By: David Rowlandson | November 5, 2019
Continuing our regular meet-and-greet with Redeemer faculty and staff, this week’s article is an interview with David Purdy, Redeemer’s Assistant Librarian! Purdy joined Redeemer’s library team last February, making for eight months of work at Redeemer so far.
As Assistant Librarian, what kinds of work and research are you responsible for?
Marlene and I are the two librarians at Redeemer and we split all of the university’s disciplines between us – we each have half. We’re responsible for our disciplines from beginning to end. Whenever a student or professor has a question about research for a paper or a presentation, they would normally come to me or Marlene, depending on whose discipline that is. Normally these disciplines relate to our backgrounds and specific expertise. We acquire books on those subjects. I also lead library orientation sessions for my subject areas. Helping people with citation is another big thing I do.
What did you do before Redeemer?
Before coming to Redeemer in February, I was working at Booth University College. I was covering a more-than-year-long sick leave there. It was a similar school in that it’s another Christian organization – also undergraduate. That one’s run by The Salvation Army in Winnipeg. That was the first time I was working with a Christian library, but before that I was still working as a librarian for the International Development Research Centre and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network. Before that I was in library school at Western University.
Why did you come to Redeemer?
I had not had any involvement with Redeemer prior to coming here, but I really like working in a Christian environment. I think it’s easy to see the purpose in my job; helping students to see the work that they’re doing, or going to do, from a Christian perspective, and preparing them for their careers. I think research skills are things that people will find helpful in their career paths and in their lives in general after their time at university. I have loved working here; I have enjoyed this job more than any other position I’ve had. The people here have been wonderful to work with.
What are some accomplishments you are proud of, or interests/adventures you’ve had?
For about ten years I was a very active Wikipedia editor, and specifically I edited a lot about human trafficking and Christian subjects. It’s fun to see the ways in which some of the articles I’ve invested in have had a real-world impact. In particular, there was an article I wrote about a human-trafficking documentary film called Not My Life (directed by Robert Bilheimer), and since I have written that article, the film has become required viewing for all police academies in India. I’m glad to have had that time on Wikipedia.
I really enjoy board games. I got married just over a month ago – it has been awesome! – and playing board games is something we love doing together.
Also, I’ve done a lot of international travel–in a former life I was a civil engineering student, so I had a co-op placement in Zimbabwe for three months. I bungee-jumped over Victoria Falls and swung into Zambia, so I consider myself to have been in Zambia too! I backpacked around Europe one summer as well.
If you had unlimited time and money, what project would you really like to do?
I think a few years ago I would have said, “Invest in Wikipedia articles”, but I’m currently working on a project where I’m recording an audiobook written by William Booth, who was the founder of Salvation Army. Over the past couple of years I’ve been active with LibriVox; people creating audiobooks. I would love to create more of those, especially for certain authors who are not well represented yet. And I would especially love to coordinate dramatic readings for a novel or a play, with different actors voicing different parts. I’ve been doing a lot of minor roles in those, but I would love to coordinate those myself and take on larger roles within them.
Anything you’d like to say to the community as we conclude?
One of the main reasons I’m here is to help people with their research. I think often people come and are a bit apologetic to interrupt me, but my main focus is to help people with whatever they need. I’m in the fish-bowl office. Really easy to find. Feel free to come in and interrupt me and ask me questions.