Meet Your Library Staff
In this edition of Meet Your Library Staff, we are featuring Hilary Stamper. She is our Assessment Librarian and the Liaison for the MacPhail School of Energy.
- Are you a native Calgarian? If not, how did you choose to live here in Calgary?
I was born in Toronto and then attended post-secondary in Halifax, NS, where I lived for seven years. After graduating from my Master’s program, it was a mad scramble to start earning money rather than hemorrhaging it. A nine-month contract came up out in Calgary to clean up research project data, so I moved out here without a clue, two months after a catastrophic flood. I encourage all early-20 somethings to do scary things like moving across countries or continents to an unfamiliar city for temporary contracts. There aren’t going to be many other times in your life where you can pull that off so take advantage of the adventures when they arise!
- Do you have any hobbies?
I’m kind of a Jill of all trades, but a master of none. I’ve recently started getting into fly fishing because, well, Alberta. I also have always loved dance, whether it is ballet or jazz or salsa, I’m there! I also try to do some creative writing in my spare time, and have been picking up my collage art hobby again from my teen years. I wish I was more musical, but that’s what you get for quitting piano lessons after one year, kids.
- If you could choose to have a superpower, what would it be?
Definitely teleportation. Imagine the possibilities! Go for a hike in Norway, pop over to Paris for lunch, and then be in New York to catch an evening Broadway performance. Oh and also, I am magically super wealthy.
- What made you choose a career in libraries/archives?
Honestly, I took a career test and one of the suggestions was Librarian. However, I also remember pretending to be a librarian when I was little and doing story-time for all my stuffed animals, so there was definitely a passion there that just needed to be rediscovered.
- What do you like best about your job?
I know this is probably every library professional’s answer, but I love helping people. Helping people can happen in many contexts like, helping students understand how to be effective researchers, helping an instructor find an OER eBook for their course, or even showing someone how to scan their visa documents. Being a librarian is an empowering job because you are providing the insight, resources, and tools to people in order for them to advance themselves, and at no cost.
- If you could enroll in any SAIT program, what would it be?
Probably a culinary program, with a specialization in pastries, haha.
- What is an Assessment Librarian? Why is this important?
An Assessment Librarian is kind of like when you go to get your yearly checkup with the doctor. We want to make sure everything is working well in the library, and that our programs, services, spaces, and collections are all healthy. We base our assessments on established definitions of what healthy means, aka performance metrics or key performance indicators. Just like your doctor uses blood pressure as a measure of health and knows what is good performance and bad performance of blood pressure, Assessment Librarians use the strategic objectives of a library to help us measure whether we are performing well or not. For example, if one of our objectives was to provide flexible study space for students, but survey results showed students found our space too limiting, this would be an indicator of “poor health” for the library.
- Do you have any advice for other Assessment Librarians?
It’s okay if you can’t do everything. You don’t need to have a grand research project every year or get a 90% response rate on all your surveys (ha! the dream...) Assessment can take time to build into your library’s culture and practices, so be patient, but also, keep at it.
- Tell us about the last conference you attended and sessions you chose and why.
The last conference I attended was the virtual 2020 Library Assessment Conference, which is usually held in various locations across the United States. One of the benefits of the pandemic and working remotely was the ability to attend conferences that I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to if they involved travel. I really enjoyed the sessions on space assessment, measurement & methods, and services.