Meet Your Library Staff
In this month’s edition of Meet Your Library Staff, we are featuring Kristian McInnis, our User Services Coordinator and Liaison for both the School of Information and Communications Technologies and the brand new School of Advanced Digital Technology.
- Are you a native Calgarian? If not, how did you choose to live here in Calgary?
Yes, essentially. I was born in Edmonton, because my mom was visiting her parents late in her pregnancy. But, I’ve always lived in Calgary.
- What do you do when you are not at work?
I read (mostly fantasy or science fiction). I collect, assemble and paint models for games like Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer 40k (among others). And, I organize this collection. In true library fashion, most of my collection of figures are neatly arranged in clearly labelled draws and I keep a detailed record all the models in my collection.
- If you could choose to have a superpower, what would it be?
Time travel, like Hermione with her Time-Turner (I know this is a device, not super power, but I’d like a power like this). I don’t feel like I have enough time to paint and read and play and everything else.
- What makes you happy?
My partner, Rhea.
- What does your profession look like in 25 years?
In 25 years, I think there will still be some call for traditional skills (like cataloguing and reference), but I think ‘library’ work will be more hybridized and will combine with emerging knowledge and information disciplines – like data analytics – to produce new information rather than just store existing information sources and organize them for access.
- If you could enroll in any SAIT program, what would it be?
Right now, I’d be very interested in Data Analytics.
- How long have you worked at SAIT Library and what did you do before?
I’ve been at SAIT Library since 2002 (with a few short breaks here and there). Prior to that I worked at Canada Post and in the local theatre community. I also did a 4-month internship at Libraries and Archives Canada in Ottawa.
- How does your unit focus on providing excellent service to our students and staff?
We try to balance the needs of individual users with the needs of the SAIT community. For instance, with high demand books, we try to set borrowing policies that allow a useful amount of time for a patron to have that book while maximizing opportunities for others to borrow that item.
- What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
Working with this team to meet the needs of our patrons and improve services.
- How does the Library ensure students have the spaces and tools they need to succeed?
The Library is always on the lookout for new resources and services that will support learners at SAIT. One way we do this is by reviewing data on past interactions. For instance, all our live chat (and, in more regular times, phone and in-person) interactions are noted by our staff (recording type of question, type of patron and similar information). Among that data, there’s an option for staff to note “I said no” when they’re not able to meet a user’s need. Each month the User Services team reviews the notes on those “I said no” interactions and identifies services needs or resource gaps. We then pass these gaps on to the responsible staff member – or resolve them ourselves.
- How has the User Services team moved to primarily online model since March?
A lot of our work has adapted quite well. Our team has always had pretty good internal communication and that hasn’t changed. We still field a lot of questions from patrons about library services and research assistance. There remains a steady number of interlibrary loan requests. The changes demanded by moving online have also prompted us to reconsider some old practices (like whether we were fully utilizing our chat platform) and look at new processes.