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U of G Librarian Jim Brett Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

User Services Librarian Jim Brett was awarded the 2015 Ontario College and University Library Association’s (OCULA) Lifetime Achievement Award at the Ontario Library Association’s Super Conference in Toronto on January 29, 2015.


Jim’s nomination from his colleagues came as a pleasant surprise. “It’s huge when your peers recognize you and they’re willing to honour you like that. It feels great.” Jim is the sixth librarian from the University of Guelph to receive the OCULA award, Jim credits the McLaughlin Library’s culture with inspiring librarians to go above and beyond. “The University of Guelph Library attracts people who really want to be here and who want to take an active role in the profession,” explains Jim.  With an impressive list of accomplishments, it is clear that Jim is an integral part of this culture.


The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to librarians who are considered exceptional role models, a designation that can readily be applied to Jim. He was the Chair of the OLA Mentoring Committee, which allowed him to share his expertise and knowledge with others. “I focused a lot on students,” says Jim. “It can be challenging for them to take what they’ve learned and then apply it to real life, so it’s been great to share my experiences with them.”


In addition to mentoring students, Jim has also had a lasting influence on his colleagues. Nominator and fellow librarian Robin Bergart praised Jim’s involvement in the mentoring program. “I think that this kind of work demonstrates a true commitment to the profession and a selfless desire to contribute to other's development.” Cynthia McKeich from Seneca Libraries cited Jim’s outstanding leadership skills as another source of his success. “He leads a team with an enviable blend of direction and friendliness.”


The real key to Jim’s success is not just his willingness to teach, but his willingness to learn. He understands the need to be constantly growing as both an individual and as part of an organization. “Even new colleagues are mentoring me,” he explains. “Hearing new ways of thinking helps me develop both professionally and personally.”


A lot has changed in Jim’s 30 years at the University. As a Guelph graduate who has held a variety of positions at McLaughlin Library, he has played an important part in its evolution. “Guelph has been a great place to work because we are always adapting,” Jim says. “It’s nice to be a part of this kind of environment.”


Though Jim has received a lifetime achievement award, this will certainly not mark the end of his accomplishments. McLaughlin Library congratulates Jim and looks forward to his continuing contributions to the library team.