October member profile is of Cecilia Tellis, Head, Design and outreach at the University of Ottawa.
Tell us about a library you love in a different city you have visited.
The Central Library of the Seattle Public Library system, not just because of its striking architectural features but also because I happened to come across a small section of children’s books in Tagalog and one specifically on folks songs. In one of these books was a song that my grandmother used to sing to me, « Bahay Kubo ».
What are you reading right now (professional or personal)? What is it about?
I’m currently reading Special topics in being a human: a queer and tender guide to things I’ve learned the hard way about caring for people, including myself . It was recommended by a good friend and colleague, and it’s written and illustrated in such a warm and inviting way. Who isn’t looking for a bit of self-care know-how these days?! If you’re a manager or supervisor, you’ll also find some great guidance.
Have you attended any conference recently? Which was your favorite and why?
The last in-person conference I attended was IDEAL ’19: Advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility in Libraries & Archives which was held in Columbus, OH. Kimberlé Crenshaw was the opening keynote, and shortly after her exhilarating speech, we learned that Toni Morrison, who was born in Ohio, had passed away. It was an eerie and jarring experience. During this conference, there were incredible sessions, but the one that stood out the most to me was entitled, « Advancing Intersectionality: Including Mixed-Race Perspectives within Campus Libraries ». As a mixed-race librarian (Pakistani-Filipino), it was the first time I had truly felt seen in an academic library conference setting!
Tell us about someone whose work you admire.
I deeply admire my friend and research colleague Maha Kumaran (University of Saskatchewan). You can read more about her in this VAL Spotlight Series (ACRL Insider blog). She is the founder of Visible Minority Librarians of Canada (VimLoC), has an impressive publication record, and is fiercely dedicated to exploring issues related to racial minorities and diversity in librarianship. She’s one of the most brilliant and hard-working librarians I know and I’m honoured to know her and have the chance to work with her on not just one, but two research projects.
What made you decide to join CAPAL?
I honestly can’t recall the exact reason, but likely because it just seemed like a good idea to be associated with other Canadian academic librarians! In the last few years, I’ve become much more involved in the association. Thanks to Maha’s nudging, I am now the co-chair of the Diversity and Equity Committee with my uOttawa colleague Megan McMeekin, and formerly with Michelle Brown (uOttawa), and am an active participant in the Community of Practice for Displays, Outreach and Engagement. I’m genuinely thrilled to get to know so many other librarians across the nation who are interested in similar issues and to have opportunities to learn from one another.
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