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Library Faces: Malcolm

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Today's post comes to Slice of Calgary from one of our resident Eco-Action bloggers, Shannon C. Enjoy!

Growing up in Taber, Alberta, Malcolm Lim started playing violin and piano at age six. Three years later, when he was given the choice of instrument to learn at school, he made a beeline for the drums and never looked back.

Fast-forward a few decades and that continuing passion for percussion has offered Malcolm a busy life in the somewhat rarefied career path of working musician. His studies and his teaching have taken him around the world from Calgary to Colorado, California, New York City and Brazil.

These days Malcolm teaches percussion at Mount Royal University’s Conservatory of Music, is co-director, along with wife Barbara Oliveira-Lim, of the Calgary School of Samba and he’s CEO of Rhythm Mastery, an organization that provides team based collaborative problem solving and leadership programs. According to Lim, “you can fire up more cylinders with music than if you approach problems more theoretically.” The learning through drumming approach allows people to break down barriers and get past the usual defenses, while also illuminating the dynamics behind work teams. “If there’s a festering boil, then we can pop it, deal with it and get past it.”

For the past four years Malcolm also worked as a substitute Reference Assistant at the Central Library, first in the Business, Science and Social Sciences department and now in the Arts department. His music background is valuable when referring customers to great works of music, finding scores and rare recordings and answering musicology questions.

Malcolm graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Music in Orchestral Performance. But he went to McGill thinking he’d be a doctor: “I think I was still adopting the general attitude around me that music is not a way to make a living, so I was headed for med school because I was good in science. I only went into music after reading Joseph Campbell’s line, ‘When you follow your bliss...doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else.’” Music certainly is bliss to Lim: “It’s the best way to express spirit, to manifest it. You’re creating sound out of nothing. It’s a miracle. All of it’s a miracle.”

What are your hobbies, and interests?

Wing Chun Kung Fu, eating (Sushi, Chinese, pasta, Greek, Lebanese, French, soups), snare drumming, and existential humour.

What’s your favourite book, author or genre?

In the last couple years, if memory serves, I read fiction: horror, gothic, science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, and winners of the Man Booker Prize. I also read non-fiction: science, memoirs, continental philosophy, developmental psychology, leadership and management, and religion. I like it all! I’m a genre glutton.

What are you reading right now?

A collection of Brazilian “Cronicas.” They are a genre of really short pieces, 1-3 pages.

Favourite Movie?

Little Miss Sunshine.

What are your passions?

Gluttony and lust.

If you were a tree (or animal) what kind of tree (animal) would you be?

Sloth week 1, Cheetah week 2, in alternating shifts.

What makes you happy?

A happy wife.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Still being married after almost 10 years.

What is your motto?

Wake Up, Grow Up, Show Up.

If you were stranded on a desert island what three things would you want to have with you?

A priest, a rabbi and an atheist.

The Library is 100 years old this year. What is your vision for the Library of the future?

If the orchestra of today is like a museum of musical works, then the library of tomorrow could be a museum of reading experiences, so let’s keep hard copies of books around in addition to e-books!


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