May Member Profile


May member profile is Jeff Newman, College Librarian


What is your current role?

College Librarian


What are you reading right now (professional or personal)? What is it about?

I’m currently reading Charle Jane Anders’ _All the birds in the sky_. It is about two childhood friends, Patricia and Laurence. Patricia learns at a young age that she is gifted with magic and grows up to be a powerful with, while Laurence is a brilliant young man in the professional orbit of an Elon-musk-type figure. As the world deteriorates around them, they find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict between science and magic.


What do you like to do in your free time?

I am an idle tinkerer. Had I been born 30 years earlier I’d probably have a garage full of half built engines. As it is, I endlessly tinker with my computers. I especially like writing little automations with things like Apple’s Shortcuts. It’s the kind of learning that always comes with the instant gratification of seeing things work paired with the blessing and curse of instantly seeing how you can push things a little bit further. Also, I can do it while watching TV, which was the other possible answer to this question.


Tell us about a typical day at work.

I work in a small library — there are three of us on the professional staff. I think a lot of librarians can relate to the idea that a “typical day” is fantasy. New College has several academic programs that are a part of the college, so a normal day might involve students dropping by looking for help with their paper, or an urgent call from a faculty member with a question or an idea for a project or event. As a manager there’s the need to stay on top of the paperwork. And of course, there is the email. No plan in the day planner survives contact with the Inbox. I guess the most typical thing about my days is that they are dynamic and often contain a surprise or two. One skill that took me too long to learn was to always leave space in my daily goals for the unexpected.


What are you most excited to be working on right now?

We are currently working on building the capacity to support podcasting projects in the library. Getting to talk this through with faculty and learn about the equipment and practices used in podcasting has been a lot of fun.


What made you decide to join CAPAL?

I had been active in the University of Toronto Faculty Association for years when the idea of CAPAL was initially formed. It was there that I met Harriet Sonne-de-Torrens who was in conversation with other librarians around the country about the professional status of librarians at their institutions. When CAPAL was initially formed, I joined right away. The idea of an association that advocated for people and professionals rather than institutions and industries was and still is very appealing to me.