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Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me?

.: It was 01h05 on 28 June 1953 that I made my first appearance on Planet Earth. Today I turn 64, a number at this point in time in my life I find difficult to process. I don’t know what it means to be 64. It just is, I suppose.

But this particular birthday falls two days before I retire, and falls on the same day as my retirement party – a double whammy, as it were. Later today over 130 friends, family, and colleagues will help me celebrate my (almost) 34 years of service to the University of Alberta Libraries (UAL). Predictably, I am anxious and nervous about the event, at which a number of friends and colleagues will speak, ending with a few words from me.

I haven’t prepared a speech, one from which I would read on paper. Instead, I’ve made a few notes to remind myself what to actually say at that moment. It will end with a few quick selfies of me and the very eclectic crowd of supporters who will be there. Then on Friday, the Faculty of Engineering is hosting a coffee party for me as well. I am very grateful to my colleagues in the Science & Technology Library and the Faculty of Engineering.

I think the hardest part this week will be on Friday afternoon when I turn in my keys, take the nameplate off my door, and say a final goodbye to my colleagues. I won’t be disappearing, however, as I plan to return when the new librarian replacing me starts her position. I want to introduce her to as many Engineering faculty members as possible, show her where my instructional materials are housed online, discuss the little quirks of the job, identify important contacts in the industry, and so on.

I don’t know how I’m going to feel after I leave. Those who have left before me describe the first few weeks as feeling like you are on holidays. Eventually it will sink in, that I am never going back to my old job again. Suddenly all this free time will be upon me. But I leave my life as an engineering librarian grateful for a number of things: a great boss and colleagues in the Science & Technology Library and the UAL as a whole, a love of what I do – helping and instructing students and faculty on how to find resources needed for their research, and how welcoming and accepting the Faculty of Engineering professors and students and staff have been to me over the past few decades. I am a lucky man.

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