CAPAL Member Profile: Anna Flak

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October’s member profile is of Anna Flak, Learning Support Librarian at McMaster University.

Tell us about a library you love in a different city you have visited.
A library I love in a different city is the National Art Library in London. The library is housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the aesthetic is fitting to its locale. I visited this library when I was conducting research for my MA in History and being in this space led me to first envision becoming a librarian! I recommend everyone visit this library for their unique collections and their beautiful reading rooms. Plus if you find yourself in need of a break there is a whole surrounding museum to explore!

What is your favorite line from a movie?
This may be cheating but my favourite line from a movie comes from the adaptation of the Fellowship of the Ring. In the movie when talking to Frodo, Gandalf states « All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. » I think there is something beautiful about this sentiment and I find myself thinking about it fairly frequently. I feel that it is easy to get overwhelmed by our responsibilities and the mundane aspects of life but we need to remind ourselves to live as well. Of course we’re not having to trek across Middle Earth so we’re already in a better position than Frodo!

Tell us about a typical day at work.
As I predominantly operate in research and instruction a current typical work day involves plenty of lesson planning and delivering of information literacy instruction sessions for undergraduate students in the humanities and social sciences. Between the planning and delivery of these sessions there are meetings, committee works and projects. As such there is a lot of variety to my work day and I can’t say I am ever bored!

What are you most excited to be working on right now?
Last year I was involved in the creation of a displays committee at my library. This work has carried over the last year and I can say that it is one of the aspects of my role that I enjoy most. I love the opportunity to undertake something that is fairly distinct from my position responsibilities and also allows me to utilize my background in art history and museums. This work has lead me to learn a lot about our collection and it has given me the opportunity to highlight important aspects of this collection to our student population who otherwise may not have interacted with our books at all!

Weigh in: is CAPAL pronounced ‘capple’ or ‘ca-pal’?
My instinct leads me to say ca-pal but if I am being honest I have never spoken ca-pal without following it up with a « or capple or however you say it » to finish off my sentence. I appreciate that what bonds us as academic librarians is our collective uncertainty as to the pronunciation of CAPAL.

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