Rachel is the Public Services Librarian at the Squamish Public Library. She grew up in Olympia, Washington, and has lived in a lot of places including New York, Boston, Madrid, Vancouver, and Whitehorse. She did her undergrad in creative writing, and received her MLIS from the University of British Columbia in 2018. She likes doing the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, thrifting, dancing in the kitchen, skiing and snowshoeing, good cappuccinos and flaky pastries.
Describe yourself in three words.
Puzzles, coffee, friends.
What’s an average day at your library?
An “average” day means a little bit of everything! Some of my regular tasks include ordering new nonfiction books and eBooks, helping patrons troubleshoot technology, planning adult programs, building partnerships with community organizations, conducting local history research and showing folks how to use our local history collection online, connecting community members to legal resources, circulation, weeding, cutting out paper hearts for displays, laughing with my coworkers, eating leftover cookies in the lunchroom, and lots more.
What was the first job you ever had?
I grew pumpkins in the summer for a few years when I was a really little kid (like, 5). Before Halloween, I would set up a stand downtown and sell my pumpkins to passers by. I made a killing! I don’t think my pumpkins were anything special, I was just a cute kid. Alas, I left my entrepreneurial ways for…less seasonally-dependent work as a librarian.
What was your first position in the library or information field?
Apart from a brief internship at the Boston Public Library, I worked at UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in the reading room. But, what feels like my first job was working as a Coop Librarian for Yukon Public Libraries, where I got to travel around the territory visiting community libraries and catching some amazing views while I was at it.
How do you stay up to date in your field?
I stay in touch with my friends from library school. Also Twitter and Instagram, blogs, and podcasts. Librarians are really good at banding together as nerds on the internet.
What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services?
Helping people. It’s the best feeling in the world when someone comes into the library for help with practically anything and we are able to answer their question, show them a solution, connect them to a resource, or point them in the right direction, ALL for free. It’s pretty amazing.
What are you reading or watching right now?
I just finished two books that I loved: John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies and Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind. I’m almost always watching The Great British Bake-Off.
If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing?
When I was a kid, I wanted to study bugs, which I still think would be pretty cool sometimes. The Bug Zoo in Victoria is one of my favorite places!
What aspect of library work are you most passionate about?
I think it’s pretty special that the library is working to create free access to information for everyone in the community. And it is one of the only places in the community where people from different backgrounds, ages, languages, cultures, identities, etc., inter-mingle and interact daily. Not to mention the non-stop amazing customer service I’ve experienced in every library I’ve ever been to.