librarian friends to read those articles now. I’m also endlessly grateful to my colleagues from DAL – we’re always exchanging ideas and crowd-sourcing ways to make our libraries better.

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

Connecting a patron with just the right book at just the right time. I love helping teens find a new series, or recommending piles of cookbooks to someone looking for new recipes. I’m hugely passionate about making sure our community has access to quality LGBTQA+ books – both stories and information – and making sure the teens I serve can get good sex ed info out of our nonfiction collection.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I just finished The Brightsiders, about a queer teen punk bank in LA. I also read a tonne of comics – Papers Girls and Giant Days are my two current favourites. For TV, Somebody Feed Phil is the perfect antidote to the bleakness of world news right now. It’s a Netflix documentary where Phil Rosenthal visits cities around the world, eating delicious food and meeting the people who make it. It’s unbelievably heartwarming.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

I have a stress relief Black Knight (from Monty Python and the Holy Grail). His arms and legs are attached with Velcro, so you can rip them off when you get annoyed. I also keep angry notes about the teen collection pinned to my bulletin board – if someone’s complaining about the queer or feminist books, I know I’m doing a good job.

Meet Sarah Gallagher!

Sarah is the Outreach Librarian at Yukon Public Libraries. When not talking, writing or thinking about library stuff, you can find her trying out new ways to cook wild meat, making sourdough bread, or helping out her husband at their tattoo shop in downtown Whitehorse.

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What’s an average day at your library? 

There isn’t an average day at the public library! I do everything from buying materials and working the reference desk, to planning programs and mentoring staff, to building relationships with patrons and the community, and loads in between. Every day requires some mix of intellectual focus and creative problem-solving. There is never a dull moment and that is what I love about it.

What was the first job you ever had? 

Working in a cafe when I was 16. I would go on to work in food and beverage for the next 15 years. There are a surprisingly large amount of parallels between bar-tending and working the reference desk at a public library.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I have several graphic novel series on the go, and am listening to “We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates on OverDrive.

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

I would open a food truck.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

A cross-stitch of Lying Cat from the graphic novel series “Saga” that my husband had commissioned.

What makes you passionate about library work? 

The fact that the public library is one of the last institutions that truly strives to be inclusive and accessible for all citizens. It’s a radical idea these days, and it shouldn’t be. It is my mission to make it known to everyone in the community that the library is there for them.