Interview with Olga Statnaia, Quebec Public Librarian

by Elena Bubelich, former Senior Assistant, INALJ Quebec

Interview with Olga Statnaia, Quebec Public Librarian

In this blog post I would like to continue to share experience of job search of some graduates of MLIS programs in Quebec, Canada. I’ve already interviewed Josiane Doucet-Alarie and Mykola Krupko. In this blog post I’m glad to present my former classmate and my friend Olga Statnaia. After graduation she works at a public library.

Elena. I know your biography is an eventful one. Please, share your experience and background in few words.
Olga. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Translation Studies. My first experience with Canadian libraries was love from the first sight. I decided to become a part of this amazing world. First of all I found a job as a library assistant in a public library. Then, I decided to become a librarian and started my part time MLIS program still working as a library assistant. It took me 3 years to obtain my Master degree; soon after my graduation I was lucky to find my first job as a librarian.

Elena. How did you find your first library job?
Olga. As I wanted to work in a public library, I was applying for all the library assistant’s positions appearing on the web site of the city of Montreal. It took me about a year to be invited to my first interview, though it turned out to be a successful one and resulted in my first library job.

Elena. Do you remember your first interview for a library position? Was it difficult or successful or useful? Do you remember particular questions that were uncommon or funny or strange?
Olga. As I remember, I did not have any strange or uncommon questions during my interview. On the other hand I had a lot of situational and problem-solving questions. It was not so easy to give my responses because I did not have a library experience and was not ready to face such kind of situations. Though I did my best, I was well concentrated and natural during the interview, so I imagine they liked my responses.

Elena. Do you remember your first day or week at your first library position? What major challenges did you face?
Olga. The major challenge I faced was to start my job 2 days after my interview without any training. I was not familiar with any library system and did not know many of the library rules and regulations every library assistant was supposed to know so well. They showed me some basic functions of the ILS, I read some library pamphlets with the information for the users and set to work. When I finally got the official training, I already knew almost everything that was discussed there.

Elena. What could you advise students who start the Master of Information Studies (MIS) program?
1. To be certain for sure this is something they want to do in their life. I find the job market in our field is rather limited one, so it is not always easy to find a job. I think each year there are more students accepted to the program, then the job offers available on the market. Also, our profession is a vulnerable one: if the budget is to be cut, it often happens the librarians’ positions are first to be considered.

2. The practical work experience obtained during studies facilitates the understanding of the material seen in the classroom and is a huge advantage in finding the first job.