Library ambassadors: written by Chelsea Davies-Kneis

woman standing with clipboard

Hello everyone! My name is Chelsea and I’m in my fourth year of Honours Social Development Studies with specializations in social work, individual wellbeing & development, and social policy & social action. I’m also working on a minor in Sexuality Marriage and Family studies, and yes — I know it’s the longest degree ever, and yes — I’m excited to see if all those words make it onto my diploma in April (fingers crossed). This might be my fourth year of university but it’s my first term as a Library Ambassador! I decided to apply because I think the library is awesome, and as I started to reflect on my time at UW I realized I hadn’t been as involved on campus as I would have liked, and thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share my library passion, and connect to my campus community before my time here is up.

five people standing

Alright folks, buckle your seatbelts and get ready for some insight. Today I’m here to talk about approachability! I’ll touch on some key aspects to think about if you want to work on your own approachability, and why being approachable is important to the life of a Library Ambassador.  

Approachability is one of those cool traits that can mean something totally different to different people. If you were to google “approachability” you’ll get some pretty standard stock definitions including terminology like “accessible,” “friendly,” “comforting,” and “welcoming.” While this is true, I think it goes deeper than that.

three people standing

For me, approachability is the ability to arrive at each situation or new person you encounter with openness, and genuine interest. This is especially true being a Library Ambassador on campus! Y’all are cool, diverse people! Having the chance to talk with so many people, many of whom have wildly different academic prospects, personalities, and everyday lives than I do is pretty neat. Approachability is important for Library Ambassadors at events — especially when we have “Ask Me” t-shirts on. It would be silly to invite questions while simultaneously projecting disinterest or intimidation. It just wouldn’t work.

woman and goose

Here’s my favourite approachability life hack: try to have the mindset of inviting adventure and new experiences into your life. I do my best to use this as a framework for myself as I go about my day. Whether it be in class, trying a new restaurant, taking the bus, or interacting with my fellow students as a Library Ambassador. I think this is the true spirit of approachability. More than anything else, it’s a vibe. Approachable people send out vibes that others can pick up on. #goodvibesonly

All this being said, there’s always going to be variation in what makes someone approachable. Thinking about this whole “good vibes” business, what are attractive qualities in others from your perspective. Are you drawn to outgoing people? More quiet people? Are you more serious, or more of a jokester? If you want to work on your own approachability — be ready to adapt and learn! Listen to feedback from people close to you, and then challenge yourself to talk with new people! Take wisdom as it comes. You never know when you’ll find a tidbit, or which conversation will spark inspiration. I experience this all the time while on the front lines repping the library. I love when someone approaches me to ask a question, and hangs around for an extra few minutes for some quality conversation. And the beauty of it all is the symbiosis! The more approachable one is, the more diverse and unique conversations will come your way, the more wisdom you gain, and in turn the more approachable you become! Super cool.

two people talking

Lastly, a positive attitude and an open mind will go a long way towards your overall approachability. And most importantly, do your best to be your true most genuine self, what ever that might be for you. One thing I find always makes someone approachable is when I get the sense that they’re being themselves. And it works for me too! I have bright pink hair, and it’s always a surefire conversation starter! I used to worry that having colourful hair would be a negative point on my approachability, but in reality I think it’s been the opposite. It never hurts to have a built in ice-breaker!

So, with all that in mind, I bid thee go forth and be approachable, and get ready for some awesome conversations and new experiences.