Welcome Barbara Kern, AUL

Post Date:
Dec 18, 2023

We are excited to welcome Barbara Kern as our newest Associate University Librarian (AUL), beginning on January 2, 2024. As we count down the days to her arrival, we wanted to get to know her a bit better. Here is what she told us.  

Barbara’s library career began more than 25 years ago, and she has known that libraries were her place since her first year at the University of Toronto. Looking back to where it all began, she says, “I was fortunate to be hired as a student employee at the library. I spent all four years of my undergraduate working as a student in the bookstacks and on the circulation desk, working evenings and weekends and enjoying every minute. I particularly enjoyed engaging with people and learning about the interesting things faculty, students, and staff were working on and learning about.” She goes on to say, “And even more so, I enjoyed seeing how library staff played such a critical role in research, teaching and learning at the University. As I thought about my next steps after undergrad, I knew I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to spend time with people, that provided me with ongoing and interesting challenges, that involved lifelong learning and gave me the opportunity to have an impact. Librarianship was it.” 

Throughout the years, Barbara has been involved in many great programs and projects. Thinking about the career that has led her to Queen’s, Barbara was involved in exciting and impactful initiatives. “Each one was a team effort and I am proud of the work we accomplished as a group. As examples, the establishment of our clinical librarian program that is having such an impact in the medical center, the establishment of a dedicated group focused on transformative agreements and open scholarship, the creation of new spaces in the library for both library staff and faculty, students and researchers and more!” says Barabara.  

Barbara appreciates the benefits these programs have for library patrons and also staff -  herself included, saying, “Personally, I am proud of the workshops and training programs I have been able to participate in that have helped me gain understanding and perspective around equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging, as well as effective and impactful leadership. I enjoy and believe in lifelong learning and these are two important areas of focus for me. I am also very proud of being named a Fellow of the Special Libraries Association. I have my colleagues and friends in SLA to thank for such a great honor.” 

In addition to a commitment to lifelong learning, Barbara says that in her role, strong communication skills are critical, “This includes creating strong communication pathways to ensure there are opportunities for people to exchange information and share their thoughts, input, and opinions. For me, much of this is about listening and learning. I am looking forward to doing a lot of listening and learning as I start at Queen’s Library, especially in my first few months.” 

Looking toward January, Barbara says that on a personal note, having grown up in Bayridge, and with her mother working at Queen’s for more than 20 years, coming to Queen’s feels a bit like returning home. She says that even with changes, the campus still feels familiar. She is excited also to share this experience with her family: Ethan, who is finishing 3rd year at the University of San Francisco in the architecture program, and Abbie who just started high school. Together with our 7-year-old Airedale terrier, Hamish Macbeth.  

She adds that “I am most looking forward to joining and being part of the wonderful Queen’s University Library team. During the interview process I had the pleasure of meeting so many people at the Library and having great conversations. I was excited and energized about the great work being done today, and the vision for the future.” We are excited to welcome Barbara and get to know her better and do more great work here at the library.  

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