2014 UBC iSchool (SLAIS) MLIS Co-op Student of the Year


Each year, the Arts Co-op Program recognizes a UBC iSchool (SLAIS) MLIS co-op student for outstanding achievement in all aspects of student performance including academics, workplace, and contribution to co-operative education and extra-curricular activities. This year’s winner, Krystyna Nowak, was honoured for her work term with BGC Engineering, where her supervisor Jocelyn Hallman described her as demonstrating “initiative, creativity, innovation, and leadership”, and even inspiring Jocelyn herself to a “higher standard of librarianship.”

Krystyna’s outstanding grades, commitment to personal, academic and career development, and her outstanding performance evaluation by her supervisor, Jocelyn, illustrate why she deserves the distinction of UBC iSchool (SLAIS) MLIS Co-op Student of the Year.

Excellence in the Workplace

As the Student Librarian at BGC Engineering, Krystyna’s responsibilities ranged from delivering in-depth research and research analysis services to BGC employees, providing new employees with orientation to the library, and completing an entire redesign of the library’s intranet site. For the last portion of her term, Krystyna served as the primary library contact, where she tracked and recorded statistics, handled all reference and interlibrary loan requests, and started a small collection development project.

Krystyna’s main project throughout her term was the redesign and development of the library’s intranet site using SharePoint 2013. In order to complete this project, Krystyna considered how employees used the site, and tried to create content that met their needs. She did so by planning and coordinating focus groups, organizing and coordinating in-person and online card sorts, conducting first-click usability testing, and gathering informal input through conversations. Jocelyn said that Krystyna’s “positive, productive and efficient contact with the engineers and scientists contributed to the development of a culture more open to consultation and use-centred design”, and a very well-used website.

Her time at BGC Engineering allowed Krystyna to apply knowledge and skills gained at the iSchool@UBC to the workplace, and enhance her understanding of the work that corporate and geoscience librarians do. Krystyna’s ability to take initiative developed a great deal during her time in this role, as she was solely responsible for completing the website redesign and readily accepted the responsibility of serving as the primary library contact for the end of her work term.

Prior to her experience at BGC Engineering, Krystyna had an interest in special libraries. After completing her work term, she knows more about the types of skills that are valuable in that environment, and hopes to continue to develop these skills in the future. One piece of advice that she gives to current MLIS students to increase professional development and broaden their range of experiences is to “apply to jobs that will force you to learn new things, and have confidence in your current abilities and your ability to develop new skills.”