I <3 the Library!

Happy Monday, dear readers! Reading Week is approaching, and if you’re like me, you’ve been hitting the stacks to do research for your papers. Have you noticed this poster? The Library is holding a video contest! It’s the perfect opportunity to flex your artistic muscle. Plus, if you’re looking for even more ways to procrastinate (thanks blogUT, I’m addicted to Cake Wrecks now!), making a video for the library has to be the most productive. The top two videos win an iPod Touch, and it doesn’t take a lot of work either – all you need is anything that can record video (this can be your cell phone, webcam, video cam) and less than 45 seconds to show why you love the libraries at U of T! Personally, I love the libraries because they’re the perfect spot for studying and making out*, but I wanted to see what the librarians at U of T thought. I met with the lovely Margaret Wall, a reference librarian over at Robarts. Read my interview to find out what it is that she loves about the library. *Not that I’m getting much done of either, mind you. Can you tell me more about the different libraries at U of T? There are over 30 libraries at U of T! Robarts, Gerstein, OISE and Engineering are among the larger ones on the St. George campus. There are also many smaller libraries that are connected to the different departments at the university, like Music, Architecture, etc, and there are libraries that are associated with most of the colleges as well. Many of the libraries on campus have a special focus and unique collections, like the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Collectively, they house over 16 million items, not including our electronic resources, like e-books and journals. That’s true -  the Hollar exhibition at Thomas Fisher just unveiled. Can you tell me more about your role at Robarts? I’m a librarian, and I spend half my time helping students and other library users with library research, and half my time on outreach projects focused on getting feedback from students about their library experience. How did you come up with the idea for the video contest? I got the idea from the University of Waterloo Library, which ran a similar contest a few years ago. They received lots of great videos and we thought it would be an interesting and fun way to see what’s important to students in the library. We’re looking forward to what the students at U of T have to say. What kind of videos are you looking for? We want to know what people love about the libraries – what draws them in, what’s special. The videos don’t have to be perfectly polished or Hollywood quality! People don’t need to feel intimidated. That’s why you can submit a video from your phone or webcam or any recording device. How does the selection process for the winning video work? The planning committee chooses the top ten finalists. The winners are chosen by students online. Our tech department is creating an online voting page for us – kind of like Canadian Idol! It’s nearing midterms; what sort of incentives do you have to get students to make the video? Incentives, well, of course we have the two iPod Touches that are our top prizes! If I may interject for a tik tok: it was here that Margaret took out the two iPod Touches. I snuck a picture for you. Sorry it’s grainy, but that’s what you get for top secret! Finally, why do you love the library? There are so many things that I love about the library. I remember a recruiting poster from the 1950s in an old magazine that I saw while I was in library school. It said, “You love people, you love books, become a librarian!” That describes me pretty well. If I have a quiet moment, I like to go up to the stacks, look at the sea of books and I just go “ahhh.” I love books and information and connecting people with them, and I get to do both as a librarian. -- Margaret told us why she loved the library, now it’s your turn! The contest is open until Feb 28 (you even get all of Reading Week!). If you can’t wait, let me know what you think about the libraries in the comments below! Cheers, - Cynthia

2 comments on “I <3 the Library!

  1. I love the library because … there is no other place where I can enter a room and there is so much knowledge available right at my fingertips.

    I love the library! I could be perfectly happy stranded on a deserted library 🙂

    – Fariya

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