Meet Lauren Jessop!

Lauren is the new CEO of the Barrie Public Library in Barrie, Ontario. Lauren has a degree in history from the University of Guelph and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Western University. Lauren lives just north of Barrie with her husband, two children, a cat, 7 fish and 3 chickens.

lauren

What’s the first job you ever had?

My first job was in a greenhouse cutting roses. It was very hot and very dirty and I was 13 years old. It really taught me the value of hard work and the value of money.

What was your first position in the library or information field?

When I went to university I was sure that I would earn my degree and go to teacher’s college. Around my third year, I started to think that might not be the path for me and I started investigating a Masters in Library and Information Science. However, before spending more money and time on a master’s degree I wanted to be sure it was right for me. I got a job as a Sunday clerk at the Bullfrog Mall Branch of Guelph Public Library. I loved that job!

What are you reading or watching right now?

I’m reading Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist. I have a goal to read 5 books over the summer and this is book two! I just finished The Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Jean E. Pendziwol and it was excellent.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing?

If I wasn’t a librarian I would likely be a professional photographer. I love photography and often take photos for family and friends. It’s a hobby that takes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

When an opportunity comes your way you have to take the chance. Sometimes others may believe in you more than you believe in yourself and you have to trust them. Staying in a job or in a city that’s comfortable is fine, but putting yourself out there and making the uncomfortable choice can often lead to the most personal and professional growth.

 

 

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Meet Mark Black!

Mark Black is the manager of the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives at the Banff Centre. He’s originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and wrote Going Nowhere (Invisible Publishing) about the punk bank NoMeansNo in 2012. He hopes to someday have a clean desk.

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How do you stay up to date in your field?

My library isn’t necessarily remote, but I do feel a little detached from colleagues at times because of our location and size. My go-tos – Library Journal, Twitter, Reddit, maintaining friendships with librarians smarter than me, LinkedIn (I hate it, but it is useful for sharing processional articles), and just trying to devour anything I can about libraries.

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work?

Connecting somebody to a resource/piece of information/work that they didn’t know existed (also conversely getting connected to something I didn’t know existed – love the recommendations I get at work). Either that or storytime.

What are you reading or watching right now?

I just finished Ronen Givony’s 33 1/3 book on Jawbreaker’s 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. Hoping to finally find some time to crack open Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow by Daniel Kahneman and if that doesn’t work out, I just checked out Human Acts by Han Kang.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Sometimes I think I can pin down the answer to this question and other days I haven’t a clue because I feel like I am constantly ignoring all the sensible advice I have received over the years. Recently I wished that I heeded, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” – translation: I have a big mouth.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk?

I could say baseball bobbleheads, but there’s nothing cool about an adult man chasing down sports nostalgia. On the door to my office is a sheep of flip chart paper that we use to ask our users to express what the library meant to them. It’s all positive and reaffirming and a nice reminder of what we mean to others. The best part of it is that it lets me know when the glass door to my office is closed, so I don’t walk straight into the door anymore.

Meet Derek Yap!

Derek Yap is a Systems Librarian and Cataloguer, part of the Library Services team at the Innovations Common at Yukon College. Coffee, travel and union activism keeps him busy outside of the library. He has lived in the North since 2002 and calls Whitehorse his home.

derek yap

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work? 

My favourite part of library work is helping people connect to resources they need to answer the question or questions they have. Nothing is more satisfying than hearing a student tell me that they aced an assignment!

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I am in the process of cataloguing a group of books acquired for our new Indigenous Governance program at Yukon College, and I can’t help but read them because of their perspectives on identity, sovereignty, and history. These books help me be a better ally in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, of which one in four attend Yukon College.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

There is all kinds of work out there, so be open to unexpected possibilities and opportunities.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

The living moss wall in our new Innovation Commons gives everyone who comes in something to talk about.

What makes you passionate about library work? 

Helping people and watching people grow makes me passionate about library work, and make coming into work every day a real pleasure.

Meet Patrick McCullagh!

Patrick McCullagh grew up in Ottawa and after exploring different career paths in Ottawa, Vancouver, and Montreal he settled down in Lethbridge, Alberta to become the Bookmobile Coordinator for the Lethbridge Public Library.

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What’s an average day at your library? 

An average day is getting the Bookmobile ready for the day. This includes gathering in-transit items, capturing holds, and getting the vehicle ready. Once we are ready to head out, the Bookmobile attends stops within the community to provide library services to the public.

What was the first job you ever had? 

I worked at La Bottega, an Italian deli and specialty food store in the Byward Market in Ottawa.

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

I volunteered while in library school but the first job I had was the Bookmobile Coordinator at Lethbridge Public Library.

How do you stay up to date in your field?

I read articles in library magazines, stay in touch with members of the community to understand their needs, and keep contact with my networks in other Canadian cities.

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work? 

I enjoy interacting with the community and providing them a service that they appreciate.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I am reading the Penn Case series by Greg Iles and Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing?

Running a social club that supports adults coming together to share experiences with each other.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

What is the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

A photo of my dog when he made the local paper. I love my dog!

What makes you passionate about library work? 

Getting the knowledge and the tools in the hands of the people who will change the world! Knowledge is Power!

Meet Paige McGeorge!

Paige McGeorge is the Teenbrarian at the Lethbridge Public Library. She can often be found running around the library with multi-coloured tape, a stripey Doctor Who scarf, and a stack of her favourite comics. And chocolate. Always chocolate.

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What was your first position in the library or information field? 

I was Paige the Page for two years! I shelved books in the children’s department, and suffered endless puns about my name.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

Social media, and digging into the news and opinions that people are posting is a big thing. If something grabs my attention on Twitter, I’ll do some research, finding the original article, and seeing what else is behind it. I miss having full text access to academic journals – I have to rely upon the kindness of my university librarian friends to read those articles now. I’m also endlessly grateful to my colleagues from DAL – we’re always exchanging ideas and crowd-sourcing ways to make our libraries better.

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services?

Connecting a patron with just the right book at just the right time. I love helping teens find a new series, or recommending piles of cookbooks to someone looking for new recipes. I’m hugely passionate about making sure our community has access to quality LGBTQA+ books – both stories and information – and making sure the teens I serve can get good sex ed info out of our nonfiction collection.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I just finished The Brightsiders, about a queer teen punk bank in LA. I also read a tonne of comics – Papers Girls and Giant Days are my two current favourites. For TV, Somebody Feed Phil is the perfect antidote to the bleakness of world news right now. It’s a Netflix documentary where Phil Rosenthal visits cities around the world, eating delicious food and meeting the people who make it. It’s unbelievably heartwarming.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

I have a stress relief Black Knight (from Monty Python and the Holy Grail). His arms and legs are attached with Velcro, so you can rip them off when you get annoyed. I also keep angry notes about the teen collection pinned to my bulletin board – if someone’s complaining about the queer or feminist books, I know I’m doing a good job.

Meet Sarah Gallagher!

Sarah is the Outreach Librarian at Yukon Public Libraries. When not talking, writing or thinking about library stuff, you can find her trying out new ways to cook wild meat, making sourdough bread, or helping out her husband at their tattoo shop in downtown Whitehorse.

sarah

What’s an average day at your library? 

There isn’t an average day at the public library! I do everything from buying materials and working the reference desk, to planning programs and mentoring staff, to building relationships with patrons and the community, and loads in between. Every day requires some mix of intellectual focus and creative problem-solving. There is never a dull moment and that is what I love about it.

What was the first job you ever had? 

Working in a cafe when I was 16. I would go on to work in food and beverage for the next 15 years. There are a surprisingly large amount of parallels between bar-tending and working the reference desk at a public library.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I have several graphic novel series on the go, and am listening to “We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates on OverDrive.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

I would open a food truck.

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

A cross-stitch of Lying Cat from the graphic novel series “Saga” that my husband had commissioned.

What makes you passionate about library work? 

The fact that the public library is one of the last institutions that truly strives to be inclusive and accessible for all citizens. It’s a radical idea these days, and it shouldn’t be. It is my mission to make it known to everyone in the community that the library is there for them.

Meet Erin Suliak!

Erin Suliak is the Territorial Archivist at the NWT Archives in Yellowknife. She was born in Yellowknife and proud to be raising her young family in the north.

ESuliak_NWTA

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

During my undergrad in Linguistics at UVic I worked for my department’s faculty digitizing their linguistic field recordings. I knew I had found my calling while I helped preserve and make those priceless recordings accessible. Working with indigenous language recordings remains a passion of mine.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

Listservs, conferences, journals and colleagues are my main sources.

What is your favourite part of library, archive, or information services work? 

I love so many aspects of my work, but connecting people to their personal history is particularly rewarding. I call our photograph holdings the NWT’s family photo album, and it is so great to help people find their loved ones in our collection.

What’s an average day at your library/archives? 

There’s always something new coming up! On any given day we’re fielding questions and orders from researchers by phone, email and in person, conducting tours, processing archival collections, working with our conservator on preservation issues, working with government offices on records and information issues, and developing partnerships with other organizations. I also have the pleasure of working with future donors who are interested in preserving their records for generations to come.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

I am a non-fiction junkie and have a massive pile of books on design and fibre art techniques by my bedside table.

Meet John Mutford!

John Mutford is currently the manager of the Yellowknife Public Library but he came to the north as a teacher back in 2001. He is married with 2 teenage kids and a cat.

john

What’s an average day at the library? 

I’m not sure there is such a thing! Typical duties include: budgeting, scheduling, supervising, collection maintenance, and whether or not these get addressed depends entirely on what else has landed in my lap. It’s the unknowns that keep it exciting though.

What was the first job you ever had? 

For a tour boat company at 16. It was the first time, seeing how entranced tourists were, that I started not taking the beauty of Newfoundland for granted.

How do you stay up to date in your field? 

Social media, professional books, conferences, peers.

What is your favourite part of library work? 

Rounding out the more niche or under-represented areas in our collection. I want everyone to see themselves in our stacks, to feel valued and not alone.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

Travelling

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

Become a librarian!

What’s the coolest thing in your office or on your desk? 

An autographed Fleetwood Mac Rumours CD

What makes you passionate about library work? 

Decreasing the hurdles to information so everyone has access.

 

 

 

 

Meet Anne Walsh!

We are starting a new series of interviews featuring great library workers from around the North and beyond. If you would like to be featured or know someone who would be great to interview please email mclark@yellowknife.ca

For our very first interview, meet Anne Walsh! Anne is the manager of library and information services at Aurora College in Yellowknife.

anne

What was the first job you ever had? 

I was a cashier at Woolco when I was 16 and in my first year of university.

What was your first position in the library or information field? 

I worked part time in the library in Kincardine, Ontario. They were part of a county system and had no library catalog. If you wanted to check if something was supposed to be on the shelf, you had to call the main Library Branch, long-distance, and they looked up the CD-Rom catalog. This was approximately 1988ish.

What are you reading or watching right now? 

As per usual, a Scandinavian mystery. They have been my favourite for about 20 years now, way before the Dragon Tattoo. I keep finding more authors.

If you didn’t work in information services, what do you think you’d be doing? 

I would love to be a textile artist, but the pay isn’t the greatest… 😦

I knit, sew, quilt, weave, and make things with fabrics/textiles/yarns, etc.

What makes you passionate about library work? 

I love helping people find the information they need.

AGM Notification

The 2018 AGM of the NWT Library Association will be held on Saturday, February 17 at 1:00 pm in the Yellowknife Public Library meeting room. Membership forms are available here (and at the meeting) and fees have not changed. New members are always welcome, so please feel free to pass this message along to colleagues who are not currently members. Any library and archives workers and supporters of those are invited to attend and join. Institutional memberships are also available.

We will be holding elections for the Executive this year. All positions are up for election and we need at least one new Executive member, as John and Trish are both stepping down. (Louise and Elizabeth have reached the end of their current two-year terms and intend to run for re-election.)

Please let Elizabeth know if you have any nominations or any agenda items to bring forward. Elizabeth will send out an agenda later this month, along with a proxy form for those who can’t attend.