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The Library Welcomes Three New Team Heads

At the library, we are excited to announce three new strategic team heads, Melanie Parlette-Stewart, as head, Learning & Curriculum Support, Ian Gibson, head, Collections & Content, and Curtis Sassur, as head, Archival & Special Collections. All three bring with them passion and enthusiasm and we are pleased to welcome them to the library, and more broadly, to U of G. Read on for a bio and a brief Q&A with each of them.

Melanie Parlette-Stewart, head, Learning & Curriculum Support

  Melanie Parlette-Stewart

Melanie Parlette-Stewart, who graduated from Dalhousie in 2010, is a professional librarian who has worked in academia for nearly a decade. Parlette-Stewart joined U of G in 2013 and held roles at McLaughlin Library as a blended learning librarian and a digital media librarian, before leaving for a secondment as a training coordinator with the Portage Network. Before joining U of G, Parlette-Stewart worked at Conestoga College and Dalhousie University. She also curates the sartorial expressions of librarians for fun at what the librarian wore.

Q&A with Melanie Parlette-Stewart (MPS)

Q: What are you most passionate about in your work?

MPS: I’m passionate about creating learner centered experiences and services. I’m interested in how we put the learner at the centre of what we do, and I believe that this is key to the success of L&CS. For me, I enjoy seeking out opportunities where we can challenge assumptions. Using tools like user experience testing and regularly committing to improving what we do over time. For me this means looking for the evidence and recognizing how students experience things holistically.

I’m also passionate about creating opportunities for collaboration and building strong relationships. We don’t do what we do alone – it’s necessary to collaborate with each other and across campus. My scholarship work with Sajni Lacey from UBCO on Imposter Syndrome has really highlighted to me the importance of finding “your place” within a diverse field such as librarianship. The relationships that we build with our colleagues are key to our success. I’ve been so excited over my time at Guelph to work with so many different units from LANG, CESI, Office of Research.

Q: What are you most excited about in your new role?

MPS: Working with a group of talented individuals who are passionate about learning. This unit provides exceptional face-to-face service, I’m excited about the opportunities presented to us to translate this to the online environment. The team has already made incredible leaps forward with this – for example moving our face-to-face supported learning group sessions to an online classroom. I think we’re now presented with the opportunity to challenge ourselves to take what we’ve done in an incredibly short period of time and look to learn from these experiences and continue to meet the needs of learners in these challenging times.

I’m also excited to think about what this means for the future of learning in higher education – how we provide academic support services is going through a dramatic shift. Now is an incredibly exciting time to think about what we do with this and how our services will evolve.

Q: Why U of G?

MPS: The University of Guelph has continued to provide me with exciting opportunities – whether it’s been to start a Media Studio or take on a leadership role. People are passionate about what they do here, and this shows. U of G is beautiful campus and Guelph is a vibrant city to live in.

Ian Gibson, head, Collections & Content

 Ian Gibson

Ian Gibson, our new head of Collections & Content, is interested in all things open and is especially excited by the growth of preprints and the initiative for open citations. Gibson is also interested in collection assessment and the different kinds of evidence that is emerging from our use. Gibson joins U of G from Brock University, where he was acting head, Collections. When unwinding, he enjoys board games, cooking, and listening to music.

Q&A with Ian Gibson (IG)

Q: What are you most passionate about in your work?

IG: I am passionate about leveraging collaboration with other units and other libraries to move the work of Collections and Content forward. Right now, in Ontario we are just starting to scratch the surface of collaborative possibilities with the Omni system. We are not used to thinking about the possible deep collaboration that this system makes possible. It is therefore incumbent on those of us in leadership positions to think big and to articulate our vision of what could be to those in our organization who do not necessarily see the opportunities and advantages that deep and meaningful collaboration will bring.

Q: What are you most excited about in your new role?

IG: I am most excited by the Collections & Content team. One of the primary reasons I wanted this role was the people at U of G. My background is collection development and in my time in that area U of G librarians have always played a prominent role so it is very exciting to inherit that tradition but also to ensure that we continue to make our voices heard nationally and internationally. I don’t know the Acquisitions, Course Reserve and Electronic Resource Management staff as well yet but I’m confident that we have the right people to tackle the challenges present in our current landscape.

Q: Why U of G?

IG: The University of Guelph has so many great things going for it:

  • It’s a good size – large enough to do exciting things but not so large as to be overwhelming
  • The library is well resourced – both from a budget and human resources perspective
  • The location is perfect for my family

But the single biggest pull was the people. I knew several U of G people from other contexts and the prospect of being able to work with them more closely was irresistible!

Curtis Sassur, head, Archival & Special Collections and Digital Archivist

Curtis Sassur

Curtis Sassur, joins us as head, Archival & Special Collections and digital archivist in December 2020. Sassur joins U of G from Ryerson University where he is an archivist. Sassur's research focuses on the monetary appraisal of Canadian archival properties. You can read some of Sassur’s work in the next issue of Archivaria, slated for publication later this fall.

Q&A with Curtis Sassur (CS)

Q: What are you most passionate about in your work?

CS: Although I am attracted to many aspects of the role, I suppose I am most passionate about supporting young people to develop and grow in the archival profession.

Q: What are you most excited about in your new role?

CS: As we all know, U of G has an excellent library system and archival repository, and I can’t wait to eventually get onsite and immerse myself in the collections. I’m also very much looking forward to potential future collecting directions that may dovetail with my personal interest in music related archival collections.

Q: Why U of G?

CS: Guelph is where I initially moved to when I left my hometown to go to university. I graduated from U of G with a philosophy degree and lived and worked in Guelph for almost ten years during that period of my life. I am so happy to be coming back to the city and the University at this time, and to be entrusted with helping to maintain the A&SC’s wonderful collections.