Student Spotlight: Ariel Ching Pan at the Marvin Duchow Music Library

Student employment in the McGill Library benefits the entire McGill community. At 100+ strong this academic year, McGill Library student workers gain valuable work experience while engaging in academic pursuits.  Student navigators, curatorial interns, special project assistants and student researchers bring an immeasurable amount to the life and culture of the Library. Over the next few weeks, Library Matters will share testimonials from library student workers, many of whom come to us through programs like McGill’s Work Study Program and are supported by students societies and associations like the SSMU Library Improvement Fund (LIF), the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), the McGill Music Undergraduate Student Association (MUSA) and Post Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS). Thank you to all our student workers – your hard work and dedication mean the world to the Library and McGill!

Ariel Pan smiling at the camera sitting at a desk in the Marvin Duchow Music Library.

Ariel Ching Pan is finishing her final semester of music education at the Schulich School of Music, having previously completed a degree in music before joining the education program. Ariel works at the Marvin Duchow Music Library.

Library Matters (LM): What made you want to apply to work for the library?

Ariel Ching Pan (ACP): I applied to work at the Marvin Duchow Music Library because I volunteered in my high school library and wanted to continue this work in university. I’ve since worked at the MDML for six years.

LM: What do you like about working at the Library?

ACP: Most of my work is focused on score processing, or making an item “shelf-ready” with binders, folders, labels, etc. I love this part of my job, because there’s a huge hands-on arts-and-crafts component combined with a detailed perusal of the item’s record in the catalogue. While I enjoy how score processing is mostly autonomous work, I also enjoy the moments where my colleagues and I reconnect and discuss what we can change about our procedures – there’s a great deal of trust in the team, which I’m grateful for.

LM: What surprised you the most about working at the Library?

ACP: I was initially surprised about how intertwined the library is with the rhythm of the Schulich School of Music. I’ve had a chance to witness and participate in some of the preparation that happens for each new semester, for specific classes, for undergrads, for grads, for McGill projects, for Schulich School of Music projects … it’s endless! But it also goes to show how library can, and should, be accessed and utilized by all members of the community.

LM: Any “Aha!” moments or takeaways from the experience?

ACP: I always have a eureka moment when I find a specific item that someone is looking for, either by searching through the shelves or narrowing in on the catalogue. It’s really satisfying to see how the combination of evolving technology and a human touch can support a person’s research. It’s also nice to see how far my understanding and navigation of the library has come since my first year working here, and this skill has helped me tremendously in my studies.

LM: Coolest, oddest, most interesting things you have come across/experienced?

ACP: It was super cool when I first started processing scores to see something go from its initial cataloguing stages to binding and then to shelving. Even today, I love receiving a new score and seeing its journey all the way through to circulation. It shows that the library is growing, and there’s more and more music being written.

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