Meet Your Library Staff
In the April edition of our Meet Your Library Staff we would like to introduce you to Janine Miiller. She works on our User Services team and she is an Applications Support Technician.
- Are you a native Calgarian? If not, how did you choose to live here in Calgary?
I was born in Edmonton but my family moved to Calgary when I was 5 weeks old. I’ve also lived in Whistler, BC and Amstelveen, Netherlands. I’ve actively chosen to come back or stay in Calgary because of the international airport (not as useful lately), family and friends who live here, good schools and healthcare, variety of great food and access to the mountains.
- What do you do when you are not at work?
I play video games, board games and get outside with my family. I’m learning French using the Duolingo app. I recently got a treadmill that has guided video sessions and I’m following a program with 30 sessions that goes from 30 second running intervals with 1 minute walk intervals to a full 30-minute run (wish me luck!). In the before times, I loved going out to restaurants, escape rooms and cooking classes with friends. I’m in 2 book clubs so I read around 20 books a year.
- What are your favourite video games or gaming apps?
My favourite video games are co-operative open world games. I’ve been playing Minecraft since 2010 when it was still a Beta edition and hit peak video game nerd when I attended the 2 nd annual MINECON at Disneyland Paris. More recently my husband and I have been playing Raft and Valheim. In these newer games, there is a progression of technology that makes it so you don’t spend all your time collecting cobblestone and coal – although that can be quite meditative if you just set that as your goal for your playing time. Valheim also adds a progression of skill that I especially like – the more you run, jump, shoot a bow or swing a weapon, the better you get and the easier or more effective it is.
This genre of video games is my favourite because you get to explore, build, learn how to make new items and work together. Fighting bad guys is also an exciting challenge that I don’t particularly recommend for right before bed!
- What made you choose a career in libraries/archives?
I went to university straight out of high school intending to get a psychology degree and quit after a year and a half, later applied to an interior design program (FYI: it’s hard to get into interior design if you can’t draw!), and then back to school again a for a few individual courses on writing and accounting. I struggled to find a job, career or education that combined my love of order, helping people, technology and information. I also knew I wanted to learn information and skills that I would actually use and apply (I’m looking at you first year anthropology class!).
I’d heard the saying “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” but it seemed meant more for people who love cars to become mechanics or people who love a sport to become athletes or coaches. A friend had picked up the SAIT program guide and was looking through to find the programs with the highest projected income. I glanced through looking for something that inspired me. Around the same time, I was taking the C-Train through downtown and passed the downtown branch of the public library.
Flashback - I went to the public library a lot when I was growing up. I think we might have gone to the library every week, definitely every month. When I was in grade 1 and not wanting to go to school because it was “boring”, the school blamed it on my mom for providing an “over-enriched home life”. When I first moved out, I got all my entertainment from the library to save money and it was a comfortable place to get information about adult life. When I moved to Whistler in my early twenties, the public library was the one place I felt at home around all new people and a very different environment. The library was “the thing you love” in my life and I hadn’t noticed!
Suddenly my path was clear – Libraries! I love libraries! I love books! I love technology and organizing and helping people!
- What do you like best about your job?
The best thing about my job is getting to solve puzzles. Sometimes it’s figuring out how to get a machine to work the way you want. Sometimes it’s tracking down a hard to find resource. Sometimes it’s finding new software or a setting or process in existing software that will make a job easier. Sometimes it’s planning out my work day or week to complete all the tasks or events I’ve signed up for.
- When you talk to your friends, family or visitors about SAIT, what do you tell them?
I like to tell people about the huge variety of programs available at SAIT. I think we’re lucky in the library to really get to know the breadth of learning happening on campus. Not only do we see this reflected in our collection but it’s also fun to see the different clothes that people wear into the library – scrubs, EMT uniforms, steel toed boots, business suits, chef jackets, and of course lots of Silicon Valley formal wear (t-shirts and jeans).
I run into SAIT grads in so many different parts of my life – ultrasound technicians, dental assistants, electricians, chefs, mechanics, architectural technicians. It sometimes feels like Calgary is populated and staffed by all SAIT alumni!
- Can you tell us a bit about your role as an Application Support Specialist? Why is this important?
I work on the library website and most of our online products like LibGuides, LibCal (our system for booking appointments and study rooms, and marketing library events), and Chat. For library news going on the website, I make sure the links are all working, and the messaging matches SAIT’s standards. I also adjust technical settings that ensure that people can find the information they’re looking for and it’s easy to read on computers and phones. I keep up with technical updates from our vendors to ensure we are taking advantage of any new features that can make our content and processes easy for library staff and patrons.
Like everyone in the library, my job also includes helping students and staff at the information desk and over chat, and contributing to library projects and committees.
- Is there an aspect of your job that would surprise people?
- What tools do you use to help you keep up with current trends and best practices in academic libraries like the Reg Erhardt Library?
I am subscribed to newsletters from Springshare (LibGuides, LibCal, etc.) and Academica Top 10. On Facebook, I’m in a group called the Library Think Tank - #ALATT. I’m also a member of the Springshare Lounge which is a user forum for getting help and discussing best practices. Springshare also has lots of live and recorded training and workshops.
- Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in libraries?
Keep an open mind and practice your skills wherever the opportunity is. When I started the LIT program, I expected I would end up in a school library. By the time I was picking practicum placements and graduating – I thought maybe a special library or records management. I’ve now volunteered at a WorldSkills Competition, spent a year traveling and blogging, and worked exclusively in academic libraries! If I’d focused too early or limited myself, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities and jobs that I’ve had.