13 Questions With: Laura Thorne
April 11, 2016
Communications, Marketing, and Assessment Librarian, UBC Okanagan Library
Who inspires you in your career?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of amazing people who have inspired and motivated me.
One of my most inspirational librarians has been Sarah Stevenson, who was my supervisor when I was an intern at Dalhousie University’s Killam Library. She was always looking out for the interns, finding projects that would help us develop our skills and knowledge as we prepared for our careers. Following graduation, Sarah’s continued to provide me with excellent career advice and support.
My friend and research partner Catherine McGoveran is another inspiration to me – she’s brilliant and keeps me on my toes.
The first job you ever held and at what age and your first position in the library and/or information services field?
My first job was delivering the pennysaver and Sears catalogues with my sister when I was 11 or 12. I think pulling a heavy cart through deep snow to deliver the huge Holiday Wish Book helped motivate me to do well in school.
My first position in the library field was as a Circulation Library Assistant at the University of Guelph’s McLaughlin Library.
Why a career in librarianship?
I worked in my university’s library for the last few years of my undergrad and was also volunteering as a peer helper in the career services department. I’d help students do research on the various careers they might be interested in, do personality testing, and help them find some options before they met with a career advisor. I did some of the tests myself and librarian kept coming up. The more I researched it, the more it made sense. I was looking for a career that changes a bit day-to-day, that would allow me to learn new things on a regular basis, and where I could help people. Librarianship has been a great fit.
Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?
A framed concert stub signed by my favourite band (Stars).
What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures, like what you like, as long as it makes you happy. But I guess I’m a little embarrassed about how much I like Maroon 5.
Career advice – what’s your top tip?
It’s hard to do, but don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something. Especially if you’re a new grad! People in the library and information profession are lovely, kind, and willing to share their knowledge and insight with you. Reach out and ask for help!
What useless skill(s) do you possess?
The ability to recite pretty much every line from The Office.
Proudest moment in your professional life?
Throughout 2014, our library ran a campaign to highlight the need for a bigger library and we also wanted to figure out what we could do to make the most of our limited space. I helped organize and lead the campaign, which we called #MORELIBRARY, and it resulted in our student union calling for a referendum (which passed with a flying 85% YES VOTE) for students to help support a library expansion. When the referendum passed, it was a great day. The expansion planning is still slow going, but it was nice to see my work have such a positive result.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it?
Hmm, that’s a good one. I’d probably read a book, binge-watch something on Netflix, and go for a hike with my dog. Enjoy the time to myself and do my best not to check my email.
If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?
Ideally, something in communications/journalism/public relations. The communications and marketing portion of my job is one of my favourite and most challenging aspects. Originally, I wanted to become a journalist, but didn’t think going into a rapidly changing and highly competitive field would be the best idea… so I chose libraries, which as it turns out, are also rapidly changing.
Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “
I had to ask a friend from high school for help with this one – he said start some kind of social justice revolution.
How do you stay current in your field?
I find Twitter really helpful for staying current. LIS people are always sharing articles and blog posts, and asking/answering great questions. I also rely on colleagues to send me news they see, subscribe to some active listservs, and attend conferences when I can.
What would you like your headstone to read?