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13 Questions With: Aimee Ellis

July 28, 2013

Manager, Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources Library

Photo of Aimee Ellis

A hero who has inspired you in your career?

I don’t have a single hero who has inspired me in my career. Multiple individuals have inspired me, and they all share a strong love for what they do … their job or career is so much more than a job to them, it is their vocation. They would be doing the work they do, regardless of it being called a career, a hobby, or a passion.

The first job you ever held and at what age?

I became a cashier at a grocery store when I was 16. Over the next 9 years I worked in 2 stores and I ended up working in almost all departments of the store. Even back then, I knew that it was important to me to learn as much as I could about as many aspects of my employer as I could. I have retained this broad interest, which is why I believe I enjoy my current position so much … always something new to learn, and such a broad variety of work to be enjoyed when working in a small library.

Your first position in the library and/or information services field?

As I wanted to explore the library world before I invested my time in an MLIS degree, I gave working as a page at the University of Guelph’s McLaughlin Library a try. I learned so much from the generous librarians and staff at this library. Thanks to all the wonderful people I met while working at this job, I decided that library work was a good fit for me.

My first professional job in the library field was in a research library for a chemical company. I loved the close relationship that the library enjoyed with the researchers and with the company as a whole. From working on competitive intelligence to digging up century-old chemical research, this job was both challenging and enjoyable.

Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?

A small rock. Seriously. A rock comprised of garnet and quartz. It is a gift from a prospector (one of the library’s clients). Second coolest thing? The interlibrary loan tiara. We rotate responsibility for ILLs, but have trouble remembering who is taking care of them … whoever has the tiara is doing the ILLs.

What is your guilty pleasure?

European chocolate.

Career advice – what’s your top tip?

Follow your passion. Skills can be learned, but our passions are part of who we are. If we follow our passion’s path, we will be both happy and contributing citizens.

What useless skill(s) do you possess?

I remember numbers. I don’t know why, but I remember telephone numbers, room numbers, pretty much any numbers. Sometimes this is useful, but I wish I remembered people’s names instead of their telephone numbers.

Proudest moment in your professional life?

The proudest moment in my professional life was when my mentor suggested that I take on the leadership role in our new library when our two separate libraries merged at devolution (2003, when the Federal Northern Affairs Program was passed down to the Government of Yukon). Knowing that she had confidence in me was such a gift.

If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it?

That is a tough one! I think I would start my day by waking up without an alarm clock. Then, I would enjoy some tea while reading a magazine in the sun in my back garden. I would then go to a roller rink with a beautiful wood floor, great sound system, and tacky lights, and skate for a couple of hours (if there was a roller rink in Whitehorse). This would be followed up by a meal with friends at my favourite Mexican restaurant. After returning home, I would work on some glass pieces and put them in the kiln for fusing. I would close out my evening by reading a book. Any book. I’m an omnivore of books. My 24 hours would finish when I opened the kiln the following morning to see what surprises the fusing had created.

If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?

I really don’t know. I can’t imagine not working in some area of the information industry.

Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “

“… become a librarian”. I think everyone else knew it was my destiny, except for me. I didn’t come to the realization until many years later.

How do you stay current in your field?

Living so geographically isolated, I depend on online resources and tools to try to keep current. I also try to hire co-op students and to work with new grads, as they are usually the most current in the field. In addition, I try to attend or present at a conference in-person every couple of years.

What would you like your headstone to read?

Lived fully while alive.

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