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.


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.