Name: Carmen Ho

Job title: Librarian, Toronto Public Library

Twitter: @hocarm

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

I believe that public libraries are the heart and soul of librarianship because they connect people to opportunities, bring communities together and change lives. As a public librarian, I strive to do just that. We live in such a diverse and growing city that I am truly honoured to provide equitable access to public library services that meet the changing needs of Torontonians.

What is the most rewarding thing about your hobby?

My hobbies include travelling and photography.

Travelling: I’m a strong believer that travelling leads to discovery and really broadens the mind. Travelling helps us learn about ourselves and about others. It helps us connect to other cultures and introduces us to greater diversity. As Saint Augustine once said “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” I couldn’t agree more!

Photography: Photography lets me be creative. I enjoy taking photos but I also enjoy admiring other people’s work. I think photography gives new perspectives and it allows people to see the beauty of things that they would otherwise miss.
How does your professional life inform your recreational life?

Toronto is rich in culture and as a public librarian in Toronto; I have the privilege of serving and working with these diverse cultural groups. My profession allows me to interact and connect with the people I serve. I am intrigued by their personal story, culture and experiences and I want to learn more. Travelling and photography are two hobbies in which I am able to get a glimpse into the lives of people that I’ve interacted with.
How does your recreational life inform your professional life?

In addition to being a public librarian, I am also a member of a non-profit organization, Librarians Without Borders ( I have had the opportunity to travel with Librarians Without Borders to Guatemala for two consecutive years to assist a non-profit school build and develop their school library. During these trips, I’ve gained new perspective on and learned about issues and problems facing the development of libraries, library services and the library profession within the Guatemala socio-economic and cultural contexts. I think it’s important to learn about the language, culture, traditions, history and local customs of every place you travel to. It provides insight and new perspective on your professional and personal life. Especially in public librarianship, we need to better understand the communities we serve in order to build strong and thriving communities.

What do librarians/you do all day?

As a public librarian, every day is different. Besides being on the reference desk, I also plan and execute library programs, deliver computer-training classes, provide tours for class-visits, do outreach to local schools and the community, maintain the library’s collection, and keep up with current news and trending topics in the library and everyday world.

Of course, I don’t do all that in one day. It would be a combination of those tasks. That’s why organization and time management are fundamental traits to have as public librarians!

Do you love reading?

Is what you do satisfying?
Absolutely. My job is very rewarding.

Do you need peace and quiet to work?
No. I actually function better with noise in the background. It’s satisfying for me to hear noise in the background, especially if it’s library customers engaging in conversation or children’s laughter!