13 Questions With: Michelle Campbell
January 17, 2018
Supervisor, Library & Media Services, Upper Grand District School Board
Who inspires you in your career?
I am inspired by the Teacher-Librarians that I work with every day. As we have moved away from traditional school library towards a learning commons model I am regularly amazed to see how these teachers have been able to reinvent themselves, their spaces and the services they provide to students. It’s also exciting to see how students are responding to makerspaces and participatory learning environments. It feels like school libraries are leading the charge to reinvent schooling and inspire the next generation of innovators which is very exciting.
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 waitressing. A family friend owned a restaurant in the small town where I grew up and she hired me the day I turned 13. It sounds a little young by today’s standards but I was ready to earn some money and take on the responsibility.
My first position in a library was running the Summer Reading Program at the Fergus Public Library during my undergraduate degree. I was lucky to work for the same Children’s Librarian that I admired as a child using the library. She inspired me to consider librarianship as a career.
Why a career in librarianship?
After my Bachelor of Arts degree I worked for a year in accounting but was not satisfied with what I was doing nor did I see it as my career. I starting thinking about my true passion and around this time I came across my School Days book that my Mom used to store all of my school keepsakes, pictures, awards, etc. and I had noted all the way back to Kindergarten that I wanted to be a Librarian.
Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?
3D printed Halloween pumpkin
What is your guilty pleasure?
I have a bit of an addiction to hand-dyed yarn.
Career advice – what’s your top tip?
Don’t get attached to a piece of software, a resource, or a process. Don’t get stuck in a certain way of doing things just because “we have always done it this way.” As librarians we need to be flexible, open, and always learning and we need to value people and our relationships more than anything else. I also think that my ability to look at problems as opportunities for change has been effective.
What useless skill(s) do you possess?
I have racked my brain on this one and I cannot think of anything. Maybe all of my skills are useful in some way! :)
Proudest moment in your professional life?
Last year I was nominated for the Guelph YMCA Women of Distinction award in the Information Technology category. Participating in the ceremony and reading over the nominations from colleagues that I admire and respect was definitely the proudest moment in my professional life to date.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it
My perfect day would include not waking up to an alarm, coffee, knitting, reading, working out, shopping, and walking my dog. All of this would be happening in Paris of course.
If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?
I think I would be in a job that involves working with people and problem solving. I went through a time when I was young when I wanted to be a lawyer so likely something in the legal field. Or maybe I would own a yarn store.
Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “
“never miss a party.” I don’t remember being home much in high school.
How do you stay current in your field?
Social media, attending conferences, reading professional magazines, and by exploring new opportunities. For example last year I was a planner for the OSLA stream of OLA Superconference. I not only learned about the work that goes on behind the scenes in planning a large conference but participating in the session planning exposes you to lots of new ideas and trends.
What would you like your headstone to read?
Beloved daughter, mother, wife. A long life well lived.