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Kirk MacLeod's picture

Kirk MacLeod

Monday, June 30, 2014 - 3:45 pm to Friday, July 4, 2014 - 5:45 pm

IAmRUSA Interviewee for the Week of June 30th is

Kirk MacLeod

Ask him a question!

Kirk MacLeod's picture

My name is Kirk MacLeod and as this is a relatively short week (many of you are currently at alaac14 and I'm not expecting to hear from many people on the Fourth), I thought I would take a stab at participating in IAmRUSA myself.  For those of you who don't know, I'm the co-coordinator of the IAmRUSA project and have been working with all the great participants you've been seeing since the project began last October.
Although I've had my MLIS for almost three weeks now, I've been involved in the library field since 2000 when I attained my library technician diploma (like an associate degree) and began running a joint one-person library for two American Indian organizations focusing on Legal and Addictions Counselling.  I've lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada my entire life and am a strong proponent for distance learning; which is how I got my Undergraduate degree (Communication Studies) and about a quarter of how I got my MLIS.  I'm married to the nicest lady I've ever met and have two lovely daughters.  In my off-time I'm either working on my blog or on one of my hobbies, which include cycling, reading, gaming, parenting and husband-ing? 
I'm currently working as the Open Data Coordinator for my Provincial Government, which means I try to bring as much government-generated data as possible out for anyone to see (you can see my work at http://data.alberta.ca) and play around with - up in Canada Transparency is becoming a pretty big goal in government and my job is to help show people all sorts of interesting info.
Finally, I've just got back from Vegas at the Annual Conference, so if you've never been and would like to know some of the ins and outs of attending, let me know.
So there you go, I'm happy to talk about the IAmRUSA project, Canadian librarianship, my opinions on Distance Ed, Open Government, Blogging, Conference Attending, or whatever else you may be interested in.
I'm looking forward to hear from you!
Feel free to check me out on Twitter @Bookmonkey00k

Sarah Hammill's picture

Hi Kirk!

It was great seeing you at ALA and learning more about you as the IamRUSA person of the week.  I was out of the office most of last week and in the U.S. we celebrated Independence Day on July 4th so hopefully you will have time to answer my questions this week!

We have more in common than working together on the IamRUSA project.  I also worked in a library for Native Americans.  I worked at the Akwesasne Library and Cultural Center in Upstate New York (which is where I am from).  That position was great!  I learned so much and go to do all aspects of library work.  It was that job that set my path toward librarianship.  

Can you tell us more about your position as the one-person library for the two American Indian organizations where you were?  Was it a library in the traditional sense with books to check out, etc.?  Or I would imagine it as a more of a resource and referral center which is of course a library too.

Also, can you tell us a bit more about public libraries and school libraries in Canada?  






Kirk MacLeod's picture

I’d love to chat about my first big library job; I actually took it initially as a STEP grant (a Canadian summer work grants for students returning to  post-secondary school in the fall, where the government pays half the salary and the business the other half) and had been working there about six weeks when my supervisor was offered a dream job in her home town and moved.


Not being one to pass up an opportunity, I immediately proposed to my manager that I be given the now vacated librarian position, and that I could work it around my second full-time year of course work for my library technician degree, and to my complete surprise they said yes.

My job included everything from cataloguing and circulation to collection development, bibliography creation, staff orientations, and rudimentary bookmobile services (the library was a partnership between two organizations and once I month I took hold requests to the nearby town where the second organization was based and picked up returned books as well (as I have vision issues, I did this all on the bus, which made for an interesting ride once a month)


It was an incredibly rewarding experience and a huge part of why I decided to move forward to getting both my Undergraduate and Masters Degrees.

M. Kathleen Kern's picture

Sorry, I missed your IAmRUSA week.  ALA and a little vacation kept my occupied.  

Did you think you'd go into Open Data when you started your MLS?  

M. Kathleen Kern

RUSA Past-President


Kirk MacLeod's picture

No I absolutely did not think Open Data was where I would be heading when I started my MLIS – at that time I had worked entirely in special libraries, one for a Government Agency (which included one of the most intense reference questions of my professional career) and the other for a small First Nations non-profit Organization.

I took my MLIS part-time and during my second year I switched from a position in records management to being the serials technician for a government library focusing on health sciences.  After the library went through a transformation project I was scooped-up by the folks in our newly created Open Government Program to help run the Open data portal; they cited my experience with records management and my then three-year stint with a blog I was doing as skills that would translate nicely, and I felt it would be a pretty exciting new challenge.

Originally I thought I may end up in either Public or Academic libraries as that seemed to be where all the fun was, but at this point in my career, a bit of a sojourn into digital initiatives seemed like a pretty good move.