13 Questions With: Catherine McGoveran
October 13, 2014
Government Information Librarian, University of Ottawa
A hero who has inspired you in your career?
To be honest, I’m inspired every day by a lot of people around me and even many I don’t know personally. I find inspiration from those that aren’t afraid to experiment, fail, and challenge themselves.
The first job you ever held and at what age?
My first job was as a Page, shelving books, at the Unionville Public Library in Markham when I was 15.
Your first position in the library and/or information services field?
My position as a Page was my first in libraries. I got started in libraries quite early, but didn’t know at that time that it would be a lasting trend.
Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?
Figurine of Finn from Adventure Time + pennant banner made from old maps of Canada.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Probably that I love Coronation Street, but I don’t feel very guilty about that.
Career advice – what’s your top tip?
Get as much relevant experience and meet as many people as you can, any way you can – working, volunteering, job shadowing, informal coffee, etc – and keep in touch with the professionals you meet.
What useless skill(s) do you possess?
Is there such a thing as a useless skill? Everything serves a purpose.
Proudest moment in your professional life?
When people ask me what I do for a living, I now get to respond by saying “I’m a librarian”. It’s a great feeling, particularly as a recent graduate.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it?
Making deluxe sandwiches, cycling, and playing all the board games (with friends and family, of course). That can be done in one day, right?
If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?
If I worked totally outside the information industry, there a few other, wildly varying options I’d explore: pastry chef, locomotive engineer, or front-end developer.
Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “
I think I was actually voted the person most likely to “help others”. Yes, that’s the broadest category ever, but I’d say that librarianship definitely falls within this.
How do you stay current in your field?
My current go-to tool for staying up to date is Twitter. I back this up with blogs, articles, news stories, etc. I’d also define “my field” as quite broad, as I’m interested in exploring how we can take the trends or strategies used in other fields and apply them to librarianship.
What opportunities does the shift to digital-only government information present to the library community and to users?
For many groups, though not all, the shift to digital represents an increase in access to government information. As the same time, however, we must be increasingly cognoscente of the fact that digital information can be quick to change / disappear. Access and preservation must go hand-in-hand in this respect.
Biggest surprise working in this subject area?
This wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but being a new (gov info) librarian I was quite happy to be able to connect and get involved with the Canadian government information community. It’s been great to work with so many different colleagues on a wide variety of projects. There is lots of activity around government information in Canada and I’m thrilled to be working in this subject area.
What should every information professional know about gov docs?
The field of government information is quite complex. There are always new things to learn, new information to find, and a variety of challenges when finding and working with government information.
What would you like your headstone to read?