Donna Bourne‑Tyson

Dalhousie University Librarian

Most exciting part of your job? Learning about national and international advances in areas like Open Access, research data management, and scholarly communications, and considering ways to incorporate these developments at Dal.

Have you followed a circuitous path to your current position, or a straightforward path? My path has been very circuitous -- I've had contracts to automate a law library, to set up a books by mail program, and to write software for lawyers learning how to do online research.  I have been employed in public, government, and academic librarian roles, and at one point was the tech support department manager for a national patient care software company.

What skill is most in-demand for people entering the field today? The ability to communicate effectively is important, whether working with users to conduct a needs analysis, talking to an architect about space planning, or planning a new service with colleagues.  Being able to think creatively and flexibly is also important, in order to thrive in changing, ambiguous environments, and to respond to evolving circumstances with nimbleness and resilience.

Words of advice for MLIS students? Is there anything you wish you had known when you entered your professional that would be helpful to someone entering it today? It is possible to be innovative and creative in a traditional library environment -- don't be deterred by centuries of tradition!