I started my university career sketching nudes (in class), dabbling in new media, reading obtuse art theory, and enjoying western literature. After my undergrad, I spent one year as a sales rep for a major soda beverage bottler (the blue guys). Even though shilling sugar-water wasn’t a career for me, I learned so much from that job – lessons that have never left me.
I decided to go to library school for reasons that still seem somewhat muddy, but Halifax and Dalhousie’s program were a perfect fit. I started my career at the University of Guelph as the liaison librarian for marketing and economics, but through a series of fortunate circumstances I started teaching Information Management (MCS*2020) to 800 commerce students each year – and I loved every second of it (ok, I didn’t always love the grading).
While I was busy teaching classes, the Library implemented a team-based model (a good move in my opinion) and I landed on the Learning and Curriculum Support team (think: Information Literacy). Around the same time I stopped teaching InfoMan and started teaching an introductory course on Entrepreneurship.
In my world, entrepreneurship is not just about creating new businesses. It is about thinking and acting like an entrepreneur – wherever you happen to be. Ultimately, this course gives students the chance to learn about and practice the entrepreneurial mindset – something that benefits every organization.
Eventually, I made the jump from frontline librarian to middle manager. Currently, I’m the Head of our Learning and Curriculum Support team. I work with my operational managers to deliver consistent high-quality academic programs and services that we market under the Learning Commons banner. I am continually amazed by the quality of people that we have on our team and the work that they do – and I feel very privileged to be part of it.
I really appreciate Guelph for the culture. It’s a place where you are encouraged to try things, suggest ideas, and push the envelope. We are a small library in the grand scheme of research libraries, but we’re scrappy – and if I’ve learned anything: don’t underestimate the scrappy!
-- M.J. D'Elia, March 2016