Interview by: Ann Johannes
In the third installment of our Meet Our Staff Series, we’re going to introduce you to Madeline, who works in the Customer Experiences department and on the Library Link.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Family members?
I grew up in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, but I’ve also lived on the Sunshine Coast. I have a younger brother named Michael who lives with me. My dad lives on Vancouver Island and my mum lives on Salt Spring Island, so I’m sort of an expert ferry passenger.
What did you do before working at the library?
Before working here, I worked at Indigo. I’ve always had a love of reading and writing, so being surrounded by books all day is something of a requirement for me now. I’ve also been quite busy as a full-time student until 2019 when I graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing.
What do you do at the library?
I work in Customer Experiences as a Customer Assistant. This means I help customers with their accounts, checking out material, and reference and technology questions. I’m also an on-call Customer Experiences Lead which means I help open or close the library, supervise coworkers, and problem-solve. My absolute favourite part of my job, however, is working on the Library Link (or, as I like to call it “Mo, The Library on the Go”). This is our portable library which goes out into different parts of the community to provide service. Because of the size of the space, interactions with patrons tend to be a lot more intimate and personal. I really get to know what each family/person likes so I can bring it to them next time. So fun!
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m a writer! I spend pretty much all my spare time writing poetry, short stories, screenplays, etc. I’m on the writing team for a web series that will hopefully release on YouTube next year. I’ve recently finished a manuscript for a children’s picture book that I hope to publish in the future, and right now I’m researching for a novel in the works. Something else I absolutely adore is going to thrift stores and hunting around for vintage or unique fashion. And, of course, reading!!!
Were you a library user before you started working at the library?
Yes! I’ve been a big fan of the library since I was very young. I ran the school newspaper in my high school and we always met in the library and it felt like such a welcoming, special place that could be whatever we wanted it to be. That feeling is really irreplaceable and has been something I’ve sought out the rest of my life. I was a regular patron of CPL before I applied and was beyond excited when I got the job. This job has meant everything to me and shaped so much of who I am. I’ve even decided to pursue a Masters of Librarian Sciences next year. My dream would be to be a Children’s Librarian and help design and run programs that promote literacy and a love of arts in children and continue to promote the library as a welcoming, open space for all.
If you weren’t working at the library, what would you be doing?
It’s pretty hard to say! As I’ve said, the library’s become such an intrinsic part of my life at this point. I’d certainly still be a patron here. I’ve been told I’d make a good elementary school teacher. I think in a past life I was a comedy writer for a show like Kids in the Hall or early SNL, or possibly a witch. Or both.
What’s your favourite book?
Probably my all-time favourite book is a tie between Little Women and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I’m a really big fan of children’s books, especially classics. I love anything that’s magical and whimsical and imaginative. Queer representation doesn’t hurt either!! But probably the best written book I’ve ever read is Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. It’s absolutely stunning and represents everything I could possibly strive to achieve as a writer.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished Carson McCuller’s The Member of the Wedding which is a short novel set in the South in the 1940s about a very precocious young girl who becomes obsessed with running away with her brother and his bride after their wedding. It’s sort of a strange concept, but it’s very well written and unique.
What’s on your “to read” book list?
What isn’t? I use Goodreads as well as Chilifresh to track my reads. I currently have over 500 books on my “to read” list so…you could say that I’m ambitious. Right now I’m focused on reading books for research for my novel. These are mostly nonfiction books on topics about the time period I am studying. But I’m also reading some fiction to help inspire my writing in terms of craft. For this project, the next book I’m planning to read is Mary Walsh’s Crying for the Moon.
What’s your favourite song or album or artist....or what's a song lyric best describes your life...or words to live by
My favourite band is probably a tie between Joy Division and Talking Heads, but my favourite solo artist is David Bowie. I even have a David Bowie tattoo. I love postpunk, alternative, and new wave music and also dream/synth/bedroom pop like Grimes and Clairo.
What is your favourite resource at the library?
It’s probably a pretty boring answer to say books (but it’s true). I love the Wonderbooks which are a new addition to our children’s collection. They’re books that read aloud to you while you turn the pages. I also love that we have a subscription to Kanopy because there are so many cool movies on there.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I’d probably like to communicate telepathically. It would come in handy a lot.
What’s one thing people might be surprised to know about you?
This probably won’t surprise anyone who actually knows me, but it is a “fun fact” about me. In July 2009, I was at Leicester Square in London, England for the premiere of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I didn’t actually go inside to see the film, but I saw all the actors on the red carpet in the pouring rain. 13-year-old me was elated.