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13 Questions With: Jaclyn McLean

13 Questions With: Jaclyn McLean

October 30, 2015

Collection Services Librarian, University of Saskatchewan

A hero who has inspired you in your career?

My paternal grandpa. He encouraged my sisters and I to reach for the stars, and always get as much education as we could. In our last conversation, I am so glad I was able to tell him that I had been accepted to library school.

The first job you ever held and at what age?

My first real job was making pizza at a restaurant then known as Panagopolous Pizza. I learned a lot about things you should (and shouldn’t) put on pizza. I had just turned 16, and remember being so proud to put on my polo shirt, apron, and baseball cap and report for my first shift.

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

My first library job was my co-op term at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Library. I did some very rewarding work with their collection, and learned a lot about library service and technology for those living with visual impairments. And I have found applications for this knowledge in every job since.

Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?

I think the coolest thing in my office is the inspirational Skeletor poster that a colleague gave me after a particularly difficult week – it says “I am deeply fulfilled by all that I do,” and always gives visitors a laugh.

What is your guilty pleasure?

If you enjoy something, it shouldn’t make you feel guilty, but mine is probably buying yarn – I buy it whenever I come across a skein I like, and in consequence, have quite a stockpile. But in my defense, it will all eventually be knitted up into something, it just might take me awhile.

Career advice – what’s your top tip?

The tip that has gotten me the farthest is – take chances and say yes. The things that seem the most frightening and challenging are also the most rewarding. And even the little things add up – an attitude of “yes I can” pays off in innumerable ways.

What useless skill(s) do you possess?

I can wiggle my ears.

Proudest moment in your professional life?

So far, it’s getting accepted for a solo conference presentation at an international conference. Who knows what it could be by next year (see above career advice).

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

Sleep in, pot of tea, a walk in the sunshine (assuming this miraculous free time coincides with a summery day), a good book, making or enjoying a good meal with friends. Just general relaxation and enjoyment – and preferably, while I’m spending my time just the way I like, someone else is cleaning my home!

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

My fall-back career was and is being a lawyer. So probably that. But if I was less realistic, maybe running my own yarn/knitting shop with a bookstore/cafe feature?

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

…play the trombone, get all A’s and be invisible.

How do you stay current in your field?

I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but networking – talking to others in the field about what they’re doing, and what they’re planning next. I also find a lot of energy in attending conferences, both in-person and virtually (go Twitter!), and there are a few journals that I follow.

What would you like your headstone to read?

It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do. – Jane Austen

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