Interest in literature sparks library career
It’s not exactly the Hotel California, but for a number of students who check in to work at the University of Lethbridge Library, they never leave — that is, the profession.
Two such examples are Danielle Sali, a current student worker applying for her master’s of library science degree at the University of Alberta, and Nanda Jha (BMgt ’05), a former international student and student worker, who is now an integral part of the library workforce as a library operations specialist in collections and database services.
“I’m a bookworm,” Sali professes. “And there are a lot of interesting people here.”
Majoring in Native American Studies (NAS), Sali comes from a background that
embraces literature. Following the footsteps of her parents, books and research have always been a big part of her life. That she found herself comfortable in a library setting then comes as no surprise.
“My family is really into reading in general, and my dad pretty much has his own personal library,” she says of a collection that is focused on religious studies. “I have to go the cheaper route right now, so I spend my time here.”
Sali worked in her hometown Medicine Hat library before moving to Lethbridge to complete her bachelor’s degree. Once on campus, she quickly found her way to the library and has since discovered a career option she’s keen to follow.
“I dithered between this and being a Mountie, believe it or not,” she says. “I love the research aspect, for sure, and there’s also the fact we’re always getting new books in, and I get to check those out. I just enjoy the whole atmosphere, working with students and their projects.
“If I were going to focus on a particular area, I would do an NAS focus. What I’d really like to do eventually is go back home and work in the public library.”
Jha is already in the profession, but she took quite a route to get there. A native of India, Jha first completed a master’s degree in Russian language and literature
in Ukraine before coming to Canada.
“Canada is very much advertised abroad as the best place to live and study,” she says.
She opted for the University of Lethbridge thanks to the personal relationship established through the International Centre for Students.
“I was communicating with many different universities in Canada and I got the best response from the U of L,” she says. “Our International Centre for Students was very fast in responding, and they were very professional but at the same time very welcoming and caring. It felt like the right place to go.”
While studying as a management student, she also found time to work in the library and eventually complete a library and information technician diploma (via correspondence through Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont.). It didn’t take her long to realize that a library career beckoned.
“I always knew from the beginning that I wanted to develop my career in the academic area, where I could be in an institution, amongst students,” Jha says. “I really enjoy that atmosphere of students working to achieve their goals, and the library provides that opportunity to relate with them and the professors, it’s very rewarding.”
Sali and Jha are just two of a growing number of student workers who have found the library to be not only a haven for their research goals but a permanent
home for their professional careers.