Get to Know Your Library Staff: Karen

What is your job title?

Library Services Specialist

When did you start working at the library?

I started in May 2016 and worked for the summer. I've been here continuously since May 2017.

How would you describe your role at the library?

I'm in charge of programming for literary events for Adult Services, which includes the writer in residence programs and services, our Fall Feast of Words author festival, and our annual Celebration of Poetry. I also manage the majority of the adult nonfiction collections. I answer a broad range of questions at the information desk, and I'm a member of the tech training/digital literacy team so I also lead technology programs and do one-on-one technology training appointments.

What do you like best about your job?

I love working with writers through the writer in residence programs and services. I worked with writers for the greater Edmonton area for eight years as a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) municipal liaison and it was one of the things that inspired me to go to library school. I also get to use a lot of spreadsheets in my collections and programming work. I love spreadsheets!

What do you wish people knew about the library? 

I wish people knew that materials don't stay in our collections forever – and that's a good thing! We need to weed our collections regularly to keep them healthy, just like a garden. Materials are pulled out because they are out of date or they just aren't circulating, or they're in poor condition and we can't get a replacement (for example, gold-panning books are often returned with water damage and most are no longer being printed). Sometimes we have extra copies or get new editions, and the titles we no longer need can go to the book sales, where residents can purchase them at a very reduced price. This makes room for new, exciting, and up-to-date titles to be added to our collection.

Which books or resources in the library do you find most interesting? 

I read mostly fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary romance, but I think our conversion kits collection is very interesting. You can borrow a kit to scan books or film or to convert older formats (like VHS/cassettes/records) to newer formats.

Tell us about one book/movie/album/magazine that you really love.

My all-time favourite book is The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay. It's a historical fantasy novel based on Moorish Spain. This dramatic epic fantasy will pull you into the lives of these dynamic characters and their struggles.  A brilliant physician, a charismatic military leader, and a renowned poet/courtier/deadly fighter find their lives interwoven as Al-Rassan moves toward the brink of war.

When you're not reading or working you're...

Probably thinking of ways to organize things so they're more efficient, camping, or hanging out with my 8-year-old.