By: Vanessa Colantonio
In the eighth installment of our Meet Our Staff Series, we’re going to introduce you to Vanessa, our Information Services Librarian.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Family members?
I’m from Montreal originally. I moved to Vancouver in 1995 to go to grad school (Library and Information Studies) at UBC; graduated in 1997. Started work at CPL in March 1998.
What did you do before working at the library?
Other than being a grad student, I did a number of things: volunteer work, mostly. Over the years that I’ve been working here, though, I’ve acted, danced, was a member of a community garden, hosted a weekly radio program (CITR FM, UBC), worked in the writers’ room for a sitcom, taken up sewing, published writing … etc.
What do you do at the library?
I’m the Information Services Librarian, providing training and support to the staff in the Customer Experiences department at both branches.
What do you do in your spare time?
Playlists, lots of playlists … I’ve made countless, specialized playlists on Spotify.
Also, I’m a writer, so I’m always working on a creative writing project of some kind. My two cats, Dinah and Hampton, also keep me quite busy.
During the pandemic, I’ve developed a renewed appreciation for long walks: they can be very healing.
Were you a library user before you started working at the library?
Yes. I used school libraries a lot as a kid (in Quebec and Ontario) as well as some public ones.
My first library job was just before starting my undergraduate degree back east; I worked at McGill University Library, then later a Concordia University Library while I was a student there. In between, I worked at a small, independent bookstore for just under a year before it went under.
If you weren’t working at the library, what would you be doing?
Probably running a cat sanctuary.
What’s your favourite book?
Favourite?! There’s so many!
What are you currently reading?
Blood Grove by Walter Mosley: the latest in the author’s Easy Rawlins series. Rawlins is an African American self-styled Private I who solves mystery after mystery in mid-twentieth century LA.
What’s on your “to read” book list?
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
What’s your favourite song or album or artist .... or what's a song lyric that best describes your life...or words to live by?
Favourite Album: Again, too many to name!!! … Maybe, a jazz album … Charlie Parker with Strings? Parker was a pioneering modern jazz saxophone player (1940s and 50s) who recorded an album with a jazz rhythm section and a classical string section. It was actually two albums under the same title.
Also, Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis, drummer Chico Hamilton’s albums with flautist Buddy Collette … anything by Nina Simone …
What is your favourite resource at the library?
CreativeBug: for its sewing classes. Also, Kanopy: for its documentaries.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
To time travel.