Libraries and librarians are essential to a university education. Their work spans disciplines, faculties, and departments, creating an environment for meaningful research and study. Over the next two months we’ll be highlighting some of that work, as so much of it goes unseen.

Join us in acknowledging the importance of librarians on campus as they make research and higher learning possible through their work. We’ll be sharing librarian profiles on our website and social media channels to help demonstrate the wide variety of roles and responsibilities that librarians carry out every day.

There are so many ways that we make the UofM Happen!

Librarian Profiles

Name: Orvie Dingwall

Library: Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library

  1. What library do you work in? Does it serve a specific group on campus?
    I work in the Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library as the Head of Outreach Services. I provide library services to health professionals throughout Manitoba so they can stay up-to-date on current trends and use evidence to inform their practice.
  1. What made you decide to become a librarian?
    It wasn’t something that I planned from the beginning of my post-secondary education. As soon as someone told me about the Master’s in Library Studies program, I knew it was the right profession for me.
  1. What does an average day look like for you as a librarian at the UofM?
    It’s hard to answer that question because I don’t have an average day! Part of my day is always spent doing literature searches for health professionals, preparing for upcoming teaching sessions, and creating resources to help people be better able to incorporate evidence into their practice. I also usually having meetings as part of the different committee that I’m part of: UMFA Executive Council, my team meetings, and meetings with health professionals, students, or faculty members.
  1. What are your biggest daily challenges as an academic librarian?
    The health professionals I liase with don’t have access to UofM Libraries electronic resources, so it can be challenging to give them access to the resources they need. In general, it’s hard to access free, high quality, evidence-based research – despite a decade of initiatives on open-access. Resource prices are skyrocketing as large publishing companies consolidate and it’s becoming a bigger issue for professors and students who need access to reliable materials. It can also be a challenge convincing people that high quality evidence is worth the time and energy spent finding and accessing it. IMG 1238 2
  1. What do you think are the most common misconceptions about librarians on campus?
    That we’re all really quiet. My friends always say to me “how are YOU a librarian? You’re the loudest person I know!” So I guess the secret’s out… if anyone is getting “sssshhh’d” in a library, it’s usually the librarians!
  1. Why are libraries important to university life?
    Information is at the heart of research and education. People are drowning in huge amounts of information but are generally starved for true knowledge and librarians can bridge that gap.
  1. What are some ways that students and staff on campus can make use of library services available to them?
    They can make use of our electronic collections and take part in education sessions to help them learn how to better make use of all the services that our libraries have to offer. We’re always trying to find ways to be more accessible to people and we have a whole series of virtual teaching sessions where people can log in and participate online.
  1. The availability of online resources and electronic copies of textbooks and articles makes some people think we don’t need physical libraries or librarians anymore. What would you say to someone to convince them that this isn’t the case?
    Librarians are always striving to understand what people are looking for and why. We have the ability to find what people need and show them what they’d be missing if they didn’t use library resources. If people go at it alone, they often don’t know what they’re missing from both our print and online collections.
Neil John Maclean
Health Sciences Library
727 McDermot Avenue
University of Manitoba
Phone: 204-789-3342
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Name: Liv Valmestad

Library: Architecture and Fine Arts Library

  1. What library do you work in? Does it serve a specific group on campus?
    I work in the Architecture and Fine Arts Library. I serve the Faculty of Architecture which includes undergraduate students in environmental design and graduate students in landscape architecture, interior design, architecture, and city planning. I also serve the School of Art, both undergraduates and grad students in art history and studio classes. Our university is one of the few to have a dedicated library for fine arts and architecture and – we have a very large, comprehensive and prestigious collection.
  1. What made you decide to become a librarian?
    I never planned to become a librarian, I sort of fell into it! After studying visual art at the University of Saskatchewan and also in Norway, I was finishing my art history master’s at Queens and was offered a position as a library technician in the art library there. I took it and worked at the reference desk. From there, I did my master’s in library science and I was able to use my subject expertise and multiple graduate degrees to be hired in the Architecture/Fine Arts Library, here at the U of M. IMG 1202
  1. What does an average day look like for you as a librarian at the UofM?
    I meet with a lot of students. For example I was just helping a design student working on a project about millennial workspaces. I also guest lecture in classrooms and do workshops on how to research specific topics. I also teach a class on visual literacy/culture to first year environmental design students, which allows me to use my background in art history, design, fine arts, and research.

    I’m on a university-wide committee for visual plagiarism and will be helping to create the online modules.

    I answer student and faculty questions all the time and I actually worked at the reference desk in this library for 20+ years.

    I spend time answering emails from designers, artists, architects from around the world.

    I’m currently working on an application for an endowment fund to get the money we need for a video streaming service so students can access videos of interviews with architects, art films, performance art, etc.

    These are just some of the things I do on a daily basis!
  1. What are your biggest daily challenges as an academic librarian?
    My work ebbs and flows, there’s no predicting the work level at any time! It’s a challenge because we could always use more staff. We’re constantly busy because students and faculty are used to an excellent level of service and we try our best to maintain that level with not enough staff. We really pride ourselves on student engagement and interactions where we can actually learn what they’re researching or studying. This informs what resources we point them to and what research materials we order and the classes that we teach. Basically, we’re trying to provide high quality, personal service even with budget cuts. We also have a bit of a space issue and we often have to pull collections from our shelves to make room for new material.
  1. What do you think are the most common misconceptions about librarians on campus?
    We teach, research different subject areas, publish, apply for grants, do service work, and participate on international committees. I’m also a visual artist so I get to work on my paintings during my sabbaticals and interesting projects like documenting the outdoor sculptures on campus. I recently project-managed the re-furbishment of the Expo ‘67sculpture outside of Fletcher Argue through a Manitoba Heritage Grant.
  1. Why are libraries important to university life?
    Libraries are a teaching lab and a learning space where students can do hands on research. Most of our materials are print (unlike some other libraries). We’re largely image based and it is expensive to get the copyright to reproduce these materials digitally. But the benefit of this is that students get to be hands on with our material. They can look at a book as an artifact. Students use our physical reference collection constantly and like looking at our older journal collection to see how the ads have changed in terms of typography, colour, composition and subject matter.
  1. What are some ways that students and staff on campus can make use of library services available to them?
    Students and staff can connect with a reference librarian or search for a subject guide that is tailored to their class or subject. They can access e-journals, image databases, building codes, graphic standards, artist biographies, art criticism, building case studies, precedent information, architectural reviews, case studies, mapping and GIS services. The list goes on. We even have our very own in-house Winnipeg Building Index which indexes over 4,500 Winnipeg buildings with images and citations. Our library is the only art and design library in Manitoba, so it’s a great resource.

    Students can also get personalized help with researching essays, finding building information, writing grants, building portfolios, writing citation and creating bibliographies.

    We get asked “cold questions” all the time and we’re trained to find answers. Our jobs are always changing due to new technologies, so it never gets boring. We’re always curious and we want to find answers to help our students succeed.
  1. The availability of online resources and electronic copies of textbooks and articles makes some people think we don’t need physical libraries or librarians anymore. What would you say to someone to convince them that this isn’t the case?
    I think it’s great that students can do a lot of research from their homes, but not everything can be reproduced electronically. We have physical books and magazines that you just can’t get online. In terms of more resources being available electronically, I find that the students are overwhelmed with the information – just look at all the records they retrieve in One stop Search – they need librarians now more than ever to help them evaluate and sift.
Architecture/Fine Arts Library
206 John A. Russell Building
84 Curry Place
University of Manitoba
Phone: (204) 474-9216

Name: Shelley Sweeney

University of Manitoba Archives

  1. What library do you work in? Does it serve a specific group on campus?

    I actually work in the UofM Archives which is not a library. Archives are a separate department from other libraries at the university. We’re the official archives for the UofM and we also house important archival materials from all over Manitoba. Another interesting thing to note is that a lot of the UofM archives were lost in the McIntyre Block fire and the flood in the 1950s, so we actually lost a lot of important archival materials in that disaster.

    In Archives, we serve students from all different fields and we’re available to any faculty, students, staff or members of the public. We have a lot of strong connections with other universities and their faculty and grad students who use our resources.IMG 1155
    We’re responsible for acquiring records and maintaining private collections that support research and study at the university and beyond.
  1. What made you decide to become an archivist?
    I have an undergraduate degree in Latin and my original plan was to continue studying in classical studies for my masters. One of my professors suggested that I go to the rare book library at the University of British Columbia where I was studying and from there I decided to pursue a master’s degree in archival studies at UBC.
  1. What does an average day look like for you as an archivist at the UofM?
    I meet with researchers, talk with donors, work with records, fundraise, and complete administrative tasks, to name a few things.
  1. What are your biggest daily challenges as an academic archivist?
    We often struggle with a lack of resources when it comes to staffing and physical space. We always have more work than we can handle, but we can’t let things slide. The archival records we’re working with are historic items that need time and attention given to them. We have a lot of private collections ending up in our archives. For example, we recently acquired all of the material from a local newspaper that shut down. All the records have to be moved and processed and there are issues of copyright and what can and can’t be digitized. Not to mention privacy issues and subscriber records. There’s a huge amount of work to do to organize and catalogue all these things and not enough people to do the work. Once we catalogue and process everything, we then need to make it available to the public with things like film nights, lectures, conferences, book launches, classes and tours.

    These things also require huge amounts of work. It’s a constant challenge.

    One of the other challenges we face is digitizing our records. We have millions of photos and artifacts and it’s next to impossible to create digital copies of every single one of these items, but more and more students and researchers need the digital copy.
  1. What do you think are the most common misconceptions about librarians on campus?
    People don’t see the person behind the material. They don’t see the people working behind the scenes to meet their needs and getting them the information or answers they are looking for. There’s a general lack of awareness of the archival profession, and this is probably because there aren’t very many of us, but we play a very important role on campus.
  1. Why are libraries important to university life?
    In archives, we’re here to help with the production of new knowledge. We provide raw records so people can produce original and unique research. We have the tools for students writing their PhD theses, writing books, creating films, etc. A great example of this is our Hamilton Family collection of séance photos. Those archival records are used all the time to write different papers and answer different questions. Those raw records allow people to discover new things all the time.
  1. What are some ways that students and staff on campus can make use of library services available to them?
    Students and staff can consult with us. They can call or email us to ask questions, examine our finding aids, or bring their classes to our space. We do consultations with grad students. We’re always trying to be proactive and inform people of things that might be useful to their research. IMG 1165
  1. The availability of online resources and electronic copies of textbooks and articles makes some people think we don’t need physical libraries or librarians anymore. What would you say to someone to convince them that this isn’t the case?
    Many items in our archives are digitally available. But it’s important for our purposes that the original is also still available. Sometimes there are aspects of the materials that we keep that can’t be scanned. People sometimes need to examine all sides of an archive or even smell it or hold it up to infrared light. The original piece is always critical.

    The digital revolution has transformed archives because now a lot of things are available to people 24/7 and the records are much more accessible. This is a really great thing. Digitization has brought attention to materials that people didn’t even know existed. People can ask for scans of records or answers to questions over email.

    Interestingly, our walk-through traffic has actually gone up significantly since we started to digitize some of our archives. People see value in actually holding or touching the records. For students, the chance to hold physical materials is unique and interesting and adds something to the educational experience that they just can’t get with online resources.
Archives & Special Collections
330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library
University of Manitoba
Phone: (204) 474-9986
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Name: Evelyn Bruneau

Library: Technical Services Department Elizabeth Dafoe Library

  1. What library do you work in? Does it serve a specific group on campus?
    I work behind the scenes in the Technical Services Department at the Elizabeth Dafoe Library, serving all groups on campus to ensure that access to electronic resources is available to all library patrons. As Electronic Resources Librarian, I am responsible for the coordination of the purchasing, licensing, access and maintenance of all electronic materials, but I am mainly responsible for the review and negotiation of license agreements for newly acquired and renewing resources.
  1. What made you decide to become a librarian?
    I have always wanted to work in a field where I could help people. My undergrad degree is in Human Ecology, Family Studies. When I began my library career, I was working as a Library Assistant in the Sciences and Technology Library, here at U of M. Over the years, I observed how librarians interacted with students and faculty: helping them with their research and information needs. After working my up through the library system, to where I am now in Technical Services, it became clear to me that, given my desire to help people, my love of research, and the joy I get from teaching, it was time to take the next step and pursue a career in librarianship. I earned my Master of Library and Information Science in 2013.
  1. What does an average day look like for you as a librarian at the UofM
    I am happy to say that there is no such thing as an average day for an Electronic Resources Librarian. Some days I will be working at breakneck speed all day, attending meetings, responding to urgent requests for information, negotiating licenses, and dealing with a flood of communications, all needing responses, while other days I could be meeting with resource vendors, or working on special projects. IMG 1197
  1. What are your biggest daily challenges as an academic librarian?
    My biggest daily challenges relate to the ever-changing landscape of electronic resources and the constant competing and changing priorities that go hand-in-hand with that landscape.
  1. What do you think are the most common misconceptions about librarians on campus?
    That technology and the availability of online resources has made our jobs redundant or irrelevant. In fact, new technologies allow librarians to use their time in different ways—ways that have a greater impact on the academic community.
  1. Why are libraries important to university life?
    Despite a move toward electronic resources, I believe the libraries are still the heart of the campus. The work that the library undertakes contributes directly to the University’s academic mission to help people create, preserve, and apply knowledge. They’re where students achieve success. I believe the Libraries also empower researchers to conduct research in faster, better and different ways, thereby supporting the innovative research being conducted at the University of Manitoba, which in turn contributes to the prestige of the university and attracts better faculty and graduate students.

    Our physical libraries on campus have become places where labs and research instruction happen. We have student services, study rooms, and work stations that support collaborative learning. And as you can see, the space is always packed with students.
  1. The availability of online resources and electronic copies of textbooks and articles makes some people think we don’t need physical libraries or librarians anymore. What would you say to someone to convince them that this isn’t the case?
    The availability of online resources only means that the way we receive, consume and digest information has changed, and along with this changing information landscape, librarian’s roles are changing to respond to user’s information needs. Librarians still help users cut through the vast of amounts of information available online, helping them to learn to ask better questions, find valid sources, and formulate search strategies, but the availability of online resources is also allowing librarians to dedicate their time to other services, and are moving into roles that are more specialized. We are spending more time in classrooms; we collaborate with faculty, and are becoming more involved in the research process by helping researchers to develop data management plans.
Elizabeth Dafoe Library
25 Chancellors Circle
University of Manitoba
Phone: 204.474.9844
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Name: Cody Fullerton

Library: Donald W. Craig Engineering Library and Elizabeth Dafoe Library

  1. What library do you work in? Does it serve a specific group on campus?
    I work in the areas of sciences and humanities. I’ll be moving from the Sciences and Technologies Library in Machray Hall to the engineering library shortly. I do liaison work with math and computer science when I’m working in the sciences library. When I’m working in Dafoe, I am the history liaison. This involves collection development and answering any questions from professors and students in any of these areas.
  1. What made you decide to become a librarian?
    I have a history degree from the University of North Dakota, but when it came to getting my master’s, I knew I didn’t want to make research my sole focus. I spent two weeks working in archives during my undergraduate degree which sparked my interest in library studies.
  1. What does an average day look like for you as a librarian at the UofM?
    My days mostly consist of responding to emails from coworkers, faculty, and students. I often answer questions about research and finding specific books. I also spend some of my time preparing for and teaching in classrooms.

    I do a lot of research. Right now I’m working on a project through the loan program with the Faculty of Engineering related to microcontrollers. I’m also currently working on a research project to assess how faculty members are using libraries when they’re studying Indigenous topics (what sorts of words they’re using when searching and how catalogues are being used). When this research is completed, a report will be produced that will determine if changes need to be made to the way information is catalogued within library systems regarding Indigenous topics.

    I’m on a number of committees, so part of my time is spent doing work for things like the accessibility committee which helps students who have challenges with accessing print materials.

    Sometimes I’m on call which means library assistants will call me with research questions and IMG 1148requests they need to pass on from students.
  1. What are your biggest daily challenges as an academic librarian?
    Students and faculty don’t often know what librarians actually do. Students sometimes think we’ll help write their papers for them, and I have to explain what my job consists of to people regularly. I don’t just put books away. My job is highly varied and involves a lot of research, teaching, and participation in the broader library community.
  1. What do you think are the most common misconceptions about librarians on campus?
    People just don’t understand what we do. Students come to university having only experienced their high school libraries and librarians who often play all roles in a setting like that. It’s not the same in the academic world. Librarians look at the bigger picture. We write policy, do research, and work with information literacy. We know how to handle information from the gathering process to the publishing stage. We know how to assess information for credibility and how to properly cite information in research.
  1. Why are libraries important to university life?
    University life is all about research, and to conduct research, you need libraries, their subscriptions, and the systems technicians that catalogue everything – everyone behind the scenes that people don’t think about.
  1. What are some ways that students and staff on campus can make use of library services available to them?
    Students can use libraries as a study space and a place for collaborative group projects. They can use librarians to help them with research and to navigate huge amounts of information for accuracy and relevancy. Staff and faculty can teach their students about library resources, or ask us to come to their classrooms. We can even help design readings for courses.
  1. The availability of online resources and electronic copies of textbooks and articles makes some people think we don’t need physical libraries or librarians anymore. What would you say to someone to convince them that this isn’t the case?
    The physical libraries on campus are always full. UofM doesn’t have a study hall, so our libraries act as an important study space for students. It’s also important to understand that access to online journals just isn’t possible without librarians to organize and facilitate these resources. There are many, many staff members behind the scenes making online resources accessible so that research on campus can be done effectively.

Name: Vickie Albrecht

Library: Sciences and Technology Library

  1. What library do you work in? Does it serve a specific group on campus?
    I serve in the Sciences and Technology Library, with a focus on the Department of Biological Sciences.
  1. What does an average day look like for you as a librarian at the UofM?
    No two days are the same. I spend a lot of time preparing for workshops and consultations.

    IMG 1126

    I also spend a lot of time staying up-to-date with current trends and technology through professional development. One thing that people might not know about librarians is that we also do a lot of professional service and giving back to the larger library world. I’m currently planning and co-chairing the Manitoba Librarians Conference in 2018. I am also the secretary for the Association of College and Research Libraries’ North Dakota and Manitoba Chapter.
  1. What do you think are the most common misconceptions about librarians on campus?
    I recently gave a lecture to a class of about 80-100 students explaining how they could make use of library resources. I gave the students a multiple choice question: what does a librarian do? The majority answered that librarians know about books, put books away in the stacks, and can show students how to print. The correct answer was assisting with gathering resources. Also, there’s a misconception that librarians aren’t academics – often times, even faculty don’t know that librarians do research and service just like professors. We write papers and articles, go to conferences, and take research leaves.
  1. Why are libraries important to university life?
    Libraries are information centres that transmit data throughout the entire university. Without libraries, it’s impossible to do research. We maintain subscriptions to journals, and purchase and curate content.
    Physical libraries are also a hub that people can go to if they’re lost or new to the university.
  1. What made you decide to become a librarian?
    Becoming a librarian was never my plan initially. I got an undergraduate degree in science and was heading towards a master’s degree in botany. I found that I was really strong when it came to looking up information and it was something I enjoyed a lot more than anything else. I decided to become a librarian because it was a lifestyle that appealed to me more than being a professor or working in a lab.
  1. The availability of online resources and electronic copies of textbooks and articles makes some people think we don’t need physical libraries or librarians anymore. What would you say to someone to convince them that this isn’t the case?
    Physical libraries are definitely changing as a result of more electronic resources. Libraries are now often spaces where people can socialize, eat, chat, and work on projects together. Libraries offer a space for IMG 1142collaborative work and places where students and faculty can have immediate access to the resources they need. As we continue to move towards more and more digitalization of resources, physical libraries will continue to change and adjust to keep up with the growth and volume of information available. We’ll always need librarians to specialize in disseminating the huge amount of information that is now available.
  1. What are some ways that students and staff on campus can make use of library services available to them?
    Anyone can come and ask me questions, anytime. It’s important for people to know that about librarians.
    We’re here for you. I can answer faculty and students questions about copyright, research, even things
    like resume and CV preparation.
Sciences and Technology Library
211 Machray Hall
University of Manitoba
Phone: 204-474-9281
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Look for more librarian profiles on our social media channels and website over the next few months:

#WeMakeUofMHappen