13 Questions With: Sarah Khraishi
August 19, 2019
Records Coordinator, Government of the Northwest Territories
Who inspires you in your career?
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some fantastic librarians, even at this early stage of my career. For example, former bosses and mentors Stephen Coulstring and Marni Harrington, who work in very different contexts and libraries but who are both informed and active in the field, supportive of junior colleagues and students, and were ever-gracious during my time with them
Outside the library field, I had the opportunity to work with Chelsea Coosemans, a partner in Tax at PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada. I definitely aspire to have her expertise in my own field, and I always admired her ability to manage so many competing demands and challenging situations.
The first job you ever held and at what age and your first position in the library and/or information services field?
I worked as a barista at a coffee shop in my hometown as a teenager–I’m sure I served some truly undrinkable coffees, but learning how to cope with doing things badly at first was a good lesson. In terms of library jobs, I worked with the CRA’s Knowledge and Research program as an Assistant Research Specialist for eight months during a co-op. It was fantastic–a very positive introduction to the field with interesting and challenging work and awesome supervisors.
Why a career in librarianship?
I think information is a very human discipline, where people and their needs play a central role in how we address problems. In my position, I get to think about how people understand and look for information, the barriers to storing and managing information, and how my team can solve these issues while complying with important policies and legislation. Those are fascinating and broad questions for which answers are always evolving, and I find that very exciting. It also feels worthwhile to be helping preserve knowledge and information for future generations.
Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?
I keep a pretty spartan workspace, but I do have a few cool odds and ends: an illustrated book called “Wild and Wacky Plants of the Northwest Territories” that I think was intended for children but I love, and a collapsible neon yellow water bucket. I’m not exactly going out foraging, but I like to imagine that I could at any time.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t feel as guilty as I should about this, but eating anything ‘family-sized’ on my own.
Career advice – what’s your top tip?
I’ve tried to make myself do things professionally that scare me–lots of public speaking, poster presentations, stuff like that. Sometimes there are good reasons not to do something, but I’ve found that I tend to talk myself out of stuff if it makes me nervous, and that’s not a good enough reason for me to avoid things I want to do and that would be good for me.
What useless skill(s) do you possess?
It’s given me great joy so I’m not sure it’s wholly useless, but finding songs based on four seconds of distorted sound I heard on a bus once.
Proudest moment in your professional life?
My first peer-reviewed publication–not in the LIS field, but still a big achievement for me after what felt like endless tinkering, editing and hard work. It was worth it, and great insight into how the peer-review process works.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it
I’d like to be somewhere surrounded by untouched nature, where I can hike or explore or just sit around and read with some snacks. Probably an extravagant nap, preferably with a cat nearby to inspire the midday sleeping. Then I’d have a great meal with great wine, shared with friends and family. Afterwards I would catch up with them in my pristine woodland cabin (that somehow is walking distance from the great meal).
If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?
I’d like to work in healthcare–I think nurses have an incredibly challenging and important job, and as difficult and thankless as it probably is at times, it would be really worthwhile to help people so directly and in such an immediate, important capacity.
Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “
Visit strange museums, like the one dedicated to mustard, which I have in fact seen.
How do you stay current in your field?
I’m an ARMA member, and I take advantage of their training resources since they have so many and such fantastic ones. I also keep up with professional journals. My team has a great collection of resources related to the information field, so I’m lucky to have access to that as well.
What would you like your headstone to read?
“No fun allowed,” to discourage any gravesite antics that might wake me up.
In seriousness, “A loving partner, daughter, sister and friend.”