13 Questions With: Richard Bee
February 4, 2019
Head Librarian, Portage la Prairie Regional Library
Who inspires you in your career?
I think the people who have inspired me the most are my former colleagues at the John E. Robbins Library in Brandon, Manitoba. I was fortunate to work for many years with a group of individuals who are dedicated to helping the university community as much as they can, and who persist in doing so through the many trials and tribulations thrown at them over the years. My time with them has had a profound impact on how I operate professionally, and where I set myself to proceed within librarianship.
The first job you ever held and at what age and your first position in the library and/or information services field?
My first librarian job was as a student assistant at the John E. Robbins Library at Brandon University when I was 17.
Why a career in librarianship?
To be perfectly honest I kinda fell into it. I worked in Brandon for several years, then when I was 25 it finally dawned on me that ‘Hey, you actually like doing this work. Why don’t you see how far you can go in this profession?”
Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?
I’m still getting my office set up (I started my current position as Head Librarian on Dec. 18/18), but I do have a globe that levitates which I plan to have located somewhere that’s not too terribly cluttered!
What is your guilty pleasure?
I enjoy weeding the library collection shelves…
Career advice – what’s your top tip?
Biggest piece of advice I can provide: find a mentor and/or a peer support group. This profession can make you feel incredibly lonely if you are not careful, so it is crucial to have people who you are comfortable speaking to on professional matters that are bothering you. As a wise Canadian philosopher once said, “We’re all in this together”.
What useless skill(s) do you possess?
I’d like to think all skills have a use, but one skill I have that I know has very little practical use currently is being able to operate a skid steer (which are very fun to use btw!)
Proudest moment in your professional life?
During my first few months of my first Head Librarian job, I had a staff member tell me that I had returned a “family atmosphere” to the workplace.
If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it
Either something very boring like playing video games/watching YouTube, or something more meaningful like touring local sites.
If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?
I’m not entirely sure. As I said I basically fell into this profession so I can’t say with any certainty where my life would have taken me if I hadn’t started working in a library.
Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “
In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to become a hermit.
How do you stay current in your field?
I search online for library-related topics to see what information is freely available. I also follow library-related social media and blogs to catch current topic issues, and look on job boards to gauge the current health of the librarian profession. When possible I do try to read articles on topics of professional interest, but that can be difficult to do when you work in small Prairie cities with limited access to professional resources.
What would you like your headstone to read?
“He danced on the edge of uncertainty, and made a wider path for others to follow”