Category Archives: 7 Questions

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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7 Questions with Yvonne Phillips

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with AAAL Members features Yvonne Phillips, Librarian at Red Deer College Library


yvonne-hi1. What is something interesting you learned in the last month?
I rarely travel to warm places, so I learned on a recent trip how avocados grow on trees – hanging individually on a vine! I also learned that if you try to take them home in your suitcase, you’ll get caught.

2. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I play music, but I wish I could sing.

3. What is your best piece of life advice?
I have a quote I found somewhere, “Over-prepare . . . then go with the flow.” In other words, be organized for your intended path, but be willing to take a different one.

4. What do you eat for breakfast?
My usuals, in order of preference: Homemade granola and yogurt; two eggs and toast; cooked oatmeal. I’m not above breakfast chocolate either.

5. What do you do when you’re not working?
I’m well-known for the variety of my activities. Play concert band clarinet and music group recorder, read newspapers and books, run, bike, hike, XC ski, play hockey, back-country camp, travel, snowshoe, go to concerts and theatre . . .

6. What is your favourite quote?
From Voltaire’s Candide: “Les chagrins secrets sont encore plus cruels que les misères publiques.”

7. What is your favourite colour?
Blue.

7 Questions with Pam Ensslen

This month’s issue of 7 Questions with…AAAL Members features Pam Ensslen, Borrower Services Assistant at John L Haar Library, MacEwan University


1. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Sew clothing from Vintage Vogue patterns

2. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
Anything from the 1967-1970 Spiderman cartoon series

3. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Yogi Bear

4. If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?
Translating a mystery novel from German into English

5. What would you name the autobiography of your life?
Full Frontal Nerdity

6. What is your best piece of life advice?
Dare to be extravagant and don’t shy away from challenges that test your mettle

7. What is your proudest work-related accomplishment?
Creating a patent instruction manual

Bonus question: What do you eat for breakfast?
Coffee and a sugary snack

7 questions with Michelle Bezenar

After a brief hiatus, the 7 Questions blog series is back! This month we’re featuring Michelle Bezenar, Manager of Borrower Services at MacEwan University.

Michelle

1. When was the last time you were nervous?

I had an interior designer come to my place to help me with my kitchen renovation. I never had a “professional” come in and look at my place before – suffice to say I was worried about my decorating skills (or lack thereof)

2. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Play the cello

3. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?

Both sides now by Joni Mitchell (I sang it when I was about 10 years old!) ; All the way by Frank Sinatra ; Heart of gold by Neil Young

4. What is your best piece of career advice?

Don’t sweat the small stuff

5. What is your proudest work-related accomplishment?

My 35 years (and counting) at MacEwan University!

6. What is your favourite quote?

If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.

7. Who inspires you?

My mother – even though she passed away about 9 years ago, she still continues to inspire me.

7 Questions with René Martin

October’s installment of 7 Questions With…AAAL Members features René Martin, Director, Learning Services of Alberta College of Art + Design


1. When was the last time you were nervous?Selfie
I am very rarely nervous for myself; however, I have discovered a whole new level of nervousness with my eight year old daughter. Standing back and allowing her to try things, and possibly fail, is so hard. You want to protect your children from failure and hurt, yet as a parent, you know that’s an important life lesson. So I’m so often nervous for my daughter when she puts herself out there, but I put on the brave face so that she can reflect it.

2. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Be patient. But since I’m pretty sure I’ve missed that boat, speak other languages fluently

3. What is your best piece of life advice?
Learn to laugh at yourself. You cannot take yourself too seriously; if you do, life can be crushing. I think the ability to laugh at yourself translates into the ability to forgive yourself for your failings. With that forgiveness comes the ability to work on those failings, and keep trying until you can feel good about yourself and the choices you made.

4. What are some of your favourite podcasts?
Stuff you Should Know; The Daily by Michael Barbaro; This American Life

5. What do you do when you’re not working?
When I’m not spending time with my husband and daughter, I’m often found reading, enjoying delicious food and cocktails, and hanging out with an absolutely fabulous group of gals. And yes, sometimes all of those things at once.

6. What is your favourite quote?
“Thoughts become things, so choose the good ones”. The Universe (theuniverse@tut.com)

7. Who inspires you?
So many of my inspirations are women. Sadly, we still have to work harder, do more, overcome more, wade through the criticisms that come with it all just to be noticed. Just to be seen as equal. So women who have done this with graciousness, courage and strength are my inspirations. And even those that come through it all with with gracelessness, fear and weakness inspire me, because they still came through it.

7 Questions with Tatiana Usova

September’s installment of 7 Questions With…AAAL Members features Tatiana Usova, Head of Bibliothèque Saint-Jean, University of Alberta.


1. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?image
Play piano and arrange music like Tommy Banks

2. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Phileas Fogg from “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne because I love travel and adventure

3. What is your best piece of career advice?
There are at least three:
– Develop active listening skills, it is essential for workplace success;
– Take time to reflect on your life, career and goals you want to achieve;
– Be passionate about what you do and your future.

4. What is your best piece of life advice?
Success and happiness are greatly affected by our attitude towards life. Our state of mind determines the outcome of our endeavors. Staying positive is a choice. “A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”– Hugh Downs

5. What are some of your favourite podcasts?
Podcasts by Wayne Dyer and Brian Tracy

6. What is your proudest work-related accomplishment?
I am multilingual, and I am proud that I have worked in five different countries using three different languages. At present, I manage a French library, and it is my third language. I praise myself for having been able to adapt, to overcome cultural barriers and succeed in all places where I worked

7. What is your proudest non-work related accomplishment?
I was a leading actress in 2016 Fringe play that got 4 stars from Vue Weekly and was warmly recieved by the audience.

7 questions with Eva Revitt

August’s installment of 7 Questions With…AAAL Members features Eva Revitt, Subject Librarian at MacEwan University. 


Eva Revitt

1. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
To speak Italian. I love the language, the culture, the art, the food, the history. In short, everything about Italy.

2. If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?
I’m very fortunate in that I actually get to do this. I’m currently on a one year sabbatical leave.

One thing that has always irked me is how the library and the librarian are conflated in a way that a doctor and a hospital never is. The library is given agency and assumes the intellectual labour of the librarian. Our own professional discourse reinforces this; for example, overwhelmingly our associations are associations of libraries, rather than librarians. My research is about highlighting the work and professional experiences of the academic librarian. I’m focused on academic librarians because that is the world I know. Specifically, I’m interested in exploring how librarians’ academic status is shaped by the institution? In this case, the institution is the college or university but also the associated legislative and policy framework. Labour issues and documents such as collective agreements are big focus of my work.

3. What is your best piece of career advice?
Take measured risks.

4. What is your best piece of life advice?
Figure out your values and stick to them.

5. What is your proudest non-work related accomplishment?
A life time ago, on a tropical island far away, I became seriously involved in scuba diving. At one point in my life, I was one of a handful of certified female scuba divers in North America with a trimix mixed gas and underwater full cave certifications.

6. If you could live anywhere in the work, where would you go?
Italy, of course.

7. Who inspires you?
My boys. I have two, both are avid soccer players. One is very good and plays for a top team. The other is super average and plays for a super average team. My very good soccer player gives it 150%. Never gives up. My super average soccer player gives it 150%. Never gives up. They are my endless source of inspiration.