July 25-27, 2018 / Vancouver, BC

An Interview with Cecily Walker

April 20, 2016

(photo by Aki Mimoto)

Steve Fisher talks with Cecily Walker about what it means to matter and what it means that things matter to you. We also hear a little bit about what it's like to be a local in Vancouver.

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Video Transcript

Steve Fisher: I'm here today with Cecily Walker from Vancouver. Very exciting to have a local coming to talk at the conference this summer. Cecily, why don't you introduce yourself to everyone in the DCC audience.

Cecily Walker: My name is Cecily Walker. I am a librarian in Vancouver which means I work at Vancouver Public Library. Before I started working as a librarian, I actually worked as a user experience architect both at a software development company and at HSBC for about four years. Then I pivoted away from private companies to give public libraries a chance and I've been here ever since. I've been at VPL for about, well over eight years now.

Steve Fisher: Wow, that's great. Libraries have a very special part in my heart. My mom was a librarian, is a librarian I guess.

Cecily Walker: I didn't know that.

Steve Fisher: I don't think it ever stops. So I grew up in the library, just all the time was there, and loved it. So, yeah that's exciting. I actually didn't know about some of that stuff from your past though.

Cecily Walker: Yeah.

Steve Fisher: We're thrilled that you're coming to give a talk this summer at the Design and Content Conference. Maybe you could just give everyone some highlights from what you'll be talking about.

Cecily Walker: What I'll probably be talking about is something that has really become more important to me especially working in a public library space. It's about why the things we add to our collections matter. What I'll basically be talking about is what it means to matter and what it means that things matter to you, and why it's important that people be really upfront, really honest and really passionate about the things that matter to them. How, amongst that feeling of mattering, we actually build community connections. So that's in a nutshell what I'll be talking about. Hopefully people will get something out of it, hopefully people will think that it's an interesting topic. Once I had this sort of revelation, it really changed the way I approached my job as a librarian.

Steve Fisher: That sounds great. Already just hearing you talk about it like that, I'm hooked, I'm ready for the talk, and to hear it from you and your perspective, that's fantastic. You're the first person we're talking to besides myself there is a local here, maybe you could share some things that you love about Vancouver or something you like to do, something that people that are coming should know about.

Cecily Walker: It just feels so good to hear somebody call me a local, because as soon as I open my mouth, people just go, "Oh no, she's not from here." as if this isn't clue enough for people. But I've been here for 15 years and Vancouver is just in my soul, and I can't imagine living anywhere else. I compare it to where I'm originally from, which is Atlanta, which is car crazy, which is the kind of lifestyle where you work 40 hours a week, so that you can pay for your mini mansion and your 2.5 cars in your garage. Pretty much growing up, that's not really something I ever aspired to. Coming to a place like Vancouver which that kind of lifestyle is prohibitively expensive, you can't really live that kind of lifestyle in Vancouver, and people don't really think anything bad about you if you choose not to live that kind of lifestyle in Vancouver. The fact that it's possible for me to live in a place that's walkable, that's bikeable, that people don't look at me like there's something wrong with me, that I choose to get around by bicycle or by Vespa scooter most of the time, is so great. I would not trade that for anyplace else in the world.

Steve Fisher: That's fantastic. Yeah your Vespa scooter, you should offer everyone rides on your Vespa while they're here.

Cecily Walker: I'll put them on my handlebars.

Steve Fisher: Thanks Cecily, I really appreciate you taking the time today to chat with us, and we're really looking forward to having you out this summer to the conference.

Cecily Walker: I'm so pleased that you guys asked me, and I'm really looking forward to it.