Ciara Healy: Librarian and Carolina Rollergirl

This post begins our new brand series of interviews with professional librarians who inspire, in and out of the library. Thanks to Ciara Healy, Librarian for Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, for agreeing to be first! 

Tell us about yourself!

I am the librarian for Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University though I have had a varied library career, working mostly at public universities and community college libraries in the Midwest and in the South. I have been a cataloger, a school library media specialist (uncertified), a media librarian and an instruction librarian, to name a few. I would also love to live and work abroad.

How did you become a librarian?

I went to library school to become a librarian. I never worked a day in my life in a library before I went to library school and only in my last semester did I volunteer at a library as a practicum project.  I was a philosopher before I went to library school at the University of Illinois through their LEEP program. When I was in grad school to be a philosopher a professor came into our offices and said, “The philosophy librarian has some money left over and so if you have any purchase recommendations for the collection, let me know.” I was deeply moved by the utterance “philosophy librarian” and even though it was years before I went to library school, I felt the deep conviction to become a librarian for the first time that day. It also helped my library career that I didn’t finish my dissertation in philosophy.

What do you like best about your work as a librarian?

I like best working with researchers. I find the subject fascinating and the work rewarding. For instance, I was recently asked by a researcher to help find videos on You Tube showing marijuana use by groups and also videos of paraphernalia. The videos would serve as cues for subjects in experiments on addiction.  I spent a very productive afternoon doing searches on You Tube for the following: “bongs OR vaporizers”, “smoking dope in an alley”, “high and video games” and “sticky buds”.

How did you get involved in roller derby?

I saw a poster for try-outs in a Durham cafe. My sister was with me and we decided to both go to the skills bootcamp and practice our skating skills until the day of try outs. We both did – I made it but my sister did not. That was in July 2011.  I have just passed my one year “derbeyversary” and am finally good enough to start skating in bouts for the Carolina Rollergirls’ B team, the Bootleggers. I train three or four days a week either at a league practice or speed skating and the team is very competitive, so getting to skate in a bout against another league is a big deal. I cross train with yoga. It is a full contact sport with a lot of strategy and skating skill involved. It is also super fun to play! It looks really fast and crazy and dangerous – which it definitely is –  but learning to play is a lot about safety and learning to take hits and falls and keep on skating. Here is my skater profile: http://www.carolinarollergirls.com/?skater=scaristotle

What do you like best about being involved in roller derby and the Carolina Rollergirls?

I like the fitness aspect. I have to say, as one of the older players on the team, I am in the best shape of my adult life thanks to derby. I also like the competitive aspect – I love to win, and that really motivates me to practice. I have a hard time sticking with other kinds of work outs without the competitive aspect. I like to win at yoga, too. I also appreciate having such an engaging group of women to socialize with. Check out our site and come to a bout! We also need and appreciate volunteers 🙂 www.carolinarollergirls.com

Do you have any other hobbies?

Unsurprisingly, I like to read. Also I like audio books and I like to knit, though I am not a very accomplished knitter. I also meditate, but that is for sanity, not for fun. And meditating is way harder than derby.

What advice would you give to current library students?

When I was graduating from library school, I was told this:  “You can have the job you want. You can have the salary you want.  You can live in the place you want… And you get to pick only two of those three when accepting a library job.”  I have been a librarian for less than 10 years and have had at least 4 library jobs in different cities and states and my job descriptions have been different every time. I have moved cities, I have moved jobs within a library, I have moved from state to state and I am willing to do it again. I know not everyone is in the position to do this, but with three library schools in a two-hour proximity, I’d encourage new librarians in the Triangle to think broadly and be bold in their librarianship to get the jobs that they want. Maybe you think you can’t do it. Try.

Currently reading:

I am currently reading Stephen Fry’s autobiography The Fry Chronicles. I am currently listening to Neal Stephenson’s novel Odalisque. I am currently watching The Good Wife on DVD. I am also currently streaming You Tube videos about knitting short rows. At work, I am listening to Last.fm’s online radio station polarlicht.  I am downloading some images from Flickr’s Creative Commons.  Later, my iPad will serve as a remote and mirror to my TV so I can watch derby bouts online on a bigger screen. I am also chatting online with three people – one library colleague (talking about alt metrics and citation managers for an upcoming presentation), one teammate (about the upcoming bout – what wheels to bring to skate on concrete) and a friend from Wisconsin (should I go to Sweden with her over break?)


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