Brian is the NWT Territorial Librarian. He has worked in the library profession for over 27 years and worked with NWT Public Library Services in Hay River for 25 plus years. As part of his job, he has had the fortunate opportunity to travel to the majority of the NWT communities.
What was your first position in the library or information field?
My first job is the library field was overseeing a retrospective conversion project of the old card catalog to online MARC format for a regional library system in Alberta. I was the cataloguing supervisor and also the cataloguer doing all of the original cataloguing.
What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work?
Being able to see a local, long time community member become the public librarian and excelling in their new job is a great feeling. Public Library Services has a great team of staff that offer behind the scenes support, training, and expertise to make this possible.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I still remember the encouragement I received from my very first boss in the library profession. That was a long time ago. I have forgotten the exact words but the message has stayed with me throughout my career.
Getting good grades feels good – but it is what you accomplish after the education that counts. Learn to make decisions and learn to delegate. Trust your staff – give them the opportunity to grow and to make mistakes.
I’ve been fortunate to have great bosses during my career who have given me the freedom to work independently and to make decisions and to grow and to make mistakes. I have succeeded because of this and I strive to be this type of boss to my employees.
What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk?
The coolest thing on my desk right now is 15 children’s books in braille. These books will be catalogued and shipped to Yellowknife Public Library to be part of their library collection. These books were produced by Vision Impaired Resources Network (VIRN) and National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS).
What makes you passionate about library work?
Being able to start a public library for a small, remote community without a public library is an exciting opportunity that not too many librarians have the chance to experience. Having the challenge of creating a new public library from the very beginning stage is a very rewarding experience.