Signed, Sealed and Delivered: In Conversation with Emilie Ducharme

 Emilie Ducharme

Photo: Mailroom Resource Assistant Emilie Ducharme

How much mail do you process in a typical work week?

I process hundreds of pieces every day. Letter mail, serials, and newspapers are delivered every morning along with books for interlibrary loans, new books, and donations. I also send out the library mail, and package books and arrange shipping for interlibrary loans.

What is the most unusual delivery item that you have received?

A piano.

How long have you worked at UVic Libraries, and in the mailroom?

I have worked in the Libraries for four years, and in the mailroom for the last three years. I spent the first year in stacks and fell in love with the Libraries and the amazing people who work here. The first time I visited the mailroom I thought that it would be such a fun place to work, so when the opportunity came up I jumped on it! I joined the Technical Support Unit (TSU), started working in the mailroom, and have been enjoying it ever since!

Besides managing shipping and receiving, where else can we find you in the library?

I spend most of my day looking after the mailroom, but as a member of the TSU, I have a number of different duties: staffing the help desk is one of them, but also helping with room setups and account reconciliation. I can also serve as a backup at the loan desk senior staff station, and perform all opening procedures, given that I start at 7 a.m. every morning.

The mailroom is the engine that makes the library work; during the pandemic you have been processing deliveries and the incoming mail. What does it feel like to be in the Mearns – McPherson Library without students?

It is definitely strange and eerily quiet. In a way it is nice to enjoy the peacefulness, but at the same time it makes you realize that the true meaning of our work is in the bustling activity that takes place in the library.

Without students, the library feels like a theatre stage just before the doors open and the public comes in: everything is ready and there is a feeling of expectation and excitement for what's to come!

There have been stair climbing challenges at work over the last few years. One year you won it. On average, how many flights of stairs do you climb every day? How do you stay physically fit outside the office?

The Stairs Challenge official records show that I climbed 1,057 flights of stairs in a month - really, it is not so difficult to accomplish when you have to visit every floor of the building multiple times a day! At the time of the challenge I was training for a triathlon so all that extra exercise was welcome, but on an average day I will take the elevator if I am delivering heavy or bulky items. We are lucky to have two different stairwells filled with natural light, so taking the stairs feels more like a welcome break from the computer than an exercise chore!

When the library reopens after the closure, what’s the first thing you will do when you see colleagues?

I will bake a big batch of hot cross buns to share with everybody!