Nelson Rosales: Libraries as community centres

By Aaron Bens

Nelson's hometown: London, Ontario

Nelson loves that the flexibility of the program lets him balance his studies with his family life.


Nelson has a passion for community development. After a career travelling the world to learn and work with people in developing communities, he felt it was time to change pace and focus on life in London.

Nelson found his passion for the field when visiting the library with his two young children. He saw first-hand how libraries function as more than just buildings to house or access information. “I see libraries as public spaces where a community comes together,” Nelson says.

After some research, and a few helpful interviews with others in the field, he decided that librarianship was the best way to continue his lifelong work of community development. He balances his part-time studies with part-time work at the Cherryhill branch of the London Public Library, where he sees a cross-section of society as library patrons. From people in suits, to those in need, even other moms and dads; Nelson sees the important role libraries play in the lives of those in the community.

“Using the public library as a parent, I realized they’ve grown beyond their original function as information hubs. They now serve as community centres too.”
When he isn’t studying or working at the library, Nelson likes to get out in the community and volunteer—often bringing his kids with him. One of Nelson’s favourite ways to be involved in our community is with the Medway Community Working Group, a resident-driven initiative to promote healthy eating, healthy physical activity, and neighbourhood safety. He’s also a frequent contributor to his local community garden.

Fun Fact

Nelson spent 25 years working in international development in countries such as: El Salvador, India and Vietnam.

So why FIMS? Why Western? For Nelson the choice was easy. Of the programs in the field, Western offered two major advantages. First, the co-op program is unique in the field. Getting exposure to hands-on training, not only in his course work but also through a practical placement, means Nelson has a chance to broaden his understanding of what it takes to operate in the field after graduation. Nelson felt a strong connection between Western and the London community. Being part of a faculty at an institution with such a strong presence in the community means Nelson can strengthen his connection to London, keep working and balance his studies all at once.


Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.