Getting to Know Dean of University Libraries Dr. Tara Baillargeon

Dr. Tara Baillargeon and her husband, Aaron, enjoying an evening with friends in Avignon, France, in June 2022.

Dr. Tara Baillargeon was named permanent dean of university libraries in spring 2022, after serving in the acting role following Janice Welburn’s retirement. This summer, as she settled into her new role, the Ontario, Canada, native took a few moments to sit down with Marquette Today to talk a bit about her family, an eclectic taste in classic cinema and her stint as a forklift operator.


LaSalle, Ontario, Canada


Husband Aaron, son Nate (13), and daughter Leah (7)

Hobbies and interests:

Socializing with friends! Biking, traveling and reading memoirs.

Favorite movies:

Sunset Boulevard, Singing in the Rain and E.T. (still makes me cry every time!)


Someone I have admired since learning about her as an undergraduate is Mary Ann Shadd Cary, an American-Canadian political activist, teacher and writer. Among her many accomplishments, Cary published Canada’s first antislavery newspaper, The Provincial Freeman, in 1853. I recently learned her papers will be the focus for next year’s Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon!

Favorite quotes/mottos:

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” —The 14th Dalai Lama

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.” —Audre Lorde

Currently reading:

I’m reading a couple books right now. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It’s great, but it’s so long that I have renewed it from the public library eight times. I’m also reading Nile Rodgers’ memoir Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny. That’s a fun one!

Favorite vacation spots:

Anywhere that allows me to relax and visit a few museums.

Biggest career learning experience:

Be willing to fail! Taking a chance and then failing at something is one of the best ways to learn.

Fun facts:

While in university, I worked as a forklift driver at a car manufacturing plant. It was a great job for a college student because the pay was decent and I could work at night.