Librarians and Archivists are always there for you.

Caroline Rabideau

When I was conducting research for my Master of Arts Degree my professor encouraged me to reach out to Tom Belton, an archivist at Western University.

My project examined the introduction of the Department of Visual Arts at Western in 1967, and the early history and proceedings before it was officially established at the university. I had little to no knowledge of how to search for information and had never worked with archival material before I met with Tom. He directed me to appropriate sources to find the material I was looking for, showed great professionalism, and made me feel as though I was a priority all nine of the months I was working at the library and archives. Tom even went out of his way to find relevant documents and photographs of early faculty members, including Western’s founding Professor and Chair of the Department of Visual Arts. I can honestly say that without Tom’s guidance and support, my research would not have developed the way it had. I kept in contact with Tom on a regular basis and never once felt that I could not reach out to him if I needed more help or information.

It was very reassuring and inspiring to have someone from Western Libraries express so much interest and take the time to help me with my research. The experience with Tom shifted my perception of librarianship. People often think of librarians as primarily re-shelving and checking out books, when there is so much more hands-on, creative and constructive work involved in the job.

Tom’s dedication instilled in me a stronger interest in scholarly research and sparked my desire to pursue a career where I could help others the way he helped me. Ultimately, my personal journey through archival research has led me to pursue a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Western. The MLIS program has been an amazing experience, opening many doors for me career-wise, and I cannot thank Tom enough for the essential role his dedication and passion for research has played in shaping my academic and professional career.

Caroline Rabideau is an MLIS Candidate.