Q&A: Sandra Singh

Tell me one thing that may surprise people about what they can do at the library. I’m constantly encountering people who had no idea you can borrow downloadable ebooks.

As a former reference librarian, what was the most obscure question you ever got? Years ago, before the internet, I was working at the Abilene Library in Texas, and this woman came in with a letter and wanted me to verify the name of the National Bank in Nigeria and its address. She refused to let me see the letter or tell me anything more. Only years later did I realize this was one of those bank scams.

Which author could you read over and over again? There are lots, but if I were to read one genre again, it would probably be poetry. Pablo Neruda. I could flow through his poetry.

I was talking to a friend who doesn’t read but she read 50 Shades of Grey and told me she wished that she could unread it. Is there a book you’d unread? I allow myself the opportunity to stop reading. There’s no book that I wish I could unread-I just stop.

What’s the last book you purchased? The one I’m reading now: Pilgrimage by Diana Davidson, an Edmonton author. It’s her first book, about a young Métis woman in the late 1800s.

You have access to all these books, how do you decide when to purchase? The first thing I do is go to the library and see if they have it for me to borrow. If there’s a long hold queue, then I would buy the book. And sometimes I’ll buy the book after I borrow it from the library.

You can’t jump the queue? Nope.

What superpower do you wish you had in your job? The power to make more money so we could offer the
broad range of collections that we would love to offer. I would increase our budgets and offer more resources to
the community and open our branches 24/7.

Who would be your chief nemesis? Someone who burns books and censors information, who completely contradicts the fundamental principles of the library, who doesn’t value knowledge, who wants to hoard all the information in the world and not share.

Like a Dr. No? Dr. No Knowledge! That would be the nemesis of a chief librarian.

What’s it like for your son to be the child of librarians? He’s become very used to us saying, “Let’s look that up.”

If someone were to catalogue you under the old Dewey Decimal system, where would you be? In the 000s, filed under Miscellaneous.