10 Things We Like About Annie Murray

A coveted career that calls for boundless curiosity, meticulous attention to detail, and a passion for people and storytelling — a rare books librarian is a rare bird, indeed

Written by Jacquie Moore, BA’97

Annie Murray is the university’s Rare Books and Collections librarian. She’s exuberant about her work, passionate about music and endlessly curious about the tangible treasures that tell our personal stories. Murray helps ensure the preservation of UCalgary’s print collection including broadsides, pamphlets, periodicals and monographs dating as far back as the 15th century, as well as paperbacks, comic books and genre fiction documenting 20th- and 21st- century popular culture. Like the library’s hallowed vault, Annie is full of marvellous surprises herself.

If you could do anything for a living, what would it be?

How about being an in-house historian and researcher for Ralph Lauren — or maybe running a small hotel in the Swiss Alps?

When and where were you happiest in your life?

I liked being a rower growing up. We had the best rowing team of funny, fit hippie-jocks in Nelson, B.C. Good memories of scenic rows and fun road trips to go to regattas.

Who or what has had the greatest impact on the person you’ve become?

Probably learning about Greek myths in Grade 3. I couldn’t get enough of those stories. It gave me a taste for epic stories and history.

What do you like most about yourself?

I think I am a decent storyteller.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I’d like to go back to the Scottish Highlands. I like that rugged, northern combination of sea, sky, mountains and greenery.

Describe the most beautiful place you’ve ever been.

I had a sunny and summery drive around the whole of Iceland that made a big impression on me. I kept thinking, “No, this is the most stunning place,” only to go around a corner and think the same thing down the road!

When you’re restless or unhappy, what do you do to improve your mood?

I got super into quilting in 2020 when I was on sabbatical during the earlier phase of the pandemic. I use linen, and some quilting cotton and a lot of carefully selected thrifted clothing in my quilts.

Current guilty pleasure?

Kettle-style potato chips.

Who or what in life brings you the most joy?

My friends and music. Especially my music-loving friends.

If a song played whenever you entered a room, what would it be?

“Annie’s Song” by John Denver, obviously. No, maybe not. But maybe.

Watch this: Annie Murray shares some of her favourite rare books from inside the vault

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