Meet the Local History Librarian – Eva Saether, Oshawa Public Library

Up next is Eva Saether, Local History and Genealogy Librarian for the Oshawa Public Library.

SaetherPic2015What do you do at Oshawa Public Libraries?

I am the Local History and Genealogy Librarian for Oshawa Public Libraries. The purpose of the local history collection is to collect, maintain, and provide access to researchers and the general public print material and online resources that pertain to the heritage of Oshawa.

Why did you choose this career?

I enjoy helping people with their library needs as well as independent research. My position provides both. Library work is a natural extension of who I am. As a child, I attended story times and book talks in a library branch in east Toronto. I not only developed a love for books but a strong desire to do the librarian’s work! I spent hours following the librarian around asking her to give me tasks to help her – sharpening pencils, straightening books, to the point of being a complete nuisance! I began working in the library as a student page, and the rest, as they say is history…

What is your favourite part of your job?

Helping people with their family research. I provide one-on-one tutorials teaching people how to access and use library resources. I also provide seminars on genealogy and local history as they pertain to Oshawa Public Libraries’ collections and resources.

The local history collection with its focus on historical information about Oshawa, and materials by and about the people of Oshawa, contributes significantly to the historical, educational, and community-building work of the public library.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job? Many people search for information about their home.  This, however, can be difficult and frustrating. The reward is the discovery of a fascinating event, such as a wedding that took place in a home in the 1920s.  The local paper sometimes covered these event with photos of the interior of the home.

 How did you get into the field?

I worked as a public service clerk at the Oshawa Public Libraries when I made the decision to attend the Information Studies program at the University of Toronto.  After completing my Master’s Degree, I returned to the Library, and shortly thereafter, a librarian position became available.  I applied and became the Local History and Genealogy Librarian.

What is your favourite memory of the library?

My discovery of the vast and unique local history collection, from books and pamphlets, to slides, photos, and 16 mm films.

 Do you have a favourite artifact/ collection?

The photographic collection pertaining to Robert Samuel McLaughlin.  The collections, McLaughlin: Remembering the Legacy and Heritage Collection: Oshawa Images, can be found on the Oshawa Public Libraries’ website. Taken together, these photographs tell an extraordinary story of this remarkable man.


About durhamregionareaarchivesgroup

DRAAG is the professional group for archives and repositories of the local history of Durham Region and surrounding areas.
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