Eileen Lewis may just be the toughest librarian at Queen’s Park. By day, she works as a research librarian at the Ontario Legislative Library at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. By night, Lewis straps on a pair of skates and morphs into her alter ego, “Marian the Diebrarian”, in a roller derby league. Raised in Hamilton, Lewis is a two-time University of Toronto graduate, where she obtained an Hon. BA in history and political science and a MISt in the library & information science and women & gender studies collaborative program. She sat down with fellow TSLIS member, Mimi Szeto, to talk about what it’s like to be a part of the Members of the Provincial Parliament’s library team and how the roughness on the rinks made her a better professional.
What is a day in the life of a research librarian at the Legislative Library?
There would be clients at the reference desk, an hour or two fielding incoming calls and answering the questions you’ve taken in. Rather than helping people find material and go about their research, we actually do the research. Our librarians are broken down to subject clusters that come up most frequently. If it’s something like health and education or planning and environment, we send it to the right people to do it. My cluster is planning and environment, so I do a lot of energy questions, municipal planning, agriculture, anything that falls into general parliamentary duties. As well, I train the general client team. We also work closely with our legislative research service, and those are mostly lawyers and people who are able to give more insight or more analysis.