Meet the team! Check back each month to learn more about the people who help the Ontario Library Service provide seamless access to programs and services that strengthen all public libraries in Ontario.
Name: Jesse Roberts
My journey with public libraries began over 25 years ago as a Page with the Toronto Public Library. Throughout high school, undergraduate, and graduate studies I continued to work in libraries of all types and sizes. No matter what else I tried out, I kept coming back to libraries every time, a passion that eventually landed me in Thunder Bay, ON (where I have lived since 2008). Prior to joining the OLS, I worked as a public librarian with a focus on reference and public services, local history, copyright, and economic development. Now as a Consultant with the OLS I get to put all that experience to even greater use while learning from the talented library leaders across Ontario. I am an avid knitter, occasionally crochet and cross stich, and rely heavily on the Thunder Bay Public Library for all my recreational reading material. Lately I’ve been enjoying mostly cozy mysteries, memoirs, and psychological thrillers. Outside of work my life largely revolves around my rescue dog (his name is Flirt); he rarely makes an appearance on OLS video calls but when he does, he is sure to steal the show!
If you could become a character from any book who would you pick and why?
Clare Cosi from the Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle – she can accomplish more in a day than any actual person could get done in a week, all while solving the mystery / baking up a storm / and running a successful business. She either has secret superpowers, doesn’t actually sleep, or drinks wayyyy too much caffeine…
My favourite meal is…
Anything involving fresh seafood! Much of my family is based in the Maritimes and I can never get enough seafood when there to visit.
A random and seldom known fact about me is…
My first job as a library page was offered after the librarian remembered meeting me for the first time as a six-year-old, demanding that she go to the children’s section with me and help find something good that I hadn’t already read. At the age of 14 this was an embarrassing story to be told during a job interview, but in hindsight it was pretty perfect and funny.
Do you have a favourite task or project in your OLS work role? Tell us a bit about it…
My favourite task within the OLS is the time spent working directly with libraries across the province. While every community is unique and different in its own way, the thread of public libraries striving to offer the best service possible is always the same. As our lives and environments shift and change, our public libraries adapt to continue meeting needs and anticipating future developments. My role within the OLS allows me to observe and learn from such a wide variety of libraries and communities that every conversation offers valuable learning opportunities to be shared with others along the way and in the years to come.
What do diversity, inclusivity, and connection mean to you?
They can mean many different things, but one of the elements they all share is in my mindset and understanding of them and how they fit within my life and work. As I continue to learn and grow, their definition continues to evolve; but what always stays the same is that I am responsible for my behaviour towards others and how I work to make other people feel welcomed and understood.