Author: Sarah Simpkin
In this column we’ll be featuring interviews with local library, archives and museum staff and students. Our second interviewee is Sandy Hervieux.
Who are you?
I’m Sandy Hervieux, Head of User Services at Saint-Paul University in Ottawa. I’m from Montreal, but have been here in this role since July.
What’s a Head of User Services?
It’s a fairly new position for Saint-Paul. I supervise our service desk staff which includes reference and circulation services, and oversee our library study spaces (including computer workstations and study rooms). I also do library outreach, including supporting our brand new website, leading workshops, and promoting our services.
Wow, this sounds like quite the portfolio. How have your previous jobs prepared you for this one?
When I was in library school at McGill, I worked as a student reference librarian at Concordia University. My supervisor, Rajiv Johal, was Interim Head of Information Services and a great mentor. He taught me about reference and user services work in general, and also how to manage information services. We also got to do projects in the summer, including a complete website audit, research for the University Librarian, and an evaluation of our microform collection.
What’s your favourite part of the User Services role?
I really enjoy doing reference, and also teaching how to do reference. It’s rewarding when you can alleviate some of the anxiety students feel about research.
What’s unique about Saint-Paul University?
In terms of student demographics, Saint-Paul is about half undergraduates and half graduate students. We have many mature and international students, and the student body is small enough that I get to know a lot of the people. These demographics also influence the services that we provide. For example, we’re creating workshops for international students to help them integrate and thrive at Saint-Paul.
Do you have any advice for students interested in getting into the library field?
Get experience! Student librarian jobs are great, but customer service jobs in general will teach you about working with the public. Having mentors has also taught me a lot, and getting involved with the CLA student mentorship program was a good opportunity to meet someone who shared the same interests library-wise.
How are you enjoying Ottawa so far?
I like it so far. Some of my friends from library school also moved here for work (shout-out to previous interviewee Emily Kingsland!), so I’m not too homesick. Confession time: I actually hadn’t visited Ottawa until my interview. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, and it also doesn’t hurt that Montreal isn’t far away.
Who should I interview next?
You should interview my boss, Liz Hayden. She’s currently the Chief Librarian at Saint-Paul and is also an Assessment Librarian at the University of Ottawa.