People of Georgian: Library technician finds satisfaction in helping students succeed

To highlight some of Georgian College’s 130+ programs, we’re re-sharing some of our past People of Georgian features of alumni throughout the month of May. Meet Jana Bickell, an alumna of Georgian’s Business – Accounting (class of 1989) and Library Technician (class of 1994) programs.

What’s your story?

The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

People of Georgian: Meet Jana Bickell

I started working as a high school student at the Orillia Public Library, and my manager there told me Georgian was hiring in the library. That was in August 1989.

At the time, the manager at Georgian was Jean Cornett. I gave her my resume and we had a little chat, and she said, “Can you start in two weeks?” I didn’t even realize that was the interview.

A person, pictured from the shoulders up, smiles in front of trees with green leaves.

I started there as a part-time circulation clerk. I had just finished my Business – Accounting diploma at Georgian.

Jean had mentioned if I wanted to eventually get a full-time position at the Georgian Library I should probably take the Library Technician diploma program.

‘It is very satisfying when the students are successful’

I completed that part time also through Georgian and was ready for a full-time opportunity to open up.

In 2021, I got my 30-year letter of recognition for working at Georgian’s Orillia Campus.

I really enjoy working at Georgian and being involved with student success – being able to support the students when they come into the library and online.

It is very satisfying when the students are successful and being able to be any part of that, to see how they develop throughout their time at Georgian.

When we’re able to be on campus and because we’re a smaller campus, we get to know the students and they come in for a chat.

Sometimes they don’t even ask me research or library questions; they ask “How’s your day going?” It’s nice connecting with them.

‘I’m passionate about education’

Many people think working at a library is boring. “Oh, all you do is check in and out books.”

But actually it’s not, there is much more to it. It provides a diverse range of duties, as we’re always learning and developing new skills.

I’m passionate about education at Georgian and in my home community.

I am a member of Rama First Nation. I’m a committee member on Rama’s Community Education Governing Circle, which encompasses all the education and programming for the community, from Early Childhood Education, to seniors.

Three people stand with their arms around each other's backs outside on green grass near trees and a building.
Jana is also proud of her kids, who are both Georgian graduates. Dillon took Civil Engineering Technology. Arlana took Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant and Therapeutic Recreation.

I subscribe to a few different education, scholarship and bursary programs that share resources for Indigenous students, which I share with the community.

It is an honour assisting not only students but community members as well to be successful. It’s very rewarding, and I value being involved.

Jana Bickell, Library Technician at Georgian’s Orillia Campus library. Jana’s also a two-time Georgian alumnus: Business Accounting (class of 1989) and Library Technician (class of 1994).

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