Member Spotlight


Irma Sauvola BSc MLIS DPA – OHLA Past President 2016

First Professional Position:

Adult Services Librarian at the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library.

Current Position:

Library Supervisor, Health Sciences North | Horizon Santé-Nord in Sudbury, Ontario.


Master of Library and Information Science degree and a Diploma in Public Administration from Western University.  Honours Bachelor of Science from Laurentian University.

Could you describe a little bit about yourself?

I am a Northern Ontarian and consider myself to have been very fortunate to have a career in libraries in Northern Ontario.  Before “re-potting” myself into the field of health librarianship, I was a librarian in public libraries for over twenty years – What a way to recharge your batteries!

What was the biggest accomplishment in this position?

Conquering the fear of the unknown.  Lesson learned: The change from public to health librarianship was not as big a leap as one might think because most library skills are transferable; and, people are still people no matter where you go.

What is most rewarding about your present job?

Going to work each day with a fantastic group of people – it would not be as fun and rewarding if they were not there.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a Librarian?

If I were not a librarian I would be a researcher or a professional student – probably both.

What do you think is the most Interesting Issue in librarianship today?

Interesting issue in librarianship… the changing of the guard.  Where are we going?

Are you involved in other associations?

I have been a member of the Ontario Library Association since my grad days at Western (OPLA and OLITA divisions), and a current member of CHLA.  I was the President of Northern Lights Health Library Association (a CHLA Chapter).  Currently, I am in the third year of my three commitment to the OHLA’s Executive Committee (President- Elect > President > Past-President).

Is there anything about you that others might be surprised to know?

I have been working in the field of librarianship for over 25 years and I did not become a librarian because ‘I love to read’, or own a cat (Really, I do not have a cat).  I became a librarian because during my undergraduate studies I discovered that I really enjoyed the challenge of searching, locating and retrieving information/data.  This was before the internet so one would spend hours scanning the print indexes and abstracts – Quite satisfying when that eureka moment occurs.

What advice would you give to new librarians?

Be respectful, be receptive, be brave and don’t forget where we’ve (libraries) come from – no one knows where libraries will be in ten, five, heck even one year from today. And…

If you are not enjoying what you are doing, or are in need of recharging – “repot” yourself!

“Repotting, that’s how you get new bloom … you should have a plan of accomplishment and when that is achieved you should be willing to start off again.” Ernie Arbuckle, 1968.