Peter Fourlaris: Tell the readers a bit about yourself, what is your job title and description here at Concordia?
Dan Mirau: I’m the library director here at Concordia. I’ve been here for about 16 years now, I started here doing some web development projects, and information services with the information desk, and I worked my way into this position. I’ve been the library director since 2004.
PF: What is your favourite part of your job?
DM: I really like working with students, and I love the people here in the library that I work with. I like working collaboratively on a team that shares a common understanding of what it’s doing, and has a clear sense of who’s doing what. I just love that sense of being a part of a team.
PF: What is the most popular question that students ask you for help with?
DM: We get a lot of questions about finding material: books, articles, videos, anything like that. We also get a lot of questions about citations, and how to cite materials for assignments. And I have to say, while they’re not specifically library questions, we get a lot of questions about things like passwords, printing, how to use the Wi-Fi, and those kind of IT questions.
PF: What is the most unusual question you have been asked by a student?
DM: Once there was a student who asked us to keep her student identification card here in the library, rather than her carrying it with her because she was afraid her family would learn that she was enrolled at Concordia. I think it says a lot about the challenges that students have in their personal lives, and how privacy and confidentiality are important.
PF: Do you have any general advice for students regarding the library and maximizing it as a student resource?
DM: I’d like all of the students to know how much support that we do offer at the integrated service desk here at the library. We try to send out information that may be helpful as the term progresses, we might do that through email, or Facebook, or through our Twitter page, we also have a Tumblr page and a Pinterest account. If all else fails they can come in, they can phone, use the chat on the library website, text us, or monitor the social media channels and hopefully we can connect at the right points in time. I like believe that everybody here on the library staff is very friendly and also approachable.
PF: What is your favourite hobby away from school?
DM: I really like reading, I like movies, and spending time with my partner and her family, going outside; hiking and biking. I also write, and do other creative work such as visual arts. I just have too many fun things that I like doing, I could go on and on!
PF: What is your dream vacation spot?
DM: For the last two years I traveled to Croatia with my partner, her family is originally from Croatia so we spend time there. I really do like the Croatian coast. I’ve been thinking more and more about Paris, and Japan, I think Kyoto. I’ve been to Kyoto once and I’d love to go back, it’s so beautiful.
PF: What is your favourite book?
DM: I can’t say I have a favourite because I love books, but a book that I read recently that really surprised me is Moby Dick. I enjoyed it far more than I expected I would. It’s a classic; Herman Melville, whalers, a crazy mad Captain, it’s just an unbelievable novel! With classic literature, you often don’t know if it will be dry or boring, but Moby Dick is so much more than you would expect.
PF: What is your favourite movie?
DM: Again, it’s hard to pick just one, but I really love a film called Days of Heaven, it’s directed by Terrence Malick, it came out in the late 70’s. It’s about a rich sharecropper and these people who work on his farm, it’s just the most beautiful cinematography, and it’s a really profound story!
PF: If you could have any superpower, what would you choose, and why?
DM: Maybe I would choose to be like the Flash because I could go really fast, I like the idea of time slowing down, and having more of it. There’s always far more that I hope to do here in the library and in my personal life than I seem to have time for!
Thank you, Mr. Mirau for a delightful and entertaining interview. And on behalf of all students and staff on campus, thank you for doing such a great job making the library an extremely accessible and valuable resource for all of us to use.
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