British Columbia Library Association

‘I admired his commitment to values, even if his politics made other people uncomfortable’

By Tara Robertson
Tara Robertson and Brian Campbell at the 2015 BC Library Conference, where Campbell was the recipient of the CLA's Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada Award.

Tara Robertson and Brian Campbell at the 2016 BC Library Conference.

I met Brian Campbell in 2004 when I was working as his administrative assistant at Vancouver Public Library. When I left VPL to go to library school Brian agreed to be my mentor. Annette DeFaveri partly joked that I was Brian’s first grad student, and that was true—I learned more from debating issues with him than I did in library school.

There are many things I admired about Brian. I admired his commitment to values, even if his politics made other people uncomfortable. I admired Brian’s service ethic. He was passionate about advocating for libraries and information policy issues and would show up at meetings, write detailed and thoughtful letters to politicians, and push libraries and library associations to publically take a stand on broader social issues like net neutrality, lawful access, and free trade deals. I admired Brian’s intellectual curiosity and rigor. I now know that it’s not possible to intellectually argue with all of your bosses and have them be okay with that. Also, I liked that Brian rode his bike to work.


Tara Robertson is an Accessibility Librarian at the Centre for Accessible Post-secondary Education Resources (CAPER-BC).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *