Earlier this week I spoke with the new Creative Arts Librarian Gavin Goodwin on his experience so far at Mt. A.. Gavin Goodwin worked as a professional musician, through both performing and teaching. He has an undergraduate degree in music performance from the University of Alberta and a Master of Music Performance from Bowling Green State University. For both degrees, he majored in saxophone, with a specialty in 20th and 21st-century contemporary repertoire. Before moving to Sackville, he was living and working in Montreal while he completed his studies in librarianship at McGill University, completing his Master of Information Studies last year.
Goodwin spoke on how welcoming the university is, and how easy it is to fit in. Moving from a big city like Montreal to a town as small as Sackville has been an adjustment for Goodwin,, but the community at both the University and in the town have been so welcoming that it has been an easy transition. Being from Alberta originally, it has also been a lot of fun to explore the Maritimes as it’s a part of the country he doesn’t know very well.
Goodwin works full-time, working with the other Public Services Librarians, as well as managing the Alfred Whitehead Music Library. Goodwin is so excited to be the head of the music library, as the Alfred Whitehead Music Libraryis one of the most significant music library collections in the Maritimes,so inheriting this fantastic collection has been a privilege. Many students might not be aware of the Music Library or may not have visited it before if they are not studying music; the library is found in the basement of the Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory of Music on campus. The location of the music library makes it possible for Goodwin to have contact with all the music students and faculty. If students are looking for a change of scenery for studying, they can go down to the music library.
Goodwin also mentioned the hardships with this job, especially during the pandemic. Working online makes it much more difficult for him to connect with and support students, which is such an important part of his job as a librarian. At the time of this interview, it was just announced that the Government of New Brunswick was bringing back Level 3 restrictions in the province, implementing work from home and online delivery of classes for a longer period. One of the most rewarding things about the Fall 2021 term was being physically back in the library, as it helps Goodwin focus and makes some of the work he does much easier. Being new to Mount Allison, one of the best ways to get to know the library’s collection is to walk the book stacks and browse, but that obviously isn’t possible when working from home.
Goodwin went ahead sending out good messages to students during this hard time: ‘’the burnout and the stress that comes with the pandemic and online learning, particularly because my last year of graduate school was online during the pandemic, just like all of the students at MTA experienced. My best advice for students is to stay engaged and do your best; you will get out of your time at university the same as you put in, and there are lots of people available to help you do that. Librarians and all of the staff in the library are here to help, and even if we are working online, we would love to hear from you because helping students is the best part of our jobs.’’