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13 Questions With: Caroline Vandriel

August 18, 2013

Updated: September 6, 2018

In 2014, I moved to Sylvan Lake, Alberta and became the Library Director. Best. Job. Ever! The library staff are brilliant and caring, coming up with fabulous ideas like having a Little Free Pantry in our stacks and giving away free books at the beach all summer long.

I served on the board of directors of the Library Association of Alberta (2016-2018), am one of the organizers for the annual Read for 15 challenge, and write a monthly book review for the local paper. I am still happily addicted to coffee and ice cream.

Public Services Consultant, Northern Lights Library System

Photo of Caroline Vandriel

A hero who has inspired you in your career?

I have been blessed to have met some amazing people in my profession who constantly inspire me: Rebecca Jones, Cabot Yu, Stephen Abram, Rhonda Moore and Barbara McDonald. I think my biggest hero of all would be the library volunteer I met in South Africa; she taught herself bookbinding and cataloguing in order to take cast-off books, salvage them, and make them appealing for school children to read and study from.

The first job you ever held and at what age?

I was eleven or twelve when my sisters and I got our paper route. Around the same time we also started working at local farms picking berries.

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

I was a volunteer in my high school library. The first paying position I had in the field was an internship for Citizenship and Immigration Canada in Information Management.

Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?

Our acquisitions person, who was also an artist, created comic book superhero likenesses for all of the staff for our conference two years ago. I still have mine on the wall.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Coffee and ice cream, sometimes together.

Career advice – what’s your top tip?

Remember: nobody is going to die (by how you do something or what you leave undone). Sometimes I become frenetic by the demands of the job, real or imagined. A colleague and I used to remind each other of this phrase, take deep breaths and then carry on calmly.

What useless skill(s) do you possess?

I can do a variety of sound effect laughs, from cackling witch to chortling cartoon character.

Proudest moment in your professional life?

The proudest moment would have to be the closing event of the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute 2012. I was surrounded by people who love libraries and are amazing at what they do.

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

Sleep, garden, eat ice cream and drink coffee on my front porch, meander through Pinterest and read, read, read!

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

There are days when I think that I would have made a brilliant comic actress. I’d still love to take a stab at doing voice work.

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

Trip over my own feet in the most dramatic way possible.

How do you stay current in your field?

I read/skim blogs and get daily email updates from Library Journal and Harvard Business Review. I am Facebook friends with other librarians who post articles, pictures and anything library. I read the newsletters from the other library systems in Alberta and The Alberta Library (TAL). I also attend conferences whenever I can, both for the sessions and for the networking.

What would you like your headstone to read?

She lived.

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