13 Questions With: Feather Maracle Luke
May 14, 2017
Reference Department Advisor, Timmins Public Library
Who inspires you in your career?
My children and my childhood, and the children to come.
When I was growing up, it was rare to see Indigenous people accurately represented in stories. Aside from the legends that I read at my Dad’s office at the Band Office in Tyendinaga, the only Natives I read about or saw were in history books. And the depictions were always of scantily clad, muscular warriors – usually wielding weapons of pain. Rarely were Indigenous Peoples depicted as tender, gentle or peaceful (well, with the exception of those pictures depicting them dying of small pox, I suppose!). So, I don’t want this for my children or other Indigenous children (or any children at all, really). I want them to be able to picture themselves in a story, or in a moment of history – in a positive way and feel good about themselves.
I’m also inspired by my family. Growing up, I was surrounded by family, who are storytellers and wisdom keepers. They would share and I would listen. The knowledge that’s handed down our oral tradition is being made available to share, and share widely, with the creators of the works that are promoted by programs like First Nation Communities Read program and others. The knowledge and information is being discussed in the Indigenous Stream at the OLA Super Conference and First Nation Public Libraries are being championed and supported by the OLA Indigenous Task Group. Material is being created by Indigenous authors and/or illustrators, it is being promoted, supported and distributed – so my children, and the children to come, can access it, and be inspired and feel proud of their history and culture – in a way that I was not.
The first job you ever held and at what age and your first position in the library and/or information services field?
The very first job I ever held, I believe I was about 4 years old. I walked down the runway, holding my Mother’s hand, at a fashion show in Ottawa. I have a vague recollection of being backstage and seeing a little boy crying. I was then changed into his clothes, my Mother took my hand and I followed. I was so curious about what was happening, I didn’t even think to cry. And, because I didn’t cry – I got to do it again, and I also got to model girls’ clothes too! (Oh, I should also mention that these were traditional Indigenous attire!)
My first position in the library and/or information services field was at the Deseronto Public Library, where I was a summer student and would run children’s programs and tutor kids to read. On some afternoons, I worked in the Deseronto Archives in the back of the library. It was such a pleasant experience.
Why a career in librarianship?
Because I’ve always associated libraries with good feelings. When I was a young girl, my best friend and I would visit the library, every Friday night. We would read and research on any topic we were curious about. One of the best feelings is having a question and finding the answer. And, I’m constantly curious. And, I really like to share the peculiar things I discover.
Also, because librarianship lets you be helpful, and chatty and creative – and I feel like I’m really good at these things!!
Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?
Right now, a pair of 3D printed feathers that I’m going to make into earrings!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Setting my alarm really early, with the best intentions. Then snoozing it until it’s absolutely time to get up.
Career advice – what’s your top tip?
Ask questions and don’t be shy. Speak your mind, but know the difference between speaking your mind and giving some lip! Opinions are to be shared, but they can be influenced. Share your hopes and dreams, you never quite know who’s listening, and ready to support you in any way possible!
What useless skill(s) do you possess?
I can fit my fist in my mouth.
Proudest moment in your professional life?
Probably the first time I was asked to speak at a conference. I remember being super excited, and then telling my CEO (who’s now retired), who was incredibly supportive and really shared and guided me in creating and presenting my very best.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it
Right now, I feel like I would like to get up, make coffee, then clean my house and shower. Have some lunch and look at useless stuff on the Internet and read for the rest of the afternoon. I would like to go out for supper and finish the night drinking wine, listening to music and playing crib.
If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?
Hmmm, maybe a flight attendant.
Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “
Work in a library and own a lot of books. (I think my classmates may have been clairvoyant!)
How do you stay current in your field?
I read a lot – books, magazines, blogs, news articles, news articles posted to f/b (my f/b feed is heavy Indigenous and heavy library content). And, I like to surf the net. Since I’m very curious, I always have something to look up. And, I also get distracted – to learn about new things, that aren’t always related to whatever I started out researching. But, often times, they turn into little gems that I can take out at just the right moment!
What would you like your headstone to read?
“She was the bubbles in the champagne!”