Welcome to The OLA Staff Room, a new column that will showcase Ontario Library Association staff members, our services, programs, and events.
The association is made up of over 5,000 members, but there are only 11 staff members (and some of us don’t have an MLIS!) There have been a lot of change over the past year at OLA and we’d like our members to get to know us a bit better.
Meet Michael Rogowski, who recently moved from the position of Membership Assistant to Education Coordinator. To get to know him better, we’ve asked Michael to answer a few questions.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Collaborating with presenters to offer the best events possible. The snowballing of ideas and turning the concept into practice is a real thrill. And working with difference people each day is the real treat. Everyone brings their own personality to the table, and working with that to create something new and exciting for our participants is a real delight.
What do you like doing for fun outside the office?
I have a lot of things that I love doing outside the office. I love collecting and listening to vinyl records, and have a pretty large collection of them. I play Dungeons and Dragons every Wednesday, and even run some of the games. I also love to dance! Currently I’m a part of the Toronto Country Dancers, and every second, fourth and fifth Saturday of the month I attend the Contra Dance. It’s great fun, with lots of energy and live music.
What’s your party trick?
I guess it would be telling jokes. If you’ve met me, chances are I’ve told you some sort of joke. My favourite jokes are those that go on for a very long time, which really go nowhere outside of a really lame pun at the end. I’ve been excommunicated by a number of parties because of this.
What is your all-time favourite book?
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Really, this is one of the few books that I deem “perfect.” There is not one flaw to be found in this book. The narrative is brilliant and perfectly paced. The characters are engaging and completely well-rounded. The story is so gripping that you can’t put down the book. Everything leads to a climax that is believable, shocking, and completely rewarding. You feel for each character as new things come to light. I can’t recommend this more. If you haven’t already read this, do yourself a favour and do so. Now.
What’s your favourite Forest of Reading/Festival of Trees memory?
It had to have been this year’s Festival, back in May, when we held the first French Festival. Meredith Tutching, Forest of Reading Director, had a great idea of putting a focus on the French program. And it was a huge success! The kids were some of the best I’ve ever worked with, the authors were amazing and excited to be a part of it, and the energy just kept feeding off of itself. I was blown away by how great everyone was, especially the kids! I’ve worked with kids in the past, and I have to say, without a doubt, these French kids were the best I’ve ever dealt with.
If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?
Create an online vlog, reviewing new progressive rock material (oh wait, I’m already doing that in my spare time!) But I would love to be up at the family cottage right about now. It’s the beginning of October, and the best time to venture up to Muskoka: the trees are changing colour, the weekend warriors have left for the summer, and everything is so beautiful. I just set up shop, hunker down with a good book, a few records, and drift off.
Are you a collector of anything?
Yes! I collect records. Not documents, but rather vinyl music records. I love going to a record store in town with a list of albums I’ve been looking for and seeing if anything matches up. One of my favourite things ever is buying an album on a whim and it turning out to be a masterpiece. Of course, this leads to many albums that are just kind of “meh,” but it also leads to a lot of unexpected finds. And of course, playing those records! Nothing beats classic analog.
What’s your favourite thing about the Ontario Library Association?
Our passion for our members. It’s the thing that goes across division. Whether it be for the Festival, for the Education Institute, or even user experience on our website, the driving force behind everything is to deliver outstanding service to our members. Somehow we’ve been able to stay afloat when memberships to a professional identity have become a click of a mouse with LinkedIn and Facebook, our members keep coming back. I think a good chunk of that reason is for our promise to them to provide them with outstanding resources and programs. I just love being a part of that.
Which OLA event are you most excited for in the year ahead?
Super Conference 2015. I’ll be manning the OLA Live booth this year, and I can’t wait to talk with all the presenters on their sessions. As I also love video editing, the more tedious part of the job, I will have a lot of fun getting everything together afterwards. Plus, I can’t wait to see some of the keynotes this year. The program looks amazing.