Sascha Brock is the Dorothy H. Hoover Library's Cataloguing Technician. We talked to Sascha about her interests, what she does in the library and some of her favourite parts of the library's collection.
Can you explain what your role is in the library?
I am the Cataloguing Technician, so once a new book is received by our library, it’s my job to check if any other libraries already have it, and copy their catalogue record information if they do. Most libraries borrow and share records with each other in this fashion (called “copy cataloguing”). It helps us to get new books into the collection faster. I also do the physical processing for all new books, preparing them for use in our library collection. This includes applying plastic protection, typing up call numbers, and applying barcodes. Additionally, I also handle all book repairs for our collection – gluing broken spines, taping or replacing torn pages, or anything else needed. Lastly, I coordinate rush requests, so when you place an online hold requesting a “Newly Acquired” item in our catalogue, I'm the one that locates the item in our Technical Services department and initiates the process of getting it ready for you as quickly as possible.
How did you end up working in libraries?
Knowing how much I loved books and reading, it was my dad who suggested that I apply at the public library as a shelving page for my first job at age 16, and since then I’ve worked mostly in libraries for the majority of my career. I really value libraries as they are public spaces that allow everyone to feel welcome and to have equal access to free information. They house centuries of learning, history and knowledge. They foster community and empowerment. I never had any interest in working in a field where the primary goal was profit or sales, so I decided pretty early on that working in the library field would be where I would be happiest. I particularly enjoy working at OCAD, as it keeps me very connected to the art and design world, and I love the community here.
What are some of your favourite items in the library’s collection?
I’ve very much enjoyed the privilege of getting to see literally each and every new book coming into our library for almost 20 years now, so this is definitely a hard one to answer! I love reading about art that acts as social or political commentary or resistance, as well as functional design that enhances people's well-being while supporting a sustainable world, so I’m always happy to see these topics reflected in our collection. One new book that I am excited we are adding to OCAD's collection this month is “Our World to Change,” edited by Attac and Civic city, ©2017. This small book tackles some of the global problems and inequities mostly caused by corporate multinationals pursuing profits, and explores ideas encouraging social and environmental justice, written in easy-to-read and engaging infographics.
I also love to read anything funny. Two of my favorites in our collection are "Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible 70's" by James Lileks, ©2004; and "Stats Canada: Satire on a National Scale", Penguin Books, ©2013. Both are very entertaining reads.
What are your interests outside the library?
I love fencing, it's a wonderful, universal sport. I competed internationally in foil and epee until age caught up with me. I also used to coach varsity fencing at York University and elsewhere, and I’ve even worked with fencers as far away as India when they were trying to develop the sport there. I have great interest in issues regarding human rights, equity, diversity, social justice, accessibility, and fostering an inclusive culture for all, and I've served as a Union steward for OCAD staff for the past 8 years. I also love cats (but who doesn't), music (ditto), and really enjoy exploring Toronto; there's always something new to discover as the city is always changing. I also have a bit of an obsession with stand-up comedy – I've watched most everything online and I love going to live shows. I have some friends and family who've performed improv and stand-up, but I'm definitely way too shy to try it out myself. Instead I partially live the dream by subjecting my fellow coworkers to continuous jokes and (supposedly) witty one-liners :)