Meet one of OLA’s 5,000 members. An interview with random OLA member #34: Helen McDonnell, CEO, Callander…
Meet one of OLA’s 5,000 members. An interview with random OLA member #25: Bailey Urso.
I spoke with Bailey Urso, a librarian working at the Health Sciences Library at Health Sciences North in Sudbury, bright and early on a Monday morning. Bailey warned me that she was the only one in her library as we were speaking so she may have to step away from our conversation to help, which she did at one point and was back in a flash.
So how was your weekend?
It was good, it was my birthday. My boyfriend and I like climbing, and there’s a climbing gym that just opened in Sudbury so we did that.
How long have you been climbing for?
Not that long, we went for the first time on Valentine’s Day. It’s quite a challenge in terms of upper body strength.
Are there harder climbs that you can graduate to?
Each of the routes has a level. I think 5.6 is their easiest and 5.12 is their hardest, so I’ve started the 5.8 range which is pretty good for me.
I heard that you moonlight as a yoga instructor?
Yeah, I teach twice a week. A 90 minute non-hot yoga, and then a 60 minute hot yoga class. I’m certified in Ashtanga yoga, and I actually went to India to practice that and get certified to teach there. I’m also trained in pilates and aerial yoga, which is the type of yoga where you hang from the industrial strength silks from the ceiling.
Is that hard to learn or is it relaxing?
It’s both. It’s restorative because it’s zero gravity, so you don’t have any pressure on your joints. It really allows the spine to lengthen and decompress, so it is great for your back. But if you want to make it challenging you could do fun flips or go upside down.
Do you find being a yoga instructor helps you day-to-day?
Absolutely. Any librarian knows sometimes it can get quite hectic with people requesting things, and because I work in a hospital they needed it, like, yesterday. It really helps with regulating stress and calming your anxiety. A lot of the time we forget to breathe and things get built up. Also our shoulders get tight, our backs start to hurt. So a lot of yoga is learning to calm yourself down and feel good.
I also heard that you used to catalogue archeological finds in New Liskeard. I probably don’t have to tell you this, but that’s really far away!
My undergrad degree is in archeology. My dad knew a guy who knew a guy who was hiring in New Liskeard. They had done a dig the previous summer and dug up 20,000 artefacts that needed catalogued by the next September. I had a team of students who would clean the artefacts, and then I would catalogue them in a database – type, material, size, location, picture. And it was everything from animal bones and arrow heads to beer bottles and nails, but you have to catalogue everything so it’s in context.
What was the oldest thing you found?
We found one stone knife that one person said was potentially close to 7,000 years old. I unfortunately was no longer working there when they sent it away to get the precise date.
Did you have to wear special gloves to catalogue it or did you take pictures?
We took a lot of pictures that I would then edit, which is why I’m pretty fantastic at Photoshop these days. I wasn’t wearing gloves when I first started, and I’d be washing the things we dug up and I would actually take off a layer of my own skin because I’d be washing them so nicely. Everyone started called me Thumbs and they bought me really thick rubber gloves so I wouldn’t have to get Tetanus shots!
What kind of stuff do you do at your current job at the medical library in Sudbury?
A little bit of everything. Right now we have two full time librarians, and two part time library techs. I’m on the front desk a lot of the time helping people as they come in, doing literature searches, article retrieval, that kind of stuff. I also take care of all of our interlibrary loans, and teach staff and doctors how to use databases.
Did you have any preconceived ideas about what health care professionals would be like before you started working there?
I thought it would be a very stressful environment to work in, but everyone is super nice. It’s a small community so you get to know people and what kind of things they’ll be looking for. It is a learning curve, though, in terms of terminology.
How do you deal with that?
The reference interview we learned in our MLIS comes in very handy. Asking people to explain or spell things. Going back and double checking things, because sometimes Wikipedia will lie to us. You can’t be afraid to sound dumb. I have an archeological background, so I understand bones, but not muscles. My current boss did biology as her undergrad and the boss before that did English. You just have to learn on the job if you don’t have the background.
Does doing medical research as your day job make you more aware of your own personal health?
Yes! I started off as a little bit of a hypochondriac, so I think it’s just gotten worse.
What’s the last thing you thought you had?
The other day I had to do research on ebola and I ended up being pretty sure I had it.
I noticed when I called you for this interview the operator said press 1 for English, or 2 for French. Do you speak French?
No, but I’m learning. I take lessons once a week. In my undergrad I learned biblical Hebrew, which weirdly enough was easier to learn than French. In my French classes we do things like go to a restaurant together and just speak French the whole time. For our last class we’re going to do a murder mystery in French!
I was going to ask you what’s the next thing you want to learn, but between rock climbing and French that’s already a lot!
Well I’m starting to knit more, because I like to keep my hands busy when I’m watching TV. Right now I’m watching True Detective and Hannibal.
So you like mysterious, scary shows?
Yeah and most of the time I’ll watch a lot of it and then won’t be able to sleep because it’ll freak me out.
Yeah, but that’s when your deep breathing that you leaned in yoga comes in, you can calm yourself down.
Yeah, sure, right, that’s exactly what I do!
Adele Georgievski is a Teaching and Learning Technologies Librarian at Seneca College. The Random Library Generator column interviews OLA members; the current interviewee was selected by the previous interviewee.