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13 Questions With: Kerry Macdonald

13 Questions With: Kerry Macdonald

March 29, 2015

Hospital Librarian, St. Boniface Hospital (University of Manitoba)

A hero who has inspired you in your career?

I suppose people often say someone famous when asked this question, but I think I’m fortunate to have had many people in my life that have played a key role in helping me achieve my goals. I always admired Pat Routledge, my Library Technician Instructor, for her wisdom, dedication, positive attitude, level-headed perspective, and professionalism. She continued to be a very important role model for me as I went back to do my Masters. I am also fortunate to work with a diverse group of people at the University of Manitoba. Many of them inspire and encourage me daily.

The first job you ever held and at what age?

Like many others at a young age, I had a paper route. My most significant memory of this job was the day I decided I would deviously throw all of my papers over the fence and into a deserted lot on my route. Shortly after arriving home, my mother looked at me, rather sternly and knowingly, “So… did you deliver ALL your papers today?” To this day, I don’t know how she knew.

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

My first library job was a part time student position in the Library at the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER). CIER was an incredible place to work with some really fantastic people who were very passionate about what they were doing. I met people at CIER that I am still friends with today. I love what the organization stands for – check them out online at

Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?

A photograph of Jean Chrétien on a treadmill.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Coffee with Baileys on a Saturday morning.

Career advice – what’s your top tip?

Network, network and then network some more. This doesn’t come naturally to some of us in libraries. But the rewards for doing it are plentiful and often surprising. A wise librarian once said to me that it’s not about what you can get from the relationships that you’re trying to build, but about what you might have to offer others. What a great perspective!

What useless skill(s) do you possess?

I wish I could think of something useless but still catchy or interesting, but all that comes to mind is the fact that I used to be able to do the moonwalk. I can tell you that I spent a lot of time in my pre-teens and teens learning how to whistle and snap. I can still only snap with my right hand. Considering how much time and energy I spent learning these skills at such a late age, they’re pretty useless to me.

Proudest moment in your professional life?

One of my proudest moments (if you can call 3 days a moment) was when the 2010 Manitoba Libraries Conference kicked off. I was the Chair of the Program committee and I had an excellent team of librarians and library technicians from across Manitoba. I was really proud of the work that we all did in putting together an excellent conference program with some very well-known Canadian speakers. Rumour has it that the 2010 conference is remembered as one of the best.

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

I suppose I’m fortunate in that I do sometimes get 24 hours all to myself. I often spend it catching up on work, errands, cleaning or attending to things I feel I must get done. One of my major challenges in life is slowing down. My goal this year is to spend more of my free time being in the moment, rather than hustling around and trying to get more done on my never ending to-do list.

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

Cliché, but I think I probably would’ve ended up being a teacher. There have been two or three times in life that I’ve almost gone that route. But everything happens for a reason and I think I make a better librarian than I would a grade school teacher. If I were to leave libraries tomorrow, I think I’d become a yoga instructor.

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

…be a librarian. Ok, perhaps not, but almost. I don’t live in the same province that I went to school in. Over the years, Facebook has connected me with many of my old high school and undergraduate classmates. Whenever I tell them what I do, I get a resounding, “I can totally see that!” or “That is sooo you!”. I’m never quite sure how I should take that.

How do you stay current in your field?

I read, listen, and try to take part in things whenever I can. It’s great to keep on top of the literature, but we are a humble bunch in libraries and we often don’t write and publish about our activities or experiences. Sometimes, some of the best information can be discovered by connecting with colleagues through things like listservs, conferences, and association work (see the bit above about networking!).

What would you like your headstone to read?

Finished her bucket list.

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