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Name: Jan Dawson aka Dawson (formerly Downright Dirty Dawson)
Social media:

  • librarian twitter account: @nunanishi
  • derby/life twitter account: @downrightdirtyd

Job Title: Ask Ontario Project Manager & VR Librarian
Volunteer Title: VP of Toronto Roller Derby & Co-Captain of Bay Street Bruisers travel team

Description of unique interest/hobby:

  • Women’s flat track roller derby is a full contact female sport that was born in the early 2000s with a ruleset that is still evolving due to the sport’s infancy. Some would describe it as a mix of rugby and hockey on roller skates. I discovered it in 2008 in Montreal with two library students in my McGill cohort and the three of us have been playing it ever since! In the Fall of 2008, I joined Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD) and was hired as Project Coordinator of Ask Ontario (askON). Four seasons later in 2012, I’m Vice President of ToRD and Project Manager of askON
  • I also like to play foosball and have played in tournaments everywhere I’ve travelled and lived: Southeast Asia; Korea; Western Europe; Eastern Canada; Western Canada; and now in Toronto.


What is the most rewarding thing about your hobby?

I think this can be summed up by saying the reward lies in the various benefits of being involved in a community: meeting people who are all cut from the same cloth, who instantly become your family and friends. It has been a pleasure to earn their respect and confidence to elect me as a leader and it allows me to learn new things everyday–both on and off the track in all facets of the sport, the business, the organization, and the social fabric.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

Again, I would have to say it’s about the community–working with askON staff who are all over the province in college and public libraries at various capacities, again cut from the same cloth. We all like helping the people of Ontario find info, research, think critically, and access libraries via the chat medium. It is such a powerful collaboration of libraries and people reaching out to connect with each other, sharing ideas and resources.

How your professional life informs your recreational life?

Because of my education and background, I have the tools in my arsenal to help the league business in organizational ways. I facilitate communication across committees and ensure knowledge of the sport and business is transferred, managed, and archived.

How your recreational life informs your professional life?

I am more comfortable with risk and even fear. I tend to be step outside my comfort zone to “feel the fear, and do it anyway” and I think this is from having to be aggressive on the track. I also feel more confident about my leadership and introverted communication skills.