Monique is an Information Services Librarian for the Winnipeg Public Library.
Describe yourself in three words.
Passionate. Emotional. Hopeful.
What’s an average day at your library?
Most days I spend a half day “on desk” and a half-off. Every day is different. I may be programming, working collaboratively in meetings, meeting with non-profit organizations, editing information guides, thinking about spaces on the floor I work, developing passive programming to support our patron’s needs…
What was the first job you ever had?
When I was 16 I worked at a fruit stand. I don’t remember it as particularly bad or particularly good.
What was your first position in the library or information field?
I had a summer job after the first year of my MLIS with the Government of Manitoba’s “educational library” (i.e., for teachers). I weeded and recommended purchase for their multicultural collection.
How do you stay up to date in your field?
Some journal reading – lately Library Trends. I check out The Partnership EI webinars from time to time. Twitter for sure, #critlib. It changes depending on what I’m working on or thinking about in a given year. I follow a lot of Indigenous library, museum, archival workers. I like to think their perspectives on their fields inform what I (try) to do or support in my own practice.
What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work?
Working with patrons, including organizations. I love hearing peoples’ stories, what they’re working on, what’s going on in their lives or work that I can try to help with.
What are you reading or watching right now?
Reading: Stolen City: Racial Capitalism and the Making of Winnipeg by Owen Toews – it is a game changer in terms of understanding the specifics of settler colonialism where I live. And The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance by Anders Rydell. Great read. The evidence against many of Germany’s librarians at the time is horrifying.
If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing?
That’s hard! Whatever it was it would have to be some kind of teaching component to it. Art curation and city planning keep bubbling up.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Do the thing you’re scared of first.
What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk?
I have a little plastic trophy with my nickname “Mo” on it that was given to me by the Indigenous Writers’ Collective here in Winnipeg. And I have a Canadian flag given to me by artist Helene Vosters that has READ THE TRC embroidered across it. I love them both.
What makes you passionate about library work?
I want to live in a world where all peoples’ physical and social needs are met, where people feel a sense of connectedness and responsibility for one another. We are a long way off from this. When we are at our best, those of us who practice librarianship can be among the people who provide the information and spaces that make those connections a possibility.
Why do you think library work is important?
See above. 🙂