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#2 SIS Kids Are Doing It For Themselves: Meet Valerie!

1. Name: Valerie Medzalabanleth

2. Year: II

3. Stream: Librarianship

4. Hometown: Montreal

5. What is your favourite book? Impossible to say as it changes based on my mood. Today, my since high-school love for the Sandman series has been awakened, so we’ll go with that.

6. Do you own an eReader? If so, is it cool? I do, and it is cool. Now, all my reading whims can be satisfied immediately, so when I stay up until 2:00 to finish a book, I get to start a new one right away.

7. If you weren’t in library school, what would you be doing RIGHT NOW? Probably still editing subtitles. Possibly PhD. Or more literally, I’d be sleeping.

8. What is your dream job? As of this moment, public librarian. I’d love to do collection work.

9. What is your dream sandwich? I am not a sandwich lover, but grilled cheese on nice bread (perhaps a cranberry nut) and old cheddar.

10. What is your favourite thing about living in Montreal? Bagels. [Editor’s note: But from WHERE?]

11. Living or dead, who would be at your imaginary potlatch? I also don’t like potlucks, but I’d love Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Joss Whedon, Neil Gaiman, Katharine Hepburn and Patrick Stewart to start with.

#1 SIS Kids Are Doing It For Themselves

Let’s get to know each other! I think you should fill out the silly SIS Kid Questionnaire above and submit it to I’ll post completed questionnaires up on the blog so that we can all get a little more acquainted before having some terrific conversations about libraryland at McGill.

Keep reading to learn a little bit more about me (if you want or whatever).

1. Name: Emily Hendriks Upper

2. Year: MLIS Twosie

3. Stream: Librarianship

4. Hometown: I say Guelph, Ontario, but really, I was born outside of Fergus, Ontario, the home of the Highland Games.

5. What is your favourite book? Dancing With Cats

6. Do you own an eReader? If so, is it cool? No. But if I did, you bet it’d probably be cool.

7. If you weren’t in library school, what would you be doing RIGHT NOW? I would probably be getting my boating licence.

8. What is your dream job? I’d like to author the next great American cat dancing novel.

9. What is your dream sandwich? Salami, lettuce, tomato, and Stensons Mayostard.

10. What is your favourite thing about living in Montreal? Hotties.

11. Living or dead, who would be at your imaginary potlatch? John Hodgman, Keiko the Orca, and Nellie McClung. We’d have pizza and lemonade.

McGill SIS Bloggers

Guys! Check this out! The lovely Laura Sanders, one of our very own at McGill, is now a contributor over at Hack Library School. Check out her very first post!

And the Overjoyed Librarian (an anonymous McGill student) has shared a very entertaining post that you can read here.


Sign up for a Professional Partner!

The deadline to sign up for a professional partner is tomorrow, Wednesday the 14th. Forms can be found here. The Professional Partnering Program, offered by the CLA Student Chapter, is a great way for SIS students to meet with working librarians from all sorts of libraries. Maybe you have questions? Maybe they have answers!

Important, a mentor is to have.


Bloggin’ ’bout Blogs

Every once in a while, I’m confronted with just HOW MUCH there is out there on the internet. In SIS, we talk a lot about Information Overload — and sometimes it can get a little boring — but the fact is, Information Overload is a fact. After coming across a Hack Library School post in my Google Reader about Hackers’ favourite library blogs to follow, I thought it might be nice to share it with you all. They’ve also come up with a more extensive list (of over 200! blogs) here.

But first! Every SIS student should definitely sign up for an RSS feed reader. As I mentioned above, I use Google Reader.  And, no, I am not being sponsored by them. But I can’t say enough how great these things are — you’ll just have to see for yourselves. By signing up for Google Reader today! (Little. Yellow. Different.)

Hack Library School is a good place to start if you want to find some neat library blogs across North America. Since I’m ready for the weekend and they’ve already compiled that list above, I think I’ll just send you all over to them. And, hey, did you notice that they won the Salem Press Library Blog Award for Library Blog Newcomer, 2011? Yeah, that’s a thing.

If you want to stay closer to home, McGill Library has its own blog. Lots of McGill Library School alumni have kept up great blogs, including this one and this one. And even though it’s not technically a blog, you should all make sure to make use of the SIS wiki.

Hopping around blogs is pretty fun, so I encourage everyone to do it! You’ll quickly find some good, interesting things to subscribe to that will help you keep informed about libraryland. I also encourage you to talk about some of your favourite library blogs by commenting below.

Back to School

I hope everyone is aware that school starts this week. It came as a shock to me when, after a summer of procrastination, I checked my schedule last Friday to learn that my first class is on September 1st at 8:30 am. So long sweet sleep-ins!

New MLIS students will be getting a taste* of the Education Building and SIS life tomorrow as they attend the first Orientation Day. Good luck future librarians! (Maybe don’t read this McSweeney’s article if you’re nervous about heading down the library career path.) Old MLIS students who want to get involved in Orientation might be too late! But should definitely check with Alexis McKenzie to see how they can help out. Email her at

ALL MLIS students should get involved with the Student Mentorship Program. It’s a great way to meet people and share library school information informally. I didn’t sign up last year and I really regretted it. But not this year, guys. This year I’m shooting for the Mentor Moon. See you there? Email Valerie Medzalabanleth at for more information.

And, of course, if anyone wants to get involved with the blog, please email ME at I would lurve to hear what y’all have been up to this summer. Except for you, Les. You’ve had your 15 minutes.

*Pizza lunch.

On My Summer Vacation I… Played at the MCL

By Les Corbay

Summer fun and fun with books! That’s what it’s like working for the Montreal Children’s Library (henceforth known as MCL) in the summer.  I have now been working for the MCL for a little above a year, and over that time I have gotten a pretty good handle on what it’s like being a children’s librarian here in Montreal.  Summers working for the MCL are comprised primarily of four things:  Book Club, Cabot Square, Board Games, and Community Events.  I, however, have managed to toss in a few extra tid bits of amazingness just for fun.

My first major summer event was a book drive I coordinated with the CBC.  The story goes, back in March my library had a flood.  And, well, the CBC got wind of it and before you know it, I had 5000 books donated to me by bookstores and private donors from across Montreal.  With these books, the Tyndale St. George’s Community Centre team and I were able to replenish the Community Centre’s book supply for their Early Childhood Education department and the After School Program, as well as help refill the shelves in the MCL.

Since then, I have been cataloguing like crazy and working to get the donated books on the shelves.  These books also need to be ready to read for the summer Book Club.  So far we have 18 children in our Book Club, and the kids have registered more than 180 books read since the Book Club started at the end of June.  And because we received so many books as part of the book drive, I have been able to give away lots to the kids as prizes for just being amazing readers.

Oh, and there’s more! In collaboration with the Ville Marie borough the MCL has a summer events series which takes place in Cabot Square, near downtown Montreal.  Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, about 150 kids show up for a different cultural event showcasing the talents of Montreal performers.  So far we have showcased: circus performers, singers, and even a paleontologist.  It’s amazing watching the kids get really excited about learning how to dig up and preserve dinosaur fossils.

I have also had the pleasure of working with the Ville Marie borough with their Quartier en Movement events happening on Rue Pierce.  As part of the event, I helped operate an information table, answering questions and giving out important information about the library to the community.  It was a hot, but great way to spend a couple weekends enjoying the summer sun.

Oh yes, and in June, with the Release of Cars 2 3D, AMC donated 100 movie passes to my library.  I was happy to share them with the Community Centre, where kids from the Tyndale Summer Camp, who are regular library patrons in their own right, and students from our reading club were able to see the movie for FREE!

Not a bad list of events and accomplishments considering we’re only half way through the summer!  Still to come, I have more community information sessions, and then at the end of the summer the Little Burgundy Festival is happening and I am so excited about it!  (Oh, and I forgot to mention, yours truly invited Emily U. to a BBQ in Little Burgundy at the Community Centre this summer, where she got just a taste of what it’s like to be a librarian in such an amazing community.)

Editor’s note: It’s awesome. Especially if you’re good at ducking rogue basketballs like I am.

On My Summer Vacation I… Had a Rare Job

Flip, McGill’s Rare Books and Special Collections department is cold in the summer! Actually, it’s cold all the time. It’s got something to do with book preservation, but I’m no old-book expert. I’m just a summer student worker. To kick off the “Library-ish Shenanigans I’m Up To This Summer” series, I’m going to tell you all what it’s like in a land where fleece is worn yearlong and books need spine protectors.

At Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), I technically work under two job descriptions: Student Navigator and Safdie Project Assistant. However, my daily work assignments are hard to categorize under either description. I guess, generally, I’m a student assistant and as such, I get to do a lot of different things. This means that I’m learning new stuff all the time, like What’s an incunable? Where is the best Architectural Archive in Canada? What’s in the McLennan Library basement? And totes more.

I suppose the three tasks that I spend the most time doing per week are: re-shelving books, conservation work, and manning the desk. While re-shelving books is never the most exciting job, re-shelving books in RBSC keeps me on my toes. The collection is divided up into lots of little sub-collections and each one has its own quirks. When it comes to classification systems, the main collection and many sub-collections are easy peasy LC call numbers, but I’ve also had to learn about Cutter call numbers, as well as some custom in-house systems like the one used for a sub-collection called Colgate. Half of the items in this collection are listed under textual call numbers and the other half under numeric call numbers, but all are inter-shelved together. And then divided into more mini Colgate collections. And then housed in two locations. So yeah, finding things isn’t always so straightforward. As another example, an item in the Blackader-Lauterman Rare collection could be in any of 4 different rooms depending on its format (octavo, folio, or extra large folio, a.k.a. “elf” in the biz) and whether it’s under LC or Cutter classification. Lugging around all the keys to get to books in various glass cases beyond various locked doors kind of makes me feel like a dungeon master.

Conservation work, on the other hand, keeps me on my butt. Conservation work entails sitting alone in a back room, suiting up books in mylar dust-jackets, spine protectors, acid-free-cardboard boxes and other gear that helps to ensure these books last another couple hundred years on the shelf. It’s during this task that I get to look through some pretty neat stuff. I’ve heard that books are supposed to be dead and whatever, but gosh, some of them are so pretty and old and alive! Like Vanna White.

And finally, manning the desk at RBSC, which is what I was doing when most of this blog post was written, can sometimes be a little dull. However, at the desk I get the chance to practice my reference skillz and interact with patrons. And that’s pretty fun! Even when patrons are befuddled and have come into RBSC only to find out how to get away from RBSC. (They’re usually looking for the P’s on the 5th floor). When I’m at the desk, I feel a little glamorous. I get to buzz people in and check ID’s. I act as the face of the whole operation and I keep things moving along. Just like Vanna.

And then I remember that I’m just a summer student worker. But hey! It’s good experience for the resume.


SIS students! What are you doing this summer? I need s’more submissions, so don’t be shy! Email me your ideas:

*Are you an incoming SIS student and looking for a library job on campus? Sign up for Work Study (if you’re eligible) ASAP. That’s how I found my job. Feel free to email me with questions. Also, props for finding the blog!

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Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.