Branch Librarian, Legends Centre Branch, Oshawa Public Libraries
A hero who has inspired you in your career?
Readers’s Advisory (RA) librarian extraordinaire Sharron Smith. She teaches the RA course at Western University, and it was an amazing class. You can tell Sharron loves her work and books, and she certainly inspired me to work in RA, which is still my favourite area of librarianship.
The first job you ever held and at what age?
Working as a receptionist in my dad’s office. I was 14 or 15, I think.
Your first position in the library and/or information services field?
A three-month contract as a Summer Library Student with the University Health Network library in Toronto. I worked mainly at the branch at the Toronto General, with occasional stints at the Princess Margaret and Toronto Western.
Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?
Four note cards with artwork by a now-retired librarian from Oshawa. Eric has also done drawings of several staff at the library, and I’m his next subject!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Video games all the way. My husband and I have an Xbox 360, PS3, and a gaming computer, so I’m pretty well covered (and we’ll be upgrading soon)! I get to say my guilty pleasure is “work-related,” though, since I order the video games for my library’s collection!
Career advice – what’s your top tip?
Be open to learning as much as you can and do what you enjoy. I was once the Local History and Genealogy Librarian at Oshawa Public Libraries, and I learned so much. I had very little genealogy experience, but I wanted to understand the process and put myself in other people’s shoes so I started researching my husband’s genealogy. I ordered records from the UK and did some serious detective work, which came in handy when helping library customers with their questions. I ended up loving the work, and still do research when I get the chance.
My first “library” love is RA, though, so regardless of the job I have, anytime a customer has an RA-related question, I’m all over it!
What useless skill(s) do you possess?
I like to think none of my skills are useless.
Proudest moment in your professional life?
I had a regular customer at the library ask me about writing a thank-you note after a job interview. He had some trouble putting down his thoughts, so I gave him some tips, then didn’t see him for a while. About a month or so later, he came back into the library, and thanked me for helping him with the thank-you note. He got the job! He hadn’t been to the library in some time because he was now commuting to Mississauga, but he was so happy he got the job, he didn’t care about the distance. His visit that afternoon definitely made my day and it still touches me that he thought to thank me.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it?
Taking a leisurely ferry ride along the Thames River in London, UK, with my husband and two dogs, Molly and Chili.
If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?
I’d still be editing fiction (the career I had before I became a librarian). I love working with books (print or electronic!), and I was always so proud of the books I edited. Truth be told, I still do the odd edit when I have the time, and when I read for pleasure, my editing mind always takes over at some point.
Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “
Work with books. Seriously! I remember a friend in high school telling me she pictured me sitting in a dark boardroom discussing books. It wasn’t until I was in a meeting in Harlequin’s main boardroom, which was dark and wood panelled, that I realized she’d been right!
How do you stay current in your field?
I try to read the usual library-related magazines/publications and subscribe to several newsletters. I also follow several librarians and libraries on Twitter, and use Feedly for reading several blogs and newsletters on libraries, publishing, and technology. Conferences are great motivators for me, too. My husband, who works in IT, is also always interested in new technology and changes in the field, so I’ll often hear new things from him, too (he’s my own personal newsfeed!).
What would you like your headstone to read?
I’ve actually never considered having a headstone, but I hopefully have a long time to wait before I’ll need one!