What is the most rewarding thing about your hobby?
I have been a horror fan since I was about 11 or so, and as a teenager I never really thought I would be able to turn my hobby of watching hours and hours of splatter films and listening to punk rock and heavy metal records into something productive like a magazine, and that my opinions would be read literally all over the world. So just doing something productive with my questionable obsessions meant a lot to me when I first started at Rue Morgue at age 21. But as a I get older and further entrenched in my career as a librarian I’d say the most rewarding thing about my hobby is that it gives me a creative outlet for my passions outside of the workplace. Without artistic pursuits I would probably get pretty depressed.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Though libraries and librarians might still struggle with looking cool (as evidenced by this project, presumably), the fact is that everyone loves libraries. Just knowing the kind of stuff you can find there, whether print or online, is pretty fascinating. How many horror movies feature a scene where the protagonists, usually teenagers, go to the library to research some past crime or murder? You would think with today’s asumption that eveything is in Google that this device would not longer be used, but it is. A couple years ago there was this terrible teen horror movie that came out called Haunting in Connecticut and there was one scene that went like this:
Wendy: [to Matt] Maybe this place is haunted.
Wendy: [to Matt] Either way,I mean we have to find out who put these things under the floorboards and why.
Matt : [to Wendy] Yeah but how?
Wendy: [to Matt] Okay don’t tell anyone, But there are these buildings all over the country where secret knowledge is kept.
[Matt staring at Wendy]
Wendy: [to Matt] Known only, as libraries.
So it seems the marketing folks believe that young people still see Libraries as these sacred kinds of places where the truth can be discovered….But anyway, my job is to essentially build those collections, to acquire that secret information and make sure it is available. There are a number of things I like about my job, but to answer your question, I like the fact that I am acquiring that information that may hold the answer to some huge question, whether it’s the cure for some disease, or the truth behind a haunted house.
How your professional life informs your recreational life?
In the case of both the library and Rue Morgue, I am essentailly dealing with content. As Electronic Resources Librarian, I am in the business of buying eBooks and eJournals, with the assumption that eventually all information is headed the way of being ubiquitous and available on the go, as opposed to a physical article that you carry around with you. So I closely follow trends in academic publishing, and how students and Faculty use and consume information. With Rue Morgue, it came out in 1997 when the Canadian print publishing industry was in crisis and no one believed it could survive in the climate as such. It did, and it flourished actually, but for the past five or so years, print media has been dying a much more obvious death. Although I am just a writer with no decisions making capacity over the magazine, as a very long-tenured writer I have a close relationship with the editorial staff and inevitbaly am involved with questions about how the magazine goes forward as a print publication and how will it adopt to the ways in which people consume their horror information. Then there is the fact that the magazine’s business is heavily supported by movie studios and record companiess that want to sell their products (i.e. advertisements), whose formats themselves are affected by the new ways in which people consume information. What is the future of the DVD format? How will movies be consumed going forward? There is also the “generational” aspect to this information consumption model. Do younger students simply expect to find everything online, and if so does that mean a print magazine’s readership/customers are all over the age of 30?
How your recreational life informs your professional life?
The answer would essentially mirror above, but I think my role as Electronic Resources Librarian gives me deeper insights into format preferences than my role at Rue Morgue would help inform decisions I make at York.
What do librarians/you do all day?
Answer emails, renew existing licenses for eJournals/eBooks, negotiate deals for new content, organize information sessions to raise awareness of products within the library, attend lots and lots of meetings.
Is every librarian doing the same thing?
No, I am the only one at York that does my job. Every university library has a librarian that does roughly what I do, and together we represent our schools in Ontario for OCUL (Ontario Council of University Libraries) a provincial consortium. Other librarians at York do things like teach information literacy classes and answer questions, which I did in previous jobs, but not this one.
How often do you shelve books?
How often do you do office work?
At least 50% of the time. the rest of the time is spent in meetings.
Do you work at the public desk all day?
Is what you do satisfying?
Yes but not in and of itself. Again, I need creative pursuits in order to keep satisfied. Being a librarian defines maybe 50% of who I am.
Are you so bored that you have to find a crazy hobby to keep your life interesting?
I would find a crazy hobby to keep my life interesting no matter what. I crave and need constant excitement so I seek it out. Also, I am a people person and my job only involves working with people outside the library occassionally, when I meet with product vendors.
Do librarians have secret exciting inner lives to compensate for their regular public lives?
As far as I know there is no need/effort on the part of librarians to compensate for their regular lives. And most librarians I know do not lead secret inner lives, but then again, I guess it wouldn’t be a secret if I knew all about their personal lives. This is changing with the new generation of librarians, I think, but I think that’s really an overall trend that sees people doing “adult” things (like getting married, having kids, buying homes) later in life. People don’t want to give up their youth so easily. Just because you have a respectable career doesn’t mean you can’t spend your hours outside of work doing less than respectable things. It’s a fair question though, does having a “regular” job like librarian, accountant, lawyer, etc. make people stir crazy and want to do things that are a little more insane than they would normally do? Maybe.
Are librarians private about everything?
Well many (not not all, and less and less I think) librarians are introverted (including myself) and introverts are by nature private about their feelings and lives outside of work.
Do you love reading?
Do you need peace and quiet to work?
If I have to read something carefully like a contract or license, then yes. If I am data crunching then I tend to bring up Grooveshark and put my headphones on.
Why are all librarians women?
I don’t know but I thank God every day that they are!