On co-op: Q&A with Chris Read

Chris Read is an MLIS candidate at Western University and started an 8-month co-op placement with the Office of Research and the Collection Development team at the University of Waterloo, Dana Porter Library in September.

Where is your co-op?

I work with the Collections Development team at the Dana Porter Library, and with the Office of Research at the University of Waterloo in the role of Digital Assets Assistant.

What are some of your duties at the University of Waterloo?

Many of the projects I work on are in support of the implementation of myResearch; a research management and intelligence tool backed by the Office of Research. MyResearch will provide University of Waterloo researchers with an online portal to collect and display a record of their scholarly output. Since the implementation of myResearch is being rolled out in stages, one of my initial tasks has been to study a test group of researcher CVs in support of verifying research output data in the new system. This process includes ensuring accuracy and completeness of metadata and affiliations for identified works, and communicating with the project team to resolve issues as they come up. I have also worked with the Office of Research to create training materials and workflows for new data entry roles, and will continue to be involved with their training process and supervision as they come on board.

I also work to support the Copyright and Licensing Librarian and the Collection Development team in support of their initiatives and activities. Recently, I have worked on a project that involves comparing the copyright websites of the U15 schools (Group of Canadian Research Universities), which includes Western and Waterloo. Copyright has become a dynamic area in Canadian librarianship in recent months, and it will surely continue to attract attention going forward.

In LIS9005 we talked a lot about organization cultures in information organizations. What is the organization culture like at Waterloo?

There are a variety of ways to become involved in the library and across the Waterloo campus, and I feel supported in pursuing these opportunities from my colleagues. For example, I am involved with campus-wide Indigenization initiatives, and recently joined the library’s Open Access Working Group. Later this month, I will participate in a 2 day retreat, MAP3, at which proposals for future projects in the library will be tabled. I hope to bring my enthusiasm for a number of the proposals, and my perspective as a new co-op student to this process. The nature of my role is collaborative. Through the Office of Research, I am able to liaise with researchers and deans in a number of faculties. I have the opportunity to work with a number of librarians who have a variety of skill sets, interests and professional backgrounds.

Do you have any tips for students interested in a co-op at an academic library?

I found that the specific project for my co-op position, as described in the job application, was something that I could research during the co-op application stage. I was able to look at other institutions with similar implementation processes which helped illumine the project a bit more for me. This kind of background information was useful as I considered my skills and experience in relation to this role.


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by | October 21, 2017 · 5:24 PM

Skype with a Librarian

Melanie Parlette-Stewart: Digital Media Librarian,
University of Guelph


On Monday October 2nd, CAPAL Western Chapter had an opportunity to speak with Melanie Parlette Stewart who is a Digital Media Librarian. She talked about her MLIS experience at the Dalhousie University and her current role as a Digital Media Librarian with the University of Guelph.

During our Skype conversation Melanie provided us with a PowerPoint presentation that provides information about her journey into the Digital Librarian field, and her previous experience as a Blended Learning Librarian. Feel free to click on this link to access this PowerPoint presentation: CAPAL Conversation Melanie Parlette Stewart

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On co-op: Q&A with Cal Murgu

Cal Murgu is an MLIS candidate currently on co-op in the Information Services and Resources department at the University of Waterloo, Dana Porter Library.

Where is your co-op, and how did you find the process of securing a co-op?
I’m about half way through an eight-month co-op at the Dana Porter Library, University of Waterloo.  I divide my time between three portfolios: reference and instruction, bibliometrics and research impact, and collections development.  The co-op process was straightforward, though I understand it has changed markedly in the interim.  I made the process quite a bit more stressful for myself by applying solely to eight-month positions in academic libraries.  As a result, my choices were limited to two or three institutions.

What are some of your duties at the Dana Porter Library?

I work on the reference desk for three or four hours a week, assisting students and faculty with their research needs.  I’ve had the opportunity to lead one-shot instruction sessions, as well. In these sessions I teach students how get the most out of our research databases, and introduce them to basic aspects of information literacy.  I’m looking forward to running more of these sessions in the fall.  I also support the Bibliometrics and Research Impact librarian with specific bibliometrics projects.  Generally speaking, these duties involve pulling and analyzing citation data for specific research centers or institutes.  Recently, I’ve been playing around with bibliometric data visualization tools, like VOSViewer, exploring ways of presenting data in more palatable ways.

In LIS9005 we talked a lot about organization cultures in information organizations. What is the organization culture like at Waterloo?

The Dana Porter Library is organized by departments (Circulation, ISR, Collections, Cataloguing, Digital Initiatives, Special Collections & Archives).  While each department has its own independent organizational structure (and culture, I suspect), working groups and committees provide individuals with opportunities to branch outside of their official department.  For example, the Open Access Working Group, a working group which I recently joined, has members from Digital Initiatives, ISR, and Collections Development. This type of collaboration is pretty awesome, for it naturally promotes collaborative, multidimensional problem-solving.  In general, the work environment as a whole is casual, but professional.

Do you have any tips for students interested in a co-op at an academic library?

Academic libraries are pretty awesome places to work; you’re surrounded by erudite colleagues, faculty, and students in a constantly changing environment.  I’d encourage anyone who’s even remotely interested in the idea of working at an academic institution to apply.  Generally, the competition for these (limited) positions is stiff.  I’d suggest that you make an effort to become conversant in the different trends affecting academic libraries, in Canada as well as abroad, and think about how you’d support these initiatives.  Ultimately, it’s about added value.

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Lunch with a Librarian

Last Wednesday, July 12, CAPAL members met with 3 librarians for our mid-semester Lunch with a Librarian event:

  • Megan Anderson, Research & Curriculum Librarian @ Fanshawe College Library
  • Joanne Paterson, Head, Metadata Access @ Western Libraries
  • Melanie Mills, Library & Learning Services @ Huron University College

Over a buffet meal at the Grad Club the group talked all things academic librarianship, including conferences, beneficial courses in library school, the “non-linear path” to finding a career, and the use of social media as a librarian. The general consensus on social media use? It’s an effective means of connecting with people you might otherwise not get the chance to, but using the same account for personal and professional purposes might require a little bit of self-censorship!

Megan, Joanna, and Melanie were also willing to share their takes on the qualities that hiring committees look for in a candidate. While relevant technical skills were certainly deemed important, evidence of self-awareness, a willingness to learn, and adaptability were listed as qualities that make a candidate stand out. Useful advice, indeed!

CAPAL members would like to extend a huge thank you to Megan, Joanne, and Melanie for such a wonderfully informative afternoon! Because of our lengthy chat about social media, all three have provided us with their Twitter handles:

  • Megan Anderson: @mandersonlib
  • Joanne Paterson: @bibliojo
  • Melanie Mills: @msmelmills

Our group is now looking forward to our next event, a chat with Jenny Foley—recent FIMS-grad and Learning and Curriculum Support Librarian for Brescia University College.

[This post was written by our lovely Newspaper Editor, Emily Carlisle]

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On co-op: Q&A with Stacey Zip

Stacey Zip is an MLIS candidate currently on co-op in the Information Services department at the University of Windsor Leddy Library. She took some time to answer several questions about the co-op process and her experience thus far.

Where is your co-op, and how did you find the process of securing a co-op?

I am currently completing a four-month co-op at the Leddy Library, University of Windsor. I found the co-op process to be fairly straightforward – the most difficult aspect was probably juggling interviews and applications with school work and classes. I was unsure of which job I liked best until I completed the interviews; from there, I knew that the Leddy Library would be a good fit for me.

What are some of your duties at the Leddy Library?

I work the reference desk three times a week in 2-hour stretches and recently started having students schedule appointments with me if they need one-on-one help with researching for a particular assignment. Shadowing information literacy classes, making displays, cataloguing, and assisting other librarians with their projects are recurring tasks.  I also lead a Conversation Class and curated a list of books to add to Leddy’s Polish book collection. I’m currently working on updating the Leddy library website and creating web pages for international students, working with Zotero, SHERPA/RoMEO, and OpenRefine to add to Leddy’s institutional repository, and using OJS 2.0 to create an online journal, in addition to other projects I have on the go.

In LIS9005 we talked a lot about organization cultures in information organizations. What is the organization culture like at Windsor?

The Leddy Library is formally organized by five departments: Information Services, Bibliographic Services, Acquisitions and Bibliographic Services, Systems, and Access Services. Each of these departments work somewhat independently of one another and occupy different spaces in the library, but common goals and partnerships exist. Informally, people of like minds cluster into groups, working on joint projects, etc, while some are singular. The informal system is what challenges and helps keep the library working harmoniously.

Do you have any tips for students interested in a co-op at an academic library?

Don’t forget to tailor your resume to each position in addition to tweaking your cover letter. And this may sound obvious, but I accidentally sent out a few said tailored application packages to the wrong positions – make sure you triple check that it’s going to the right job!

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