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UNB congratulates and bids farewell to one of its champions

Author: Communications

Posted on Jun 30, 2014

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

After advancing the University of New Brunswick to be at the forefront of Canadian academic libraries, John Teskey accepts his final award as director of libraries before leaving UNB as he heads into retirement.John Teskey was recently recognized for his contributions to the Canadian research libraries community

Recently, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) honoured Teskey with its Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship in recognition of his numerous achievements and contributions to the Canadian research library community.  

In 1991 Teskey came to UNB from Alberta with his wife Terry and children David, Genea, and Taisha.  Throughout his career John pushed the boundaries of conventional wisdom, challenging assumptions about how libraries should deliver services, and emphasizing the benefits of technological solutions.

Powered by the digital revolution, Teskey not only guided the university through the transformation of university library collections, services, and facilities, but he pushed it to be among the best.

His bold vision has produced impressive results: UNB had one of the first library websites in the country; in 1997, had the only library, other than the University of Toronto, to offer electronic access to all Elsevier journals; and had the first library-based humanities computing centre in Canada, the second only in North America.   From a low of 4,800 journal subscriptions in 1997, UNB Libraries now offer access to 35,000 print and electronic journal titles.  Over 750,000 eBooks are now available through the library catalogue in addition to the print monograph acquisitions.

The physical manifestation of Teskey’s vision is the John B McNair Learning Commons at the Harriet Irving Library—a centre of intellectual life at UNB Fredericton. 

“Our libraries consistently rank among the top in Canada on Maclean’s and Globe and Mail educational rankings,” said Tony Secco, UNB vice-president (academic) for Fredericton. “This success is grounded in John’s student-focused approach to library services and space. He is one of the very best in the business.” 

During his time at UNB, Teskey served as president of the Canadian Library Association (CLA), the Atlantic Provinces Library Association (APLA), CARL, and Canadiana.org.  He also held a seat on the boards of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, Canadian Science Publishing, as well as several other advisory boards. In 2009, he was awarded the President’s Medal at UNB for his service to the university community.

“The thing I liked most about my career at UNB was the freedom I had to try new initiatives, to see new services initiated and become truly successful,” said Teskey.

A truly well-rounded individual with a wide range of interests, John’s passions include music, the visual arts, travel, home renovations, and entertaining at home.  

Teskey says retirement is a work that each of us will have to interpret for ourselves.  

“I am waiting for the retirement 101 session promised by former president, John McLaughlin. I know I will appreciate learning from his experience.  My plan at the moment is to become a guitar builder.  I will be spending two weeks in a shop in Vermont in October; guess I will either love it, or have to find a plan B.”

“I have been blessed with a staff who have brought ideas to life. I have a lot of people to be thankful for. My partner Terry has supported me for more years than I am willing to list and has followed me across Canada to our various stops, but as she was born in Campbellton, she claims she just brought me home.”

Teskey came to UNB from the West coast and has become a champion of the East, a champion of New Brunswick, and an enthusiastic champion of UNB. He is not only well-respected but well-liked and will be missed when he moves on to the next chapter of his life.

The Distinguished Service to Research Librarianship Award is conferred annually to an individual at a CARL institution who has made a substantial contribution to research librarianship at the local, national or international level.

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