Employee Feature — Brian Scott

Note: The Brock Employee Feature is a Q&A-style series that aims to highlight those who contribute to the University’s positive working environment and make a difference in the campus community. The full series is available on The Brock News. Employees interested in being featured are asked to fill out an online form.

Brian Scott loves a good walk in the woods to clear his mind.

It’s one of the reasons why the Senior Loan Services Assistant/Reference Assistant with the Brock University Library enjoys working at Brock.

“Having the opportunity to step out at lunch to take a walk along the trails near campus is an amazing perk of the job,” says Scott, who has been in his role at Brock for three years.

In addition to working at a university located within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the nature lover also lives a few minutes’ walk to a large network of trails that spreads out around Brock’s campus and beyond. He has been hiking, running or walking dogs almost daily along the escarpment for more than a decade, and can be often found hiking with his family at popular Niagara nature spots, such as Ball’s Falls and Short Hills Provincial Park.

Which department do you work for?

I am part of Brock University Library’s User Services and Engagement (USE) department, which is often the first line of contact for students, staff, faculty and community members who wish to access the Brock Library’s many different resources. We are heavily invested in student success and strive to provide the resources, tools and spaces necessary for our patrons to succeed in their endeavours.

In addition to in-person service at the Ask Us Desk, the USE team provides digital lending services, such as interlibrary loan, in-house scanning of book chapters, and course reading services for professors and instructors.

While the Brock Library is primarily a place to access academic resources, we also lend technology equipment, games, day passes to Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority areas, and even seeds.

The library provides a refuge for students who wish to study quietly, meet in small groups or use one of our computer workstations.

A man sits with a small child on a log in the snow-covered woods.

Brian Scott with his son Levi, then two years old, taking a break from a winter hike on the Niagara Escarpment.

What does your role involve and what do you like about it?

I have a wide-ranging role and every day is a little different. I set up course readings for professors who wish to put their readings for the term online. This involves finding readings from many different sources and verifying copyright compliance for the readings we post. I also assist with interlibrary loans, searching outside the institution to find physical and digital resources for our patrons. Sourcing these resources often requires a little detective work and creative problem-solving, which I love. I also assist with operational tasks, such as helping to develop work schedules each term, improving existing workflows and creating new workflows as our service model evolves. I am also lucky to be involved in a couple of great partnerships — the Seed Library, which is a partnership with the Brock University Project Charter, and the NaturePlus Library program that lends day passes granting access to Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority nature areas.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is helping patrons and my colleagues. I enjoy knowing that I play a role (however small) in the success of our students and faculty in their academic careers. I am fortunate to work with my library colleagues, so many of whom go above and beyond to help both our patrons and each other. I am grateful to everyone in the library for their help and good humour. I have also developed rewarding relationships with professors and staff across many different departments in the University.

What was your first job ever?

My first job was working as a computer tech/repair person at my high school when I was 16. I was obsessed with computers and technology, and I somehow managed to land a job working every day after school to repair and upgrade the school’s computers. The job taught me a lot about solving problems and also provided me with a window into the professional lives of the teachers there.

How would others describe you? What are you known for?

I hope others might see me as thoughtful, dependable and loyal. I am best known to my children for fixing things, and best known to my wife for taking forever to fix those things. I am told I make good waffles and homemade bread.

Two adults and two children kneel on a dirt path flanked by dried, tall grasses. Their pet, a tall white dog, stands beside them.

Brian Scott, right, with his family on a hike in Niagara. From left, daughter Amity, wife Mariek Schmidt, son Levi and dog Yuki.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I worked for a few years at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington, DC. I worked in the archive and provided production assistance on a few Smithsonian Folkways Recordings releases.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy sharing my love of nature with my family by going on hikes along the Niagara escarpment. We take the time to observe and learn about the different plants, trees and animals the escarpment has to offer. Every season has its own unique beauty in the woods, and I never tire of observing the nature around me. I am also a self-taught banjo and fiddle player, and I can often be found playing the banjo on my back deck. I have been slowly teaching myself to play the piano as well. Playing music is a nice escape for me.

What do you do for self-care to maintain positive mental health?

I like to laugh a lot and try to smile often. I enjoy doing random, silly things for the amusement of my children and wife. I also go for hikes and play music.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance? 

At the end of the day, I simply ‘turn off’ from work completely. That is the time to focus on myself and my family.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my family. I am lucky to be married to a woman (Mariek Schmidt) who is both an amazing mother and an outstanding professor and researcher here at Brock in the field of planetary science. She has done some amazing Mars research over the past 16 years across three separate NASA missions. She has so much on her plate, and she succeeds with grace and humility. I am proud to be her husband. My daughter Amity, 8, and son Levi, 4, are developing into wonderful people who play, read, explore and inquire. Their exuberance for life and learning is boundless. I am proud to be their dad.

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