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13 Questions With: Laura Lemmens

July 13, 2013

Head Librarian, Alberta Government Library – Great West Life Site

Photo of Laura Lemmens

A hero who has inspired you in your career?

I think it would have to be heroes as I had so many great professors for my Masters including Alvin Schrader, Hope Olson, Lillian MacPherson and Toni Samek. Each one inspired in different ways but I think the overarching theme is that their common sense approach to issues.

The first job you ever held and at what age?

My brother had a newspaper route starting when he was 12 years old. I was nine at the time and helped him out with his route with doing inserts of advertisements for the Saturday edition, delivering papers, collecting the weekly five cent fee and then cashing in on Saturdays at the Edmonton Journal. When I turned 12, I had my own newspaper route and then when I was 17, I became our Neighbourhood Newspaper Shack Manager, for the princely sum of $15.00 per month. I can fold any newspaper so that it won’t come apart when thrown at front doorsteps.

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

Our elementary school had a library and I volunteered in the library when I was in grade six. We would place coloured fabric tape on the bottom of the spine and then write the call numbers in white ink with a nibbed straight pen. My recollection is that all the call numbers started with “F” which was presumably for fiction.

Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?

My geode rocks with quartz crystals used as decorative arts and as paper weights.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Sun, wine and bossa nova.

Career advice – what’s your top tip?

Get involved with associations and communities of practice, network and volunteer! All of these activities will get your name out there and people with think of you when opportunities present themselves. You will make all sorts of connections to ideas and people.

What useless skill(s) do you possess?

I hold the Department record for folding an ARC box {17 seconds}.

Proudest moment in your professional life?

My proudest moment in my professional life would be mentoring ten or so University of Alberta MLIS Practicum students and seeing their successes!

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

With no questions asked.

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

I would be an artist. My undergrad degree was in Art & Design. I also attended Parsons in Paris for a summer. Art seems to creep into all aspects of my work such as library branding and marketing, presentations, websites, statistics and visualization of information.

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

“have my art work stolen” …a compliment according to my Art Teacher.

How do you stay current in your field?

Staying current is like sinking in quicksand. We are in an information age where information is expanding geometrically and the only way to try and keep up is to network and discussion, sign up for social media sites and blogs related to your areas of interest and more. All things are interesting and the more you know, the more connections you make.

What would you like your headstone to read?

A true scallywag.

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