Last September, Vassar College Libraries welcomed a new librarian, Arianna Schlegel.
Q. What work do you do at Vassar College Libraries?
I am the Metadata & Systems Librarian, which is a new role here at the library. I help take care of many of the software systems that keep our library running, especially our online catalog so that patrons can look up materials, locate them in our vast collection, and then check them out. I also support systems like those that run some of our research websites and our interlibrary loan, so I am lucky to get to work with a lot of different areas of the library, which I love.
Q. Have you worked at other libraries before coming to Vassar?
I worked at several academic libraries in Connecticut – two of the state universities, and one community college. Before that, my only “library job” prior to library school was actually here, in Vassar’s Art Library – I reshelved books during the winter break of my junior year! I must admit, more often than not you could find me with my nose buried in one of the books that I was supposed to be shelving…I learned so much about art and art history that winter!
Q. What did you do there, and how is it different from your work here?
I have been lucky enough to have had the chance to try my hand at a bunch of different aspects of library science. At Central Connecticut State University, I got to really dig into the digital collections, particularly the CT Gay & Lesbian Film Festival archives, and was able to create exhibits and code custom pages using APIs. At Capital Community College, I got to customize the online catalog and work as a reference librarian, which included sitting the desk and teaching information literacy classes. And at Western Connecticut State University, I got to focus on electronic resource access and website redesign. I really loved all of the things I’ve gotten to try, and I think that variety of experiences has really informed the beginning of my work here at Vassar.
Q. Why do you like (or not like) working in libraries?
I am an information sponge. I want to always, always be learning, a little bit about as much as I can, and I feel that libraries are the best venue for that! Working with people who are performing research on topics I am unfamiliar with just forces me outside of my known comfort zone and I feel as if I learn something new every day, something I might not have encountered outside of the library world. And of course, working at a library feeds my literature addiction.
Q. What are your interests outside of work?
I am an obsessive knitter and compulsive reader (so perhaps a somewhat stereotypical librarian? — but, I don’t own any cats!). I have been known to binge-watch Netflix. And I love to bake. I dabble in small electronics, as well (I am passionate about bringing makerspaces in to libraries, as I feel they are an ideal match). Mostly, in line with my library tastes, if I can learn anything new, I love to give it a try. It might not always be up my alley, but I never know unless I check it out.
Q. You have an adorable dog. Tell us about her!
Her name is Fall – not, as I originally assumed, because of her fawn-colored fur, but because she is, in fact, a total klutz. She is an Akita, quite small for her breed, which is a blessing for me because she can be a handful at times! Despite being almost 7 years old, she still looks like a puppy, so I can’t ever stay mad at her for long.