Curator, Books at the Canadian Centre for Architecture

Job identification
Job Title: Curator, Books

Division: Collection

Immediate superior: Associate Director, Collection

Status: Permanent, full time (35hrs/week)

Posting period: April 17 to May 16, 2018

Job entry: June 2018

Job Summary
The key responsibilities of this job are to develop a coherent long term strategy for library acquisitions that relates to the curatorial direction and other Collection acquisitions. The incumbent plans, coordinates and manages all aspects of the acquisition of library collection materials. In doing so, the incumbent collaborates actively with the curatorial, editorial, collection and research divisions, as well as with the bookstore and Collection team.

Key responsibilities
Library acquisitions

  • In collaboration with the curatorial, editorial, collection and research divisions, coordinates, plans, develops and manages all aspects of the acquisition of the library collection, and proposes lines of investigation and acquisition
  • Manages and coordinates in collaboration with the Associate Director, Collection, the international exchange program of publications, in relation to curatorial projects and Collection acquisitions
  • Collaborates closely with the bookstore staff on ordering and on curatorial selections to be presented
  • Actively scouts for new publishers, distributors and vendors
  • Manages and monitors the library acquisition operations and budgets
  • Supervises the Acquisition, Assistant and works closely with the Head, Collection Access to improve access to the Collection
  • Prepares customs documentation and negotiate with brokers and delivery firms
  • Manages the standing order plan, selecting series titles for standing order, setting up standing orders and traces multi-volume sets and series to complete library holdings
  • Deals with donors who wish to donate material, providing or arranging evaluations as required

Collection development strategy

  • Works closely with curatorial, editorial and research staff in discussing their projects and develops a coherent collection development strategy that responds to CCA’s diverse and changing research needs
  • Collaborates with CCA Bookstore staff to maintain currency in recent publications and to exchange information on publications
  • Participates in the testing, evaluation, approval and implementation of new software and upgrades to the Library’s integrated online system

Required qualifications

  • Education: Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree from an ALA‑accredited institution and an (under) graduate degree in the history of architecture or art or a related discipline in the humanities
  • Number of years of relevant work experience: 3 to 5 years
  • Excellent knowledge of spoken and written French and English is essential
  • Good understanding of the contemporary debate in architecture
  • Excellent research skills
  • Familiarity with architectural bibliography
  • Facility in handling fragile and precious collection materials
  • Good understanding of electronic publishing and digital developments
  • Good understanding of the out of print book market
  • Good understanding of acquisition databases

Visit the CCA website for full details

Closes: 16 May, 2018

OCAD U Archivist (5 Month Contract)

Position Summary:
Reporting to the Head, Visual Resources & Special Collections, the Archivist supports the university archives by providing archival research, reference, and digitization services within a collaborative service model, and working with the Head on digitization projects and archival research services, to meet the university’s information needs and strategic priorities.

Summary of Responsibilities :

  • Provide services in alignment with Archives policies and procedures to the university, external researchers, and the public
  • Collaborate with Visual Resources & Special Collections staff to provide digital reproduction services in accordance with institutional fair-dealing policies, archival rights management principles, and copyright legislation
  • Support the Head of Visual Resources & Special Collections, and other Library staff in related tasks that contribute to the successful operation of the department

Qualifications:

  • Graduate degree in Archival Studies, Information Management, or Library and Information Studies from an ALA-accredited institution, and a minimum of one (1) year of related experience in an academic library supporting teaching, learning and research
  • Knowledge of historical and contemporary art and design
  • Thorough understanding of principles, methods and techniques for managing archival records
  • Current knowledge of records and document management-related technologies, preservation technologies, in addition to digital imaging and digitization technologies
  • Strong service-orientation and problem-solving skills, including demonstrated creativity and initiative in responding to reference and research requests
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Exceptional time-management skills, with the ability to manage concurrent projects, while maintaining on-demand reference and research services
  • An advanced understanding of rights management principles and of applying copyright legislation within the context of diverse art and design practices at the university level
  • Demonstrated commitment to the principles of equity and diversity, and proven ability to deal effectively with a diverse
  • Population

Compensation: $37.57 to $49.20 per hour, plus 4% vacation pay and 6% in lieu of benefits.

Hours of Work: Monday to Friday, for a total of 35 hours per week. This contract is expected to begin immediately for five (5) months.

Application Deadline: Interested applicants are invited to submit an updated resume, with a cover letter by selecting “Apply for this Position” below, no later than Friday, April 13, 2018 by 4pm.

Click here for more details

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Library Practicum

Program Overview

The Library Practicum program is designed for new library professionals with a background in the arts. This hands-on experience allows individuals an opportunity to work with the Librarian to receive direct mentorship on collection management, cataloging, outreach, public program development, and public service. Candidates will receive a general overview of the activities of the library with introductions to all aspects of the library.

What does the program offer?

This role complements studies in outreach and embedded librarianship and will primarily focus on the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives‘ collection of artists’ books. Practical experience includes the cataloguing and assessment of items in that collection and the creation of public programs for the library.

Learning opportunities will arise through attendance at lectures, workshops, and events related to arts programming at Banff Centre. Benefits to participants include enhanced practical librarianship skills, as well as opportunities for critical thinking, problem-solving, and learning from an experienced library team. Participants will also have the opportunity to do personal research activities as outlined in their learning objectives and project proposal.

Who should apply?

Practicum placements are appropriate for recent graduates of Master in Library and Information Science programs who also possess a degree or have experience in the arts and an interest in artists’ books, cataloguing, and public program development. This is an opportunity for a new professional to gain experience and expand and develop their careers and capabilities. This program requires a full-time commitment.

See the website for more information! An Archives Practicum position is also available.

Application deadline for both positions is February 14, 2018.

Systems Librarian – Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, Quebec

Job Identification

Job title: Systems Librarian
Division: Collection
Immediate superior: Head, Collection Access
Status: Permanent, full time (35hrs/week)
Posting period: January 26 to February 18, 2018
Job entry: As soon as possible

Job Summary

The responsibilities of this job are to provide technical expertise, day-to-day administration, and broad support for traditional and emerging software solutions and standards necessary for optimal management and access of the CCA Collection (library, archives, prints & drawings, and photography).

The incumbent will work closely with the IT department, the Web team, Collection staff, and vendor technical support to manage Collection and related systems with a primary focus on the integrated library system (SirsiDynix Horizon). The Systems Librarian is also expected to contribute to activities related to the development and implementation of search tools for the website and to collaborate in the management of the system used for other parts of the Collection, including the archives (Gallery Systems TMS).

For full details, visit the CCA website

2018 ARLIS/NA Ontario Travel Award Deadline Extended!

The deadline for the applications of the 2018 ARLIS/NA Ontario Travel Award to attend “Out of Bounds”, the annual ARLIS/NA conference in New York City, February 25 – March 1, 2018 (originally announced November 11, 2017) has been extended until Sunday, January 21st, 2018.

All are welcome to apply.  Students, new professionals and ARLIS/NA Ontario members are strongly encouraged.

For details and eligibility, please visit the website (note that the date has not yet been updated to reflect the extension) or email arlisna.ontario@gmail.com.

Canadian [Emerging] Librarians Spotlight: An Interview with Marianne Williams

What is the name of the employer/institution you work for?

The University of Arkansas Fayetteville, located on the cusp of the Ozark National Forest in breathtaking northwest Arkansas.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, your current position, and how you got into the field of art librarianship?

During my undergrad at Carleton University in Canadian Studies and Art History, I worked a bunch of part-time library jobs around campus, including at CKCU FM, the Sexual Diversity Centre and the School for the Study of Art and Culture. I initially got into librarianship because I was interested in activism in GLBTQ+ communities, and did a fellowship at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn after graduation, and then returned to Canada to do my Masters of Information and Museum Studies degrees at the University of Toronto. After I graduated, I got an amazing full-time, year-long practicum at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, which confirmed that art librarianship was the right path for me, since I loved working with artists and collaborating with my peers to do research and other interesting projects. After that year, I became interested in doing library residencies and travelling a bit, so I started looking for jobs that combined my interests in teaching, art and librarianship, and ended up accepting an offer to be the Librarian-in-Residence at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

What brought you to your current position?

I wanted the opportunity to teach students and to work at a public research university, and the University of Arkansas offers a great Librarian-in-Residence program designed to be an entry level position into academic librarianship. As the Resident, I get faculty status, but get to design my own rotations in various areas of the libraries system that I’m interested in. Right now, I’m conducting research on diversity and inclusion in the library profession while working in the Reference and Instruction department, where I teach one shot instruction sessions and work on reference requests. In 2018, I will do projects in the Fine Arts Library and in the Special Collections department, followed by a longer research project. The variety and independent structure of the Residency program appealed to me, and I have the collaborative and enthusiastic support of a great faculty, too.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

I start my day with a quick scan of headlines and current events, I check Twitter and scroll though messages from art and library related listservs. Then I think of ways that I might include those issues and ideas into instruction or other potential projects, like research guides or organizing public panels. Sometimes this gives me ideas about what materials to select for collection development. Currently, I’m doing a lot of research on information literacy and diversity, so I try to read 2-5 articles a day on those topics and take notes, I try to spend at least an hour or so writing. I also serve on a couple of cross-campus committees, and coming up with information literacy resources for some different instructors on campus, so I might spend a couple of hours designing a one-shot session, an assignment or lesson plan for those, attending meetings about those projects, or actually delivering instruction. I also work reference desk and chat shifts and edit and modify Research Guides quite regularly. I don’t necessarily have a typical day, but these are the main components I try to do.

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market? As an emerging librarian, what are the most important things you think your peers should know?

It’s different for everyone, but finding mentors in and outside of librarianship has been the most helpful and important thing in my emerging professional life, as well as maintaining friendships in all different areas of my life. The more people who care about you who send you job postings, the better. The more people who are willing to look over your CV or proofread your cover letter before you submit it, the better. The more people rooting for you, the better. And always return the favour!

What were/are some challenges for you as a new professional? What do you think are current challenges in the field of art librarianship or librarianship in general, particularly within Canada?

I think one of the biggest challenges in librarianship in general in Canada is needing to move, sometimes across the country, to pursue opportunities. Moving around and being nomadic works well in my life, but it doesn’t appeal to everyone nor is it feasible for those with personal or family commitments. In terms of art librarianship, there are more entry-level opportunities in the United States, and that’s where I have chosen to develop this part of my career, although I hope to return to my homeland one day.

Can you talk a little bit about ways that you draw on the more conventional aspects of your LIS education? And what are some things you’ve had to learn on your own?

I am currently doing a lot of LIS research, so I use my familiarity with LIS journals and databases from my education frequently. The conventional aspect I draw on the most is my relationships to my classmates. I keep tabs on where my colleagues and friends ended up, because they have become my professional peers and colleagues and I get a lot of support from them, and I try to give them support when I can.

I still have a lot to learn on my own! For me, I learned technical tools and software outside of the classroom. For example, MARC cataloguing and LibGuides were things I practiced a bit in school, but ultimately had to learn on my own at a slower pace than what an LIS classroom format could accommodate.

What would you consider the most rewarding parts of your job, and what are your biggest challenges as an information professional currently working in an academic library environment?

My biggest reward and challenge is teaching. Becoming a strong educator and encouraging and developing critical thinking about information in students is incredibly important to me. But, as with anything worth doing, it takes some trial and error before you feel confident doing it well. Right now, I’m still figuring out my teaching style and trying out new ideas of how to engage students. I’m a part of a great team of librarians here at UArk who have shared a lot of insights and techniques with me, they let me shadow their instruction, which is a huge help. Ultimately, instruction is something you need to figure out on your own through experience, and I think I’ll always be looking for ways to improve and get better.

Do you have any insight or advice as to how ArLiSNAP can continue to assist in connecting emerging Canadian and American information professionals?

Participating in the yearlong ARLIS Mentoring program has been a great experience for me, and I’ve managed to connect to both my peers and an awesome mentor, so please continue doing that! I have also really enjoyed Twitter chats, and presenting in the ARLISNAP webinar was a great opportunity to hear about awesome projects across the continent. Basically, anything that gives Jenny Ferretti (@CityThatReads) a forum is fantastic.

Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time? If you could take a trip right now to visit any library in the world, which would it be?

I am really interested in Sandor Katz’ Wild Fermentation, so I’ve been making a lot of kombucha, tepache, sourdough and sauerkraut, so fermentation and baking have become a big part of my life, complete with small parties where I serve said bread and carbonated drinks. That takes up a fair amount of my spare time.

If I could take a trip to any library in the world, I would go to the Lånegarderoben in Stockholm, Sweden. It’s one of the world’s first clothing libraries, and I’ve been following the research and ideas coming out of clothing libraries and sustainable fashion for a couple of years.

ARLIS/NA Conference to be held in Montréal in 2021!

ARLIS/NA Conference in Montréal, Canada in 2021

Original post by Jessica Herbert, ARLIS/NA MOQ, Nov 20, 2017. See full post here

In 2021, we invite you to discover Montréal: one of the largest French speaking cities in the world, a UNESCO city of Design, a festival town, a food lover’s paradise, an art metropolis, a technology hub. The Montréal-Ottawa-Québec (MOQ) chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America proposes to host the 2021 ARLIS/NA conference in Montréal in late March 2021, to allow for milder winter temperatures.

Why Montréal? Over the last decade, the downtown core has benefited from a significant Quartier des spectacles revitalization project, which links together public spaces, the Montréal Museum of Contemporary Art, concert halls, theatres, galleries and restaurants in a dynamic and accessible setting. Art and design are intertwined in the daily life of the city, with hundreds of public artworks. Our proposed timing for the conference would provide a particularly intriguing opportunity to experience art’s role in this city’s civic life, as it would coincide with the annual Art Souterrain festival which features hundreds of public art exhibits in Montréal’s underground city.

For the 2021 conference, we propose a theme centering around the idea of convergence. The city of Montréal itself is a site of convergence, as a place where both French and English are commonly spoken, different languages and cultures come together, and a blend of old and new is manifested in its history, architecture and integration of technologies. This theme also reflects the nature of ARLIS/NA and the MOQ chapter, which are composed of members from a variety of different backgrounds, working in small and large institutions, including public libraries, academic institutions, museums as well as many independent professionals and students. The theme of convergence can be expanded to explore the relationship between professional practice with community and arts organizations like art hives and fablabs. It can also focus on the convergence of new technologies, such as 3D printers, virtual reality, and digital artists’ books and how they have become integrated into the practice of librarianship.

Since the ARLIS/NA conference was last held in Montréal in 1995, with the theme of Art and the Francophone World, the city has continued to evolve, particularly in the arts and cultural sector. We will provide an itinerary that will allow attendees to revisit some historical highlights of the city, while learning about newer initiatives and cultural institutions that have developed over the past twenty years, including organisations with a focus on digital technologies, such as the Société des arts technologiques and the Phi Centre.

 

 

Join us in La belle province in 2021!

 

On behalf of the Montréal-Ottawa-Québec chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America.

ARLIS/NA MOQ Fall Meeting / ARLIS/NA MOQ réunion d’automne

The Montréal-Ottawa-Québec chapter (ARLIS/NA MOQ) is excited to announce our Fall meeting which will be held on Friday, November 24 at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal.

Please see the programme attached.

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Le chapitre Montréal-Ottawa-Québec (ARIS/NA MOQ) est heureux d’annoncer notre réunion d’automne qui aura lieu le 24 novembre au Centre Canadien d’Architecture à Montréal.

Le programme de la journée est ci-joint.

ARLIS-NA MOQ_Rencontre d’automne 2017_CCA

ARLIS/NA Ontario Fall Meeting – Nov. 10th

Registration is now open for the ARLIS/NA Ontario 2017 Fall Business Meeting in Hamilton! This season’s meeting will take place tomorrow Friday, November 10, beginning at the Hamilton Public Library. The day will include a tour, lunch and stroll through Hamilton’s many art galleries. Itinerary is as follows:

  • 10:30am-12pm:  Fall Business Meeting at 5th Floor Boardroom of central branch of Hamilton Public Library
  • 12-1:30pm: Group lunch at the George Hamilton Restaurant and Bar (not included in registration cost)
  • 1:30-3pm:  Tour of HPL Art Collection and Archives, and talk with Community Librarian about Arts Programming
  • 3-5-ishpm:  Tour of James Street North small businesses, art galleries, and artist run centres
  • 6-11pm: For anyone wanting to take in a bit more of what Hamilton has to offer, the meeting will coincide with the James Street Art Crawl!

*A carpool van from a central location in Toronto may be available if there is sufficient interest.

Visit the ARLIS/NA Ontario website for more information and to register!

Canadian Librarians Spotlight: An Interview with Daniel Payne

What is the name of the employer/institution you work for?

The Dorothy H. Hoover Library, OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, your current position, and how you got into the field of (art) librarianship?

I have a Bachelor of Education and a Master’s degree in musicology, but I never really felt fully comfortable in either environment. Teaching in a traditional classroom is rewarding; however, I always feel so confined in my ability to access knowledge-building tools. In a library, I am surrounded by informational learning resources—print, electronic, audio-visual, or through the knowledge of my peers—and this level of connectedness cannot be replicated in even the most high-tech, wired, “smart” classroom.

I started working at OCAD University in 2002 and moved from a contract position at a smaller Canadian university that likely was going to become a permanent, tenure track position. When the job at OCAD U was posted—even though the pay was not ideal and the faculty status situation not as secure, I took the risk as it offered an ideal opportunity to explore librarianship in a creative research environment, which for me is a perfect way to combine my artistic and academic interests.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? What is usually the highlight of your day?

One of the best things about working in libraries is that there really are no “typical days.” Although I do spend much time in my workweek covering reference desk services, I’m fairly consistently in the classroom offering information literacy sessions for courses, attending curriculum meetings, working on professional development activities, buying books, helping manage our database collections, developing our web site, preparing for conferences, researching and writing, and so on. I feel that, as a librarian, I’m able to define what my work day will look like and not be confined by the classroom, with its set class times, static textbooks, and limited office hours.

Perhaps—in all honesty—the highlight of my day is working at the reference desk. Although many academic librarians are moving away from this service node in favour of the classroom, I find it one of the most vital tools I have as a librarian for communicating collegially with students, staff, and faculty. I can’t count the number of information literacy sessions, collection development requests, and professional networking contacts I’ve made through the random, informal discussions I’ve had at the reference desk. It is a communications platform that is unique; educators such as Paulo Friere often advocate for reform in pedagogy through the use of active learning models which empower researchers to discover their own sense-making pathways to knowledge. I truly feel that the reference desk is one of the most powerful learning spaces we currently have in our educational system for fully embodying a more egalitarian, democratic approach to learning in what Friere calls the “practices of freedom.” It’s because the person asking the question initiates the research journey and, in a way, is in direct control over the educational experience. I work collegially with them to try to come to some resolution, but a reference inquiry is truly a patron-led mode of teaching and learning.

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market? What are the most important things emerging art librarians should know?

I find this a very difficult question to answer; mainly because we are currently in a very challenging work environment and it seems that many of the older established models for librarianship as a profession are changing. But I would encourage all new librarians to be patient, proactive, and passionate. Patience is required because those perfect jobs are rarely available immediately and realistically one has to build towards this ultimate goal. Sometimes—and this is difficult for me to say as I feel that I do have the perfect job!—these “dream” jobs simply don’t exist, so one is forced to put together a career piecemeal.

This is where the proactive component is important. Being flexible and adaptable; smiling through adversity; being willing to re-locate to begin building one’s career are all essential skills. Yet these diverse experiences, though frustrating at times, will offer a multi-modal knowledgebase to prepare you for the professional agility required in this new economy. Part of being proactive is also realizing that wherever you are working, you can find some way to use these skillsets to learn something and build your overall life experiences.  I remember hearing a comment by a rising young art gallery owner who worked at the OCAD U Library several years ago re-shelving books. He claimed that everything he knows about art theory was gleaned from putting books back on the shelf. It’s not that he learned about these aesthetic theories in depth—this is unquestionably the domain of the studio or classroom; but the library helped him to understand how these theories relate to other ones by their spatial relation to other books on the shelf. Likely all young aspiring librarians know, based on previous student work experiences, how repetitive re-shelving books can be and, perhaps even more tediously, shelf-reading; but this rising new voice in the art world realized that working in a library was a critical, once in a lifetime opportunity and used it for maximum benefit. So if one envisions this “pastiche” of careers as a collage, it does take on a new sense of unity. It may not be a gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art) expressing one controlled and contained totality, but a collage has a vitality of its own that, in a way, is more dialogic.

Finally, the passion part ensures that—wherever you end up settling career-wise—the founding vision statements of librarianship stay with you. Whether it be the “Statement on Intellectual Freedom” by the Canadian Library Association or S.R. Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science; these documents are revolutionary and, considering how market-driven, commodified, surveilled, and commercialized our lived spaces are becoming, we need to fight for this last bastion of information equity in our world.

What were/are some challenges for you as an art librarian? What do you think are current challenges in the field of art librarianship or librarianship in general, particularly within Canada?

Be warned: I’m going to go on a bit of a tirade ;-) But perhaps my biggest challenge is the feeling that as a librarian, I’m going head-to-head with the massive multi-billion dollar commercial marketing machine of Google! I am only being slightly facetious though; recent statistics provided by OCLC in their Perceptions of Libraries survey indicate that, almost ubiquitously, people are using search engines such as Google as their sole portal for accessing information for all research needs from personal to academic to professional. Primarily my concern is that Google is a private company and the bottom line for all their services is profit. What’s the bottom line for a library that looks to the “Statement on Intellectual Freedom” for its operational mandate? Social justice, human rights, freedom of information, and the right to privacy!

Linked to the for-profit situation, Google searching has enforced a strange impulse in researchers to approach all topics in an almost myopically literal manner. Given the volume of information accessible on the open internet, generally whatever search topic is entered in Google always guarantees results that are precisely related to the initial search topic. Furthermore, almost ubiquitously, that first web link retrieved is a Wikipedia entry (I mean, really, is Wikipedia always the top source for all searches? Doesn’t this make anyone suspicious?). But for me, the essence of research, especially in the work of creativity, is finding something that you don’t expect and having to struggle to figure out why this new, unanticipated information has been retrieved. This scenario is further exacerbated by Google’s search features that start profiling us individually based on our previous search histories and starts feeding us sites that it thinks that we’d be interest in. This, of course, is the quintessential “filter bubble” scenario. So now in my work as a reference librarian, I find that year-by-year, my new mantra is to plead with researchers to stop thinking so literally and start finding pathways for thinking laterally. Our library search tools and collections are entirely built on this latter premise.

Finally, my third and inter-related concern is that the search engine has completely weaned people off of any other search strategies. Google is always Plan A and in the rare circumstances where it fails, people have no Plan B alternatives. Using library catalogues, abstracts and indexes, a library’s discovery layer, even knowing how to browse for books in a library, have all become so foreign to everyday researchers, that these bibliographic literacy practices have left people’s consciousness as viable alternatives for accessing information. Out of sight; out of mind.

Can you talk a little bit about ways that you draw on the more conventional aspects of your LIS education? And what are some things you’ve had to learn on your own?

As a reference librarian, I’ve found that there are two broad topics that have been essential for my work; one is related to theory (and I wish that this had been taught more consistently in my library sciences’ education) and the other, practice (which I sorely wished that I didn’t have to learn in school, but am now so grateful that I did!).

My first educational principle is a deep, reflective knowledge of the writings of former library science theorists. Much of my current work as a librarian is entirely shaped by Brenda Dervin’s concept of sense-making, Carole C. Kuhlthau’s ISP, and S.R. Ranganathan’s “Five Laws of Library Sciences.” I might have stumbled across these visionaries while researching for LIS essays, but I feel that a required course in library history is essential for all ALA accredited programs. Knowing how library workers throughout history have dealt with new technologies, changing research needs, and new modes of accessing knowledge is critical; now more than ever when the pace of change seems to be moving at lightning speed.

Secondly in regards to practice, while in library school I took a course titled “Thesaurus Construction” in which I received the worst mark on my LIS record and close to the lowest in my entire academic career. The curricular material was gruellingly dull; in one class I fell asleep while tipped back in my chair which was balanced on the back two legs. The clatter and ensuing thud was, I’m sure, deafening.  But since then, I have grown to appreciate how these ways of envisioning information in hierarchies, working from broad to narrow terms, has helped me inordinately in assisting others to make sense of how libraries are organized. I use these principles in all my information literacy sessions, when working on web pages, creating search guides, answering reference questions, even when writing emails. When one thinks about the basic organizational unit for libraries—the call number—this unique coding language embodies the hierarchy of subjects that libraries employ: from main classes to subclasses down to Cutter numbers. These unique identifiers—the URL address for the print book on the shelf—encode how libraries envision knowledge structures and convey our sense-making way of processing ideas in the world. The fact that these indexical symbols then become wayfinding devices makes for a perfect metaphor for the entire library endeavour.

What would you consider the most rewarding parts of your job, and what are your biggest challenges as an information professional in an academic library?

I might use much of my earlier Google tirade to answer this question! But perhaps to emphasize this issue anecdotally: most often when I tell people I work as a librarian, after a brief quizzical pause then the inevitable “you must get to read a lot of books!” comment, people always tend to chime in: “I love libraries; I love the smell of books.” Much as I’m loathe to discourage any positive commendation for libraries in an age when the institution seems in such a precarious state, I have found the phrase too glib, almost dismissive. I think it’s because this colloquialism is so steeped in a romanticized sense of nostalgia that it seems to relegate libraries to the status of a charming old dusty antiquarian shoppe. I feel like I should carry a copy of the CLA Statement on Intellectual Freedom wherever I go and make people read it immediately after saying they love libraries. Libraries—and this is where I get to the part about the “most rewarding” part of my job—are radical institutions that are one of the last bastions for advocating for public empowerment with no strings attached.  In a recent interview, I was asked “What do librarians do all day anyway?” I answered that we create communities through fostering communication. The reason that librarians build collections, evaluate research methodologies, manage data, or teach our users how to become information literate is so that people can become active members of a knowledge community. Not only do we teach people how to ask questions, but—perhaps most importantly—we suggest pathways for answering them.  Again, with no strings attached. We’re not trying to sell products, ideas, or lifestyles. We’re here solely so that people can empower themselves with knowledge. So instead of people saying “I love libraries,” I wish they would be a little more specific and say something like, “I love how libraries are so subversively radical”!

Do you have any insight or advice as to how ArLiSNAP can assist in connecting emerging Canadian and American information professionals?

Keep up your membership with ARLIS/NA! The Society has been so remarkable in maintaining an open line of communication between countries. At the local level, the avenues that ARLIS/NA offers for students in administrative positions and providing special funding grants are commendable, so participating in regional chapters can open a host of professional opportunities and the capability of attending annual conferences which truly are international ventures.

Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time? If you could take a trip right now to visit any library in the world, which would it be?

I have an insatiable appetite for live music and seem to spend almost every weekend visiting Toronto’s Rex Hotel for a weekly dose of jazz. Also, I’ve been a cellist since high school and spent part of my early career as a professional musician.

Playing music has been an essential part of my life; even though I’m not as active now that I work as a full time reference librarian, I have a much more manageable musical schedule. Aside from ongoing annual performances of Handel’s Messiah with Arcady Choir and Orchestra (http://arcady.ca/), I am focused mainly on my role as the principal cellist for the Counterpoint Community Orchestra (http://www.ccorchestra.org/). I find this collegial music-making environment utterly fulfilling. In the past, I had to rely on making money through performing, but now I can relax and enjoy playing the classics of Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and more purely for the sake of making music.

And my response for visiting a library? In all honesty, I would re-do the entire ARLIS/NA 2016 Study Tour to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Den Hague, in the Netherlands (https://www.arlisna.org/studytour2016-Netherlands/). I splurged and took part in this trip and found that every aspect of the trip was magical!