Name: Claire Parker
Job: Visual Resources Librarian, the University of Western Ontario
Hobbies: blogging about art books, running, hiking, cooking

What is the most rewarding thing about your hobby?

In my spare time, I review art books and write about art on my blog,
I’ve been interested in art for as long as I can remember, and this is what inspired me to pursue university degrees in Art History and a career in art librarianship. Blogging allows me to continue to look at and think about art and culture in a relaxed, informal context.

I also enjoy getting outdoors — whether I am going for a run, hiking a trail or walking to the market to pick up groceries.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

The best part about being a Visual Resources Librarian is that I get paid to do two things that I genuinely love; I help people and I learn about art.

How does your professional life inform your recreational life?

Working in a university art department involves interacting with artists, researchers and curators. It’s great, because I’m always being reminded to check out events in my community. I try to attend local exhibitions on a regular basis and keep up with art-related journals, magazines and blogs in my spare time.

My job requires that I spent 10% of my time at work conducting original research…and since there are only so many hours in the day, I find that my professional life inevitably creeps into my recreational life.

What do you do all day?

What I do in a day varies considerably from week to week. For the most part, I help university instructors obtain copyright-cleared digital images and films for classroom use. This involves conducting research, contacting rights holders, negotiating licenses, cataloguing images, and maintaining a digital image database. I also spend approximately 10% of my time serving the university community through committee work and volunteer activities, and as I mentioned earlier, 10% of my time is dedicated to my own research. Right now I am exploring attitudes toward copyright held by graduate students enrolled in studio art programs.

How often do you shelve books?

Never. The library that I manage is home to a collection of films, digital images and slides. There aren’t any books to shelve!

How often do you do office work?

It depends by what you mean by “office work.” I spend at least some time every day filing (waivers, contracts, receipts, etc.), communicating with colleagues and co-workers through email, updating software, and helping users with printing equipment.

Do you work at the public desk all day?

No. I do not sit at a public desk, although I do provide faculty members and course instructors with reference assistance. Most of the people that I help drop by my office or send me an email.

Are librarians private about everything?

I wouldn’t say that I’m an open book (no pun intended?), but I don’t think that I fit the “quiet librarian” stereotype.  If anything, my friends and family would probably describe me as very sociable…maybe even as outgoing, depending on who you ask!

Do you need peace and quiet to work?

It depends on what I am doing. If I’m writing, I prefer absolute silence. When I’m cataloguing I like listening to music.