Category Archives: 7 Questions

7 Questions with Robyn Hall

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features Robyn Hall, Scholarly Communications & Social Sciences Librarian at MacEwan University.


IMG_12821. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Mountain climbing.

2. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
– Cocorosie – Animals.
– Patrick Watson – Good Morning Mr. Wolf.
– Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now.
Of course, a literal version would also be filled with an embarrassing mix of Wings, NKOTB, Madonna, Hole, Beyonce, punk, & early 2000’s electronica…

3. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Dame Marjorie “Maude” Chardin from Harold and Maude (also my cat’s namesake, though over time this has unfortunately morphed into “Little Miss Moodles”).

4. What are some of your favourite podcasts?
WTF with Marc Maron, 10% Happier, & Fresh Air (NPR).

5. What do you do when you’re not working?
Random outings. This fall I have been to an air balloon festival, a Tibetan bizarre, Nuit Blanche, a Beatles cover band playing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, two museums, Nerd Nite, a hockey game, Devon to hike the river valley, a midnight screening of The Room (not recommended)… More generally: travel, yoga, HDR photography, & jigsaw puzzles.

6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?
So many places, but Northern Spain, Northern California, & Nova Scotia (“home”) are all at the top of the list.

7. What was your favourite childhood cartoon?
It’s a tie between Watership Down & The Secret of NIMH.

Bonus question: What is your proudest work-related accomplishment?
Starting this “7 Questions with AAAL members” series on the AAAL blog, of course. Happy almost-three-year anniversary! 🙂


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7 Questions with James Murphy

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features James Murphy, Research and Learning Librarian at the University of Calgary.


murphy_james1. What is something interesting you learned in the last month?
I recently went to an amazing exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery about cabins. I find the popularity of the cabin aesthetic interesting at the moment and I think at least part of the appeal comes from the desire to escape the busy, hyper-connected, urban lifestyle. I never thought I could learn so much about cabins in one exhibit but I’ve also learned that I would like one.

2. When was the last time you were nervous?
Yesterday. I was presenting for the first class of a new inquiry-based learning course. Librarians are embedded through the full course and as this was the first opportunity to engage with the students I wanted to really try to give them a big-picture of the issues they will face in their research practices through their degrees. I always get nervous before teaching but I had good responses and they seemed moderately alert and interested so I’d consider that a win.

3. Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad, but it turned out to be for the best?
Before I became a librarian I had an interesting career as a snowboarding coach and instructor. I travelled internationally and spent a lot of time on mountains. It was challenging to slowly realize it was unsustainable in the long term, and a long process to find out what career could come next. One of the things I found frustrating about that industry was a lack of using evidence to inform practice and methodology. Librarianship’s focus on the evidence struck a chord and I’m so grateful to have stumbled on that path. It has been one of the single best decisions to pursue this career and I’m very thankful to all the people who helped point me in this direction.

4. What would you name the autobiography of your life?
SPF 60+

5. What do you do when you’re not working?
One of my favourite things about living near the mountains is all the outdoor possibilities. I love to get out hiking, camping, snowboarding, biking, and generally soaking in all the beautiful natural settings we’re so lucky to have at our doorsteps in Alberta.

6. What is your favourite quote?
“To be hopeful in bad times is not foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.” – Howard Zinn

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I seem to visit a lot of islands, primarily mountainous but not exclusively (e.g. Iceland, New Zealand, Japan). I’m also intrigued by what living in Scandinavia would be like. Alberta is home though so all those exotic mountainous places will have to be for holidays.


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7 Questions with Michael Baird

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features Michael Baird Collection Management Librarian at Olds College.


17799079_10155815475795021_5416108718226168074_n1. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
In the next year, scuba dive.

2. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Robinton, masterharper of Pern

3. What is your best piece of career advice?
Be flexible, keep learning, and remember why you are doing this job and not some other career. No matter how bad a day you may have, you chose this career for a reason, think about that core reason.

4. What is your proudest work-related accomplishment?
I had the surreal experience to create an original catalogue record for a book from the mid-1500’s when doing one of my practicums. I will always remember the feeling, the connection to history.

5. What do you do when you’re not working?
When not working I love to ride horses and explore the wilderness. I am also involved with 2 Dungeons & Dragons groups. I love theater but have not been in a production for a few years now. I design costumes and write fiction.

6. What is your favourite quote?
“I was always taught that if you’re not careful, you can lose yourself in the world. You get too busy with things, not busy enough with yourself! Spend your days and nights living someone else’s agendas, fighting someone else’s battles, and you’re doing the work you’re supposed to be doing, but every day there’s less and less of you in it all! Till one day, you come to a fork in the road, and because you’re distracted, you’re not thinking. You lose yourself. You go right, and the rest of you, the really important part of you, goes left! And you don’t even know you’ve done it till you realize, you finally realize, that you don’t have any idea who you are when you’re not doing all those things!” Dr Stephen Franklin (writer/creator J. Michael Straczynski, 1996)

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I have not been enough places to truly answer this question. I chose it though because it sits forefront in my mind all of the time. I have been to Wales and I loved it, it felt like… home. I am also drawn to a few other areas: The pacific – Hawaii or New Zealand, Argentina almost won me away from Canada once, and Iceland has an appeal. Perhaps the best answer is I would love to live on a cruise ship and spend my life seeing the world. The Valley of the Kings to the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, then off to the fjords and the northern Baltic, skip across the arctic and down to Japan, go dive the Great Barrier Reef, watch the lava flow on the big island, an excursion to Machu Picchu, then the drama of Tierra del Fuego, up to Central America to explore Mayan ruins, and that is just a start.


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7 Questions with Kara Blizzard

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features Kara Blizzard, Public Services Librarian at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus.


Kara Blizzard AAAL Pic1. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Fly (like a superhero, not a pilot)

2. Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad, but it turned out to be for the best?
Moving to St. John’s, Newfoundland! I was placed there for an MLIS co-op position, and I was very apprehensive about moving to a faraway island with its own time zone, but it turned out to be a great experience. I loved living near the ocean, exploring the city, and meeting friendly people.

3. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
Regina Spector’s album “Far.”

4. What do you eat for breakfast?
Almost always toast. Lately I’ve been buying lots of sourdough!

5. What do you do when you’re not working?
Take my dog for walks, develop my cookbook collection (and occasionally use some of the recipes), and paint landscapes.

6. What is your favourite colour?
Purple

7. What is your favourite cake and why?
Chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse filling and chocolate ganache on top. There can never be too much chocolate.


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7 Questions with Michael Brundin

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features Michael Brundin, Web and Discovery Services Librarian at MacEwan University Library.


mrb1. What is something interesting you learned in the last month?
Although admittedly an esoteric interest, I found it revelatory to realize that the Hungarian Gypsy scale was like the natural minor scale with a raised 4th, or the Hungarian minor scale with a lowered 7th (the Hungarian minor scale is like the harmonic minor with a raised 4th).

2. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
The central towheaded character in Sigur Ros’s official video for their song Glósóli (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz8iEJeh26E). The coda or denouement with the Peter Pan–inspired flight of fancy is quite poignant and affecting: “second to the right, straight on to morning.”

3. What is your favourite thing to binge watch?
I don’t tend to “watch”, let alone binge watch, but apparently, I seem to follow a roughly decennial (every 10 years) pattern, wherein I intensively revisit Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, the thirteen-part television series presented by Carl Sagan in 1980.

4. What is your favourite quote?
I don’t have a favorite quotation, but two literary passages that I am fond of are the following:

and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a

sudden flash of the alchemy of the use of the ellipse the

catalog the meter & the vibrating plane,

who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through

images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soul

between 2 visual images and joined the elemental verbs

and set the noun and dash of consciousness together jumping

with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus

—Allen Ginsberg, “Howl,” Howl and Other Poems, 1956

 

The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice.  It looked good-natured, she thought: still it

had very long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with

respect.

“Cheshire Puss,” she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it

would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider.  “Come, it’s pleased so far,”

thought Alice, and she went on.  “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go

from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“— so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

—Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865

 

Finally, although not really a quotation, I am also partial to this expression:

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”
—Expression in linguistics used to demonstrate syntactic ambiguity

5. What is your favourite colour?
Green. And more specifically, Shamrock green or Irish green. (This is the shade of green in the national flag of Ireland, and the state flag of California.)

6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Somewhere in the Big Sur region, which is the region along the Pacific Ocean coast between Carmel and San Simeon in California.

7. Who inspires you?
Archimedes (ca. 287 BCE–ca. 212 BCE). The depth and range of his discoveries in mathematics, and the creativity of his engineering inventions, are truly inspiring.


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7 Questions with Claudette Cloutier

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features Claudette Cloutier, Associate University Librarian, Research and Learning Services at University of Calgary Libraries.


Picture of Claudette Cloutier1. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
I have eclectic tastes that were informed by, television my parents’ albums and growing up in the ’80’s. The soundtrack to my life would include anything from Abba, Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton John, Beau Dommage, and Simon and Garfunkle. Throw in a little Bonnie Tyler, Cyndi Lauper, The Police and Lionel Richie and you have made my day! When I got married, I walked down the aisle to “Early One Morning” or as most of us know it the theme song from the “Friendly Giant”.

2. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
I have always wanted to be Anne Shirley. Anne of Green Gables is my all time favourite book. Who knows why I want to be an orphan growing up in turn of the century PEI…I think it was for the adventures and her sense of self.

3. What is your best piece of career advice?
The piece of career advice that I share with everyone I meet is that the world is a very small place. Always be kind, honest and professional with everyone you meet because you never know who will be your next boss.

4. What is your favourite thing to binge watch?
I am a sucker for action adventure and mysteries. This winter I have binge watched “The Librarians”, “Marvel’s Agents of Shield”, and “Father Brown”.

5. What do you do when you’re not working?
I know it is cliched, but when I’m not working I’m reading. That’s after running my kids around to their various activities and volunteering.

6. What is your favourite colour?
My favourite colour is electric purple, you can tell by the purse I carry. I’ve loved the colour since I was 3 or 4 and convinced my mother to paint my room that colour. She toned it down to lilac. When I’m buying clothes, if purple is an option, I will choose it.

7. What is your favourite cake and why?
My favourite cake is chocolate. I grew up in a family of chocolate haters so the only time I got chocolate cake was for my birthday or if we ate out at a restaurant (which was very rare). The great thing about this is that no one but me ate my birthday cake so there was always lots of leftovers!


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7 Questions with Mark Black

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features Mark Black, Manager Library and Archives at Banff Centre.


MarkBlack11. When was the last time you were nervous?
Every time I have to speak in front of others especially in a professional setting – so probably this morning.

2. Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad, but it turned out to be for the best?
There was a job I interviewed for, was shortlisted for, and really wanted that I ultimately didn’t get. I was devastated about it and struggled with why I wasn’t a fit. Coming close to something and not getting it makes you re-evaluate the direction you are taking in your career. I moved on (mostly) and sought out opportunities that would help me take the next steps in my career. I still dwell on what if’s, but I’m happy with where I am.

3. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
Top 5: Books About Miles Davis – The Ergs!, Definition – Black Star, Wish Fulfillment – Sonic Youth, The Last – Childish Gambino, Gossip Folks – Missy Elliott

4. What is your best piece of life advice?
“Is there blood?” This came from Janice Fiander, my manager at Cole Harbour Library. It has served me well and I have passed it onto my own staff. Before stressing out or panicking in a situation and making a rash decision, take a breather, and ask yourself, “How serious is this? Is there blood?” Take a second to figure out what’s important, what’s at stake, and then (try to) make the right decision.

5. What are some of your favourite podcasts?
My Favourite Murder, Surprisingly Awesome, Dead Authors, Baseball Tonight

6. What is your proudest non-work related accomplishment?
I wrote a book about the punk band NoMeansNo. I had a lot of help and it happened because of the good will of so many. I never properly acknowledged the support, patience, and encouragement provided me by my partner at the time. I could not have written that book without her.

7. What is your favourite quote?
All bad things are exaggerated in the middle of the night. When you lie awake, you only think of bad things. Julian Barnes


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