Meet some of the people you will find in the library

The University of Winnipeg Library is the heart of the campus, providing vibrant spaces and resources for students, faculty, and community members to pursue their academic goals. The library is a vital component in supporting academic excellence, student diversity, access and an outstanding student experience. These are some of the people you meet in your neigbourhood library.

Nashit Farooqui

Nashit Farooqui

Nashit Farooqui is one of the Public Services Assistants. You can find her at Library Reception and in Circulation Services, answering your questions and helping you find what you need. She enjoys meeting people and helping them with their needs. Farooqui believes students are the future of Canada, and advises them to be kind and productive to make this country and the rest of the world more prosperous.

Her favourite spot on campus is outside of Wesley Hall, which reminds her of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. She finds her favourite lunch/snack on or around campus at student bake sales, including goodies like cookies and samosas. When she is not on campus you are most likely to find her in her kitchen.

Something that surprises people about Farooqui is that she is not from India. Her favourite movie is Slum Dog Millionaire; her favourite book is the Quran; her favourite word is “knowledge”.




Paul Friesen

Paul Friesen

Paul Friesen is the Library’s Circulation and Shelving Assistant. You can find him all over the library, and he is very good at helping people find what they need. He enjoys working in an environment that abounds in people whose principle interest is in some way related to the attainment of greater knowledge, not to mention epistemology.

In his own time, Friesen enjoys spoken word. “But only because I can’t resist subjecting hearsay to wordplay. Can’t wait for Class Acts to happen again, Neil!” he adds, in a shout out to the University’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic and International and vocal powerhouse, Dr. Neil Besner.

Friesen’s advice to students is, “Be respectful and AWARE of others around you, if you want to be taken seriously (& don’t let anyone disrespect YOU). Corollarily, KNOW YOUR INSTRUCTORS’ NAMES!!!”

His list of favourite spots on campus includes the Spence Promenade near Sparling and Graham Hall. There you can find him snapping photos of flora, fauna, or celestia. He “reluctantly confesses” his go-to favourite lunch or snack on campus is a “Snickers bar (with huevos rancheros a close segundo.)”

When he is not on campus you can find him “hangin’ at my sons’ communal home, exploring the outlines of infinite dimensions/universes (or at home, cursing the limits of my PVR).”

His favourite movie is 2001: A Space Odyssey; his favourite book is “Finnegan’s Wake. Oh… do you mean that I’ve actually read?? Snow Crash.” As for his Netflix preferences, he says “There’s nothing in that house of cards at the moment.”

As for his favourite word, Friesen says “’Sesquipedalienation’. (But my safe word is ‘neologism.’)”

Alan Jason Gershuny

Alan Jason Gershuny

Alan Jason Gershuny has two roles at the UWinnipeg Library. He is the Shelving & Equipment Supervisor and Assistant Circulation Supervisor. As Shelving & Equipment Supervisor he oversees and coordinates the maintenance of the Library collection/stacks and equipment. Gershuny likes interacting with a new crop of students each year, and shares, “That — more than anything — keeps me young.”

His advice for students is “There are no stupid questions, just sometimes stupid answers!”

Gershuny’s favorite spot on campus is the Library Staff Room, where he gets the chance to kick off his shoes and “veg out” for a while. His favourite lunch/snack on campus is huevos rancheros (green chili in) from Diversity.

When he is not on campus you can find him at Long Island Café having Spicy Won Ton Soup or some other variety of café owner Andy’s  home-made soup. In addition to his library skills, Gershuny can also teach the art of Origami. In fact, he was the first Canadian instructor to be granted status by the American Origami Society.

His favourite movie is Jesus Christ Superstar; his favourite book is Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. His favourite word is “indubitably”, which he says is “undoubtedly my favourite word.”

Daniel Richard Eric Matthes

Daniel Richard Eric Matthes

Daniel Richard Eric Matthes is an Archives Technician.  He processes archival records and helps researchers who need to access the UWinnipeg collections. Matthes has a fascination with the sensual materials of archives – the smell of old books, the feeling of old paper, the colours of old photographs.  “If I couldn’t indulge those senses at work every day, I’d probably be breaking into attics,” he says.

Matthes’ recalls advice given to him as a student and offers his own, “I got a lot of platitudes in university about studying what you love, not needing a plan, and the abstract worth of education.  Looking back, they were amazingly unhelpful. Just pick something useful and get really, really good at it.”

His favourite spot on campus is the The King Memorial Window — the stained glass rose window in Bryce Hall. He says it lifts his spirits when the world seems noisy or ugly, and describes it as sublime. As for his favourite lunch/snack on or around campus, he says “A glass of wine at Stella’s. Although, because there is no clause in the Collective Agreement about siestas, I always regret it.”

If Matthes is not on campus, he claims he cannot be found, saying “I hide in my secret lair with my budgies.” And in spite of his self-described  somewhat bookish appearance, he is very handy and enjoys the “fun” of carpentry and house renovations for fun.

He says his favourite movie is, “Anything by the Coen Brothers,” and he currently he is watching “The elegant snobbery of Hercule Poirot” on Netflix. His favourite book is The Silmarillion by Tolkien, which he described as “the nerd bible.” He says he has a favourite word, but it can’t be shared for his fear of termination from his archival post.

Jacqueline Victoria Mikolash

Jacqueline Victoria Mikolash with her family + namesake Saint Nicholas

Jacqueline Victoria Mikolash is the Reference Supervisor in the Library and the Information Literacy Specialist. She has worked in most departments in the Library and currently helps students do their research by using the Library’s resources.

You will find Mikolash at the Reference Desk, or giving presentations in a classroom. She also participates in UWinnipeg’s Open Houses and Student Orientations. She enjoys doing research, promoting all of UWinnipeg’s great resources and helping students use the Library’s resources.

Mikolash’s key advise for students is, “Don’t hesitate to  ask Library staff for help!  We have many staff that can assist you. And like me, many of us in the Library were students at The University of Winnipeg or at other universities so we know what it is like to be a student and can offer first-hand advice!”

What people might not know is the meaning of her last name. “Mikolash actually means Santa Clause. It is from the Czech Svate Mikulas, or Saint Nicholas,” explains Mikolash.

Her favourite spot on campus, “You guessed it … The Library!,” says Mikolash. Her favourite lunch/snack is anything Club Manager Tracey Hilderman makes at the University Club, her favourite book is “anything Sherlock Holmes!”, and her favourite movies are Star Wars and Back to the Future (and lucky for her, they are both back in theatres this year!)

Ebony Novakowski

Ebony Novakowski

Ebony Novakowski is the Copyright Assistant on campus. She supports the Copyright and Scholarly Communications Librarian, and addresses copyright questions or concerns from staff, faculty and students. She also assists the Copyright Office by seeking out copyright violations and working with individuals to obtain information while adhering to copyright guidelines and university policy. She says she enjoys working with people and answering their questions.

Her advice for students is, “Cite images you use. Be it in your assignments and presentations, or on a personal blog, images found online or offline are often copyrighted material. Most students quickly learn the value of citing text sources they use in their work; image sources equally require citations.” She also advises students to always seek permission to use an image, and says you can find more information on UWinnipeg’s Copyright Website.

Her favourite spot on campus is The Malecon, “That is my hang out spot on campus. It’s a positive space with an accommodating staff.” Her favourite lunch/snack on or around campus is the Koopa Square made in house by Diversity Food Services, “It is my go to snack when I need a chocolate fix to get me through the day. If you haven’t tried it, the next time you’re in need of sugar I would highly suggest picking one up.”

When she is not on campus you can find her volunteering as Communications Coordinator for the Manitoba Association of Library Technicians — a professional association that provides information and workshops to the Manitoba Library community — by managing their web site and social media needs.

And if you see her in the library you might want to congratulate her: she recently got married to her lovely wife this past September!

Novakowski is currently watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. When asked about her favourite book, she says, “I feel working in a library your favourite book should be something profoundly obscure or unique, but to be honest regardless of what I read I’ll always have a soft spot for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobeby C. S. Lewis.” Her favourite word is “persnickety”.

Sydney Weidman

Sydney Weidman

Sydney Weidman is the Library Systems Supervisor. He ensures that the library’s information systems are equipped to provide members of the University community with access to the research from all over the world.

“It’s great to be a part of this global sharing of ideas and tools,” expresses Weidman. “Open source software makes it possible to share ideas in programming code. A lot of what the library does involves free and open source software.”

Weidman’s advice to students is “Never, never, never, never, never give up.”

When on campus, Weidman favours any seat by the 4th and 5th floor windows where he can enjoy great views on clear days. When he is not on campus, you can find him watching his son play hockey.

What might not be common knowledge is Weidman   was a punker in his previous life.  “I played in a punk band in the mid-eighties, I have a BA in Philosophy but never took a course in moral philosophy. I think that’s why I’m so eeeeeviillll,” he adds jokingly. Another fact about him that may not be well known is that he has Parkinson’s Disease.

His favourite movies are Harold and Maude, Brazil, Straight Story, AI, Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, and anything by the Coen brothers. As for his current Netflix fix, he says he is exclusively watching Breaking Bad. His favourite book is either Fear and Trembling by Kierkegaard, or The Last Man and the End of History by Francis Fukuyama. Weidman’s favourite word is “compassion”.

All photos courtesy of UWinnipeg, Naniece Ibrahim


Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7130, E:

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  • James Currie said...

    Loved this. Great to know more about our University community

  • Lisa McLean said...

    Nicely done!

  • Pat Moodie said...

    Thanks for this! Nice to be able to attach names to the great library staff who have been so helpful to me over the years.

  • Steven Kohm said...

    Great idea, and an entertaining read!