Photo credit Robert Abel.

Librarians seem to be making a name for themselves on Jeopardy! these days and here at UBC Library, we’re proud to count one of our own among them. Dr. Jennifer Abel, who is currently earning her MLIS and working as a student librarian in the Education Library, recently appeared on Jeopardy! on July 17. We caught up with Jennifer to learn about her Jeopardy! experience and what she values most about UBC Library.

What does the process of applying for Jeopardy! look like?

The first thing you have to do is do an online test. They host them a couple of times a year. It’s a 15-minute timed online test of 50 questions. They don’t tell you how you do. You only find out if you did okay on the test if you get called for an in-person audition.  I did the online test twice, once in the fall of 2016 and once in the spring of 2017. I was called in for an in-person audition in February 2018.

At the in-person audition, you take another written test and then they hold some mock games where you practice with the signalling device and answering in the form of a question. They record a short interview as well to get a feel for your personability. Once that’s complete, you’re in the contest pool for 18 months. You may or may not get called and I was lucky enough to get called.

What was it like once you got to set?

All the filming is down in Culver City, California at the Sony Pictures Entertainment studios. They tape five shows in one day, so basically, a week of shows. Having watched the show basically my entire life, I was sort of used to seeing the sets and the big board. But it’s different when you’re actually there. You’re on the stage going “Wow, this is bigger than I thought!”

Photo credit: Jeopardy! Productions Inc.

What was meeting Alex Trebek like?

He seemed very much like his professional show persona. I think he’s the most gentlemanly game show host I’ve ever seen, which I think is part of being Canadian. In between the shows, he takes questions from the audience — he’s very quietly funny. Apparently, he’s also a handyman — not that he does that on the set, but he showed us a picture of himself up to his waist in his wife’s bathroom floor because he was renovating the bathroom. It made me think, you can take the boy out of Sudbury but you can’t take the Sudbury out of the boy!

Librarians and librarians-in-training seem to be doing very well on Jeopardy! recently. Why do you think that is?

I think librarians in particular are very curious — they’re interested in lots of different things. They generally have a good memory, because we have to remember where all the stuff is! One of the things we learn in library school is asking the right questions when we’re conducting reference interviews with faculty and researchers. I think that skill really comes in handy in Jeopardy!.

As a former PhD student in Linguistics and current MLIS student, what do you value the most about UBC Library?

I think the people are great and their expertise is so helpful. The librarians I worked with during grad school are the reason that I wanted to go to library school. I admire their willingness to try new things and their work to make the university a better place. I think of the work I got to do with the Research Commons and just how much of a difference that’s made in the lives of so many UBC grad students.  That support wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for folks in the library.

Jennifer Abel worked as a Graduate Student Peer for Thesis and Dissertation Support at UBC Library’s Research Commons from July 2012 to April 2015 and September 2017 to August 2018, where she taught workshops and offered one-on-one consults.

She completed her PhD in Linguistics at UBC and is now working towards earning her MLIS.

Three years ago, Wendy Traas moved from Toronto, where she worked as a Liaison Librarian at the University of Toronto Mississauga, to Vancouver to take on the role of Reference Librarian at UBC’s Education Library. “BC is beautiful, and I really wanted to live somewhere beautiful. It was also the perfect role for me. I felt like Education was a great fit for what I had done before, because I’d also worked at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.”

At UBC, she works primarily with the teacher candidates who come through the Faculty of Education, as well as graduate students and educational researchers. “We do a lot of instruction in the library. In the orientation sessions that we run, students come into the library, and we want to get them immersed in our collections and give them a chance to explore what we’ve got.”

One of the most interesting parts of her role, she says, involves working closely with other educators and picking up new instructional strategies and ways to use emerging technologies. “This place is rich for those kinds of experiences and I really get recharged just hearing about other academics’ work and other fun and innovative projects.”

This year, she was able to use augmented reality (AR) as part of the Education Library’s instructional programs by setting up with unique AR targets designed to engage students in key collections and resources. The project was a successful collaboration between the Chapman Learning Commons, iSchool, and the Education Library.

“We’re also excited about community engagement with the library,” says Wendy, referring to innovative programs like the Seed Library and the Young Learner’s Library (YLL).  The Education Library is in process of developing the YLL into a flexible, multi-purpose area that addresses both a need to support joint Library/ Faculty of Education programming as well as a need to have a space that is welcoming and appropriate for local caregivers and kids. As it continues to develop, in both physical features and programming, it will also serve as a model for teacher candidates of what a contemporary school library learning commons could look like, as well as opportunities for rich learning experiences for iSchool GAAs with an interest in Children’s Librarianship as well as alternative practicum placements for Education students.

Although Wendy isn’t new to UBC anymore, she has plenty of helpful advice to any librarians who are just coming on board. “New hires should get in touch with all the other new librarians because they should know that they’re not alone,” she says, adding that she appreciates the support network that exists at UBC.

Learn more about the Education Library’s initiatives.

Wendy Traas is one of UBC Library’s 2018 Employee Recognition Award winners, receiving the Innovation Award for her outstanding work. Read more about the awards and this year’s recipients.

 

The Koerner and Education libraries will be closed Saturday, June 9. Both libraries will reopen on Monday June 11 at 7:30 a.m. (Koerner Library) and 8 a.m. (Education Library) respectively.

Please refer to the Library Hours and Locations to make alternative plans.

Head, Education Library
Full-time, ongoing General Librarian position with 5 year renewable Head term
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus

Anticipated start date: January 2, 2018

UBC LIBRARY

The University of British Columbia Library is one of the largest academic libraries in Canada and consistently ranks among the top university research libraries in North America. UBC Library has 14 branches and divisions, two campuses (Vancouver and Kelowna), one off-site hospital library, and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre – a multi-purpose teaching and learning facility.

The Library’s collection of over 7M items includes 1.4M ebooks, 229,020 electronic journals, 850,000 maps, audio, DVD/video and graphic materials, and 1,703 bibliographic and full-text databases.

More than 300 knowledgeable employees – librarians, management and professional staff, support staff and student staff – provide users with the excellent resources and services that they need to further their research, teaching and learning.  To learn more about working with UBC Library and to explore our aspirational values visit UBC Library – Why work with us.

EDUCATION LIBRARY

The Education Library collections serve as the foundation for teaching and research in the Faculty of Education. The Library’s development is unique and changing and the relationships between practice, theory and research have resulted in building a distinctive collection.  For nearly twenty years, materials supporting practica and basic pedagogical courses comprised the core holdings of what was a Curriculum Laboratory.  Now, the Education Library collections are comprised of children’s books, school texts, and multimedia for K-12, as well as, professional monographs, serials, microfiche and electronic resources dealing with teaching strategies, ideas and research in Education.  A high priority is placed on materials that reflect Canadian content and approach and materials pertaining to BC Education.  For more detailed information see the Branch website at education.library.ubc.ca.

POSITION SUMMARY

The Education Library provides reference, information, bibliographic and circulation services in support of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty of the Faculty of Education and to others requiring the use of the collection and services.  The Head is responsible for providing the leadership necessary to develop facilities, collections, and programs including organization, administration, and operation of services. Within the context of a changing environment, the Head will facilitate the planning for and implementation of a service model which focuses on meeting user needs by the provision of information, consulting services, and instructional programs delivered by reference and other library staff. The nature and scope of responsibilities are carried out within the context of a changing environment and in collaboration with colleagues and staff as appropriate as the Library organization and operational model evolves.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • A graduate degree from an accredited school of Library, Archival and Information Science.
  • An academic background in education or equivalent knowledge gained through professional experience working in the educational sector.
  • Demonstrated effective administrative, management and leadership skills developed and demonstrated by progressively responsible work experiences. 
  • Managerial and supervisory experience.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills. 
  • Experience in managing a complex budget.
  • Dedicated to cultivating an inclusive environment that recognizes barriers faced by people and encourages and incorporates contributions from diverse groups and individuals.
  • Contributes to the Library’s sense of community and achievement of common goals through cooperation across units and encouragement of equitable and balanced involvement in decision making.
  • Promotes and fosters a supportive and open environment built on appreciation, recognition, learning and professional growth.
  • Works to build a team environment built on positive working relationships, provides guidance and resources to teams while trusting them to excel.

Preferred:

  • A B.Ed degree.
  • Relevant professional experience, familiarity with bibliography, faculty-library liaison, electronic services, collection development and library instruction.
  • A commitment to responsive and innovative information services, development of space to meet user needs, and a vision for the future.
  • Experience in leading, developing and implementing strategic priorities, preferably within a large academic research library.

WORKING RELATIONSHIPS

The Head, Education Library works under the general direction of and reports to an Associate University Librarian (AUL). The Head consults with the appropriate AUL/Manager/Director/Head concerning the budget for collections, ordering and processing of Library materials, and collection development and preservation; financial and facilities matters; systems issues; human resources; and development. The Head cooperates with the Heads of other branches and divisions in the provision of services and the development of collections, and ensures that relevant issues are discussed with the Dean of Education, the Associate Dean, or other administrators within the Faculty. The Head also works with relevant external organizations and community partners.

DUTIES

  1. Provides vision and leadership for the Education Library operations and services. Develops and implements goals and objectives that support the UBC Library’s strategic plan.
  2. Provides leadership for the librarians, M&P and CUPE staff in the Education Library. Participates in the recruitment and selection of faculty and staff for the unit. Manages workforce planning, performance management reviews, assessing and recommending training and learning opportunities, performing annuals reviews, making merit recommendations and engaging with employees through open dialogue and discussion.
  3. Assesses needs of library users and opportunities for new programs and services by consulting with users; keeping up with changes in curriculum and new areas of research, maintains strong relationships with key stakeholders in the Faculty of Education and other related Faculties.  Ensures consultation with the Library on new/changed courses and curriculum.  Works with members of the external community on community engagement opportunities.
  4. Prepares and monitors budgets, allocates and is accountable for the use of resources.  This includes setting unit priorities in consultation with staff and users.
  5. Oversees the development of collections ensuring that faculty and students are consulted on a regular basis.  Ensures that librarians consult with interested faculty about collection development.
  6. Oversees the management of the physical collections in the Education Library, including the development of criteria for the transfer of materials to storage and weeding.
  7. Evaluates space needs and plans new spaces to meet new and evolving user needs.
  8. Participates in the development and delivery of reference, research and instructional programs in the Education Library.
  9. Participates in and supports the collaborative work of the UBC public service branches to ensure excellent service to users and to ensure effective use of resources.
  10. Engages in the management of the UBC Library by participating as a member of appropriate committees.
  11. Contributes to the initiatives of the Library Development Office in obtaining funding in support of the programs and services of the Education Library. Participates in the preparation of grant applications and administration of grants.
  12. Participates in professional and university wide initiatives.

TERMS OF APPOINTMENT AND SALARY                         

This position will be filled as a full-time, ongoing General Librarian position with a five year renewable administrative term as Head, Education Library. If eligible and qualified, the successful applicant may be appointed with a confirmed appointment. Otherwise, there will be an initial three-year probationary appointment.  Normally, such an appointment is reviewed by the end of the second year of the appointment, and a recommendation is made at that time to grant or not to grant a confirmed appointment.

Salary will be commensurate with experience and academic/professional qualifications.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Applications will include: a letter of application that includes a statement of citizenship/immigration status and indicates the candidate’s education, training and work experience in the areas listed above; a detailed and current curriculum vitae.

To view the complete job description and to submit an application, please visit the UBC Careers page at hr.ubc.ca by midnight on October 4, 2017.

 

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