Meet Library Staff Member Brenda Reed, Head Education Librarian

Post Date:
Sep 18, 2023

Welcome to our first feature helping you to get to know your library staff.

Winner of a 2023 Queen’s University Distinguished Service Award, Brenda Reed has been empowering people at Queen’s and in the local community through her steady leadership and caring guidance for more than two decades.

Anyone familiar with the Education Library has almost certainly had the good fortune to encounter its Head Librarian, Brenda Reed. Residing within Duncan McArthur Hall on west campus, Queen’s University’s Education Library is a vibrant hub of learning, teaching, research, and community. All users, from new teacher candidates, to seasoned educators and students at every level quickly feel welcome, and inspired to explore the possibilities of this library and the wonderful people who make it run.

Brenda’s love of libraries has been a theme throughout her career, beginning with positions at Nova Scotia Provincial Library and a year at St. Mary’s University in acquisitions, and later as secretary to the University Librarian. Brenda continued pursuing her passion, graduating the Library and Information Studies program at Western before signing on at Bishop’s College School as a Teacher-Librarian where she remained for seven excellent years.

Brenda began her career at Queen’s University Library in 1994 working part-time on the reference desk at Education in the evenings alongside Donna Lynch. She fondly recalls them sharing a worn metal desk for completing their own work sequestered in a corner of the stacks during this period. The creation of a Teacher Resource Centre for the Limestone District School Board and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board at the Education Library led to Brenda eventually being able to move into a fulltime role in 1996.

In true Brenda Reed fashion, she credits her colleagues for their contributions to both her career path and the success of the Education Library. From fellow librarians to library technicians and reference assistants, or students working part time, Brenda expresses gratitude about how lucky she is to have such a wonderful group of people alongside her. “Over my years at the Education Library I have had the good fortune to work with so many dedicated and outstanding library technicians, and working with teams in the Education Library and across the library system has really brought joy to my work. We have such creative and dedicated staff here in the library and coming to work in a library every day has always offered a day of learning and collaboration and that has made for the best of jobs for sure,” says Brenda.

In addition, Brenda highlights the strong support given to the Library by the Faculty of Education, especially the Deans. She also notes that she's had the opportunity to work with our award-winning librarian, Dr. Cory Laverty and notes that Cory continues to inspire me and has been my mentor throughout my Queen’s career. In the past year the Education Library has welcomed three new staff, including Nathalie Soini, a French-speaking librarian who has extended our services to include instruction in French and has renewed our capacity to offer a personal librarian approach to our graduate students and a teacher librarian service for our teacher candidates,”.

Brenda also underscored the impact of Dr. Lynda Colgan and the annual Science Rendezvous event where the Education Library showcases a selection of its most popular science kits and books. This event allows the library to spread awareness, ensuring community members know they are welcome to access resources and borrow from the Education Library. The creation of two kits for Junior and Senior grades featuring fossil-casts of Ice-Age mammals, and a focus on climate change, habitat and biodiversity have been hugely successful.

Additionally, the Indigenous Teacher Education Program Library Catalogue being integrated into Omni thanks to the work of a combined Queen’s University Library and Indigenous Teacher Education Program (ITEP) team is a recent project Brenda praised for its innovation and positive outcomes. She also highlighted renovations to the Education Library during 2021/22 as a vital component in continuing to provide exemplary services and superb facilities to Education Library users.

Queen’s University Library is not only proud of all Brenda’s professional accomplishments and contributions to librarianship, we are also grateful for the optimism and passion she brings to the library every single day. If you haven’t had a chance to meet her, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself. You’re guaranteed to be greeted with a warm smile, helpful information, and more often than not you’ll leave with a fantastic reading list too.

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