Over the past ten years Kieren Bailey has had the opportunity to work as a librarian in both Canada and the United States. Her educational background is diverse: graphic design, library sciences, and learning sciences. She is currently the Chair and Librarian at Grande Prairie Regional College.
Describe yourself in three words.
Determined. Competitive. Loyal.
What’s an average day at your library?
I’ve been in this job now for a year now and I still haven’t figured out what an average day is. Honestly it probably depends on the time of semester. Some days are full of library instruction and research appointments; while others are filled with answering emails and attending meetings. Today I’ve done a little collection development, research, touching base with my staff and answering of emails.
What was the first job you ever had?
I started working in high school at McDonald’s. I did everything from cleaning, to flipping burgers and running the cash register.
What was your first position in the library or information field?
Technically, my first position in the library field was back as an undergraduate student working at the circulation desk at Walla Walla University. The interesting story behind that was I always said when I worked in the library that I was never becoming a librarian yet here I am 10 years into my career as a librarian and loving it. My first librarian role was at Burman University in Alberta when it was still CUC as a Technical Services/Systems Librarian.
How do you stay up to date in your field?
Having recently finished a doctorate in learning sciences which I was able to connect to library instruction I’m heavily engaged in that field of study still. I’m currently working on writing articles based on my research. I’m learning that I have to continue to stay up to date with the latest publications as this topic of using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) theoretical framework in writing courses is gaining ground in publications right now. I’m focusing on the research part of those writing courses and the implications that CoI has for informing and assessing library instruction. I also try present at least one conference a year. I like to stay connected to what is happening locally in academic librarianship by networking with fellow librarians in the province.
What are you reading or watching right now?
I just started watching Whiskey Cavalier which is a new action comedy-drama.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Never give up on your dream just because one individual doesn’t think you are suited to reach your ultimate goal.
What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk?
I like to display artwork from my nieces. 🙂
What is the most challenging part of your job?
I am a solo librarian. The difficulty comes making sure I pay attention to the administrative duties as the Chair of the Library as well as making time for faculty and students.
What do you think is the biggest challenge libraries face today?
I believe there are two major challenges currently in the academic library world: shrinking or stagnate budgets and striving to show what the value of an academic library is in a highly digital information world.
What aspect of library work are you most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about helping students learn how to do research. I always start a class session by letting the students know that I am their best friend when it comes to the area of research. I love it when students come back to tell me that because of my help they were able to achieve a higher grade on their coursework.
Why do you think library work is important?
In the academic world we are here to support student learning. The library plays a vital role in the retention of students. We are here for them to help them succeed.