5 Questions: Melanie Hannaford

Monday, April 22, 2024

Melanie HannafordOnce a month the Student Engagement and Communications Assistant co-op student interviews Library staff to provide patrons with a peek behind the bookstacks at all the work that happens to provide a variety of services and resources that support the learning, research and innovation that happens at Waterloo. 

This month, co-op student Mia Malidzanovic interviewed Melanie Hannaford the Library’s Administrative Officer. 

Q1: How does your position benefit the Library community? 

As a resource to the library staff, my work happens behind the scenes. I work in the areas of human resources (HR), space planning, administration, finance, and strategic initiatives. The human resources needs range from performance appraisals to recruitment and onboarding. I also lead operational projects and work closely with our Financial Officer and associate university librarian, administration, and strategic initiatives, on budget planning and strategy. I also work closely with the Library Executive Committee, which is the senior leadership team, and lead administrative staff to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. 

Q2: What is one Library service or resource that Library users should know about? 

One of my favourite places in the Library is our Special Collections & Archives department. It’s super fascinating to go through the archives and see the rare books and overall amount of archival material that we have. They have tons of resources on the history of Kitchener-Waterloo and so much more than that. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t had the chance to check out some of their exhibits, whether it is a digital exhibit online, visiting the Waterloo Digital Library, or going in person, I highly recommend it.  

Q3: What other faculties or departments do you work with on campus?   

I work with the various units within the campus Human Resources Department which includes recruitment, payroll, and other HR partners. Human Resources is big, and I work with all aspects of it! I also work with Student Awards and Financial Aid, Co-op and Finance.  

Q4: Where do you see the future of the Library? 

Libraries have been changing for a while now, and while I think that we will always have a need for physical books, there is obviously a shift for more digital resources. That means that the way people use libraries is evolving. Whether it be a need for more collaborative spaces, access to digital services, or new technologies, things have continued, and will continue, to change. We recently ran a Library User Survey, which will help us understand user satisfaction in our Waterloo community. Initiatives like this play a foundational role in the way our Library progresses, as we get a sense of what is important to our community. 

Q5: What is your favorite book? 

There is no way I can narrow it down to just one book, like many people, but I will tell you about a book that stayed with me for a while. Educated by Tara Westover is a memoir about her life growing up in a survivalist household where she was home schooled. Throughout her life she was sheltered from everything mainstream and experienced physical and emotional abuse. It is evident in her story that her father had mental health issues and feared the government which translated into how he raised her. Tara ended up persevering through her circumstances and decided to leave home to pursue a formal education. Her very first day of school was University, and she eventually got a PhD.  

If you enjoyed reading about Melanie’s role at the Library, read our previous interviews with Israel Cefrin da Silva, Library Information Technology Specialist/Developer, librarian Marian Davies, university librarian Beth Namachchivaya, and library coordinator at Musagetes Mark Anderton.   

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