Member Spotlight: Stacey Nordlund Interview

Member Spotlight: Stacey Nordlund
by Casey McCoy

Tell us about your current position and what you do on a typical day - or is there such a thing as a typical day?

I work as a reference librarian in a local history and genealogy department for the Toronto Public Library in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I've held this position for three years. This was my first professional position after being awarded my MLIS from San Jose State University in 2012. A typical day involves time spent at the reference desk with some collections work thrown in. The work we do in our department is vastly different from most other areas of the library. For example, reference questions are fairly complex and involve a great deal of research and resources, including electronic, print, and microfilm sources; most of the materials we purchase are antiquarian and remain in our collection forever (we don't weed); our books are rare and/or fragile and must be conserved. Because genealogy work is so specialized, I seek out opportunities to develop myself professionally in other areas to maintain a diverse skill set: I'll do some virtual reference work here and there, I serve as a trainer for both staff and members of the public on our eBooks/eAudiobooks, eMagazines, and streaming video services, I occasionally write for Public Libraries, I remain involved in various professional associations, and I network with librarians who work in different environments than I do, in order to learn from them.

What is your favorite aspect of working as a librarian?

Connecting with people and making a difference in their lives.

How did you decide on the information profession for your career? Was it meticulously planned or a happy accident?

Well, it was planned, in a way, but it took me a very long time to figure it out! I've worked in libraries for most of my working life and I was certain that's where I belonged, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I made the decision to pursue my MLIS. The breadth of experience I've developed through holding a variety of positions over many years helps me better appreciate issues faced by workers at different levels of the public library system, and has enhanced my understanding of public libraries in general.

When/how did you first get involved with NMRT? What impact has your service to NMRT had on your involvement with ALA?

I joined NMRT in 2011, but didn't actively get involved until 2012. Since then, I've served on a few committees, including Student Chapter of the Year Award, Footnotes, and Orientations. Many of the NMRT committees don't require a huge time investment, and much of the work can be completed virtually, so it's a good way to get started. To me, NMRT is the linchpin of ALA because when you're a new member of such a massive organization, it can be tough to gain your footing and find "your" environment. NMRT is a wonderfully supportive place to get started, where you meet others who might be in a similar place of figuring things out, and receive guidance from those who have recently worn your shoes. NMRT is filled with amazing people.

As the outgoing Footnotes Editor, what was your favorite part about being on the Footnotes Committee?

I loved reading articles and learning about the interesting things people are doing outside of my tiny little corner of the world. NMRT brings together librarians from across the spectrum, and there is always something new to learn about the multi-faceted world of librarianship.

What do you do for fun when you're not librarianing?

I have a six-year-old daughter, so my free time is generally spent doing fun things with her. She's a fascinating little person! I also love playing in the kitchen, coming up with new food ideas; board games with friends; running; hiking; Sunday NYT crossword puzzle. And when I'm tired of all the "doing" and need some downtime: books and movies, movies, more movies.

Do you have any advice for NMRT members who are current students or recent graduates?

Fill your plate. I know. I know! You think I'm crazy! It's overwhelming; there are only so many hours in a day; you do have to maintain a life outside of librarianship. I know. I really do. But listen: now is the time to fill your plate and eat with gusto, and find out what you like, find out what you don't like, taste a little of this, a little of that, so that when you go back for seconds, you know what you want to stick with. And yes, you'll get tired of all the work, you'll occasionally question your sanity, but now, NOW, is the time. When you're fresh out of school and exuberant and filled with excitement about how you can (and will!) contribute to the profession. So, don't hold back, fill that plate of yours. What's your secret passion? Not so secret to anyone who knows me, but: fresh figs. Seeking them out (which can be tough in a Northern climate), devouring them, developing new and interesting ways to incorporate them into my cookery! Figs. Love 'em.