Portraits of the Jane Bancroft Cook Librarians: Part one

Interim Director of Technical Services and Systems Librarian Nancy Spaid

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Colorado, but I’ve lived here in Florida for more than half of my life — always on the west central coast. I’ve lived up in Palm Harbor and Clearwater and now I live in St. Pete.

How did you decide to become a librarian?

Well, it was actually at the start of the Internet age and you know, it really amazed me that we could have all this information at our fingertips. I got frustrated because with so much information, you have to have a way to organize it and evaluate it. That’s when I realized that’s what librarians are good at doing. So I was inspired by that.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m reading a good book by Annie Proulx. It’s called Close Range and actually is a collection of short stories that includes the one that the movie “Brokeback Mountain” was based on.

What is your most memorable on the job moment?

On Saturday, Feb.12, 2011, the library hosted an Open House for the 50th Anniversary Weekend.  I had a chance to meet former students of New College, as well as interact with current students, faculty and staff.  The events that weekend furthered my realization that New College is a unique and special place.

How many years have you worked here?

It will be nine years in August of this year.

What is your favorite type of food?

You know, I always prefer savory and cheesy, so Mexican food.

If you weren’t a librarian, what would you be?

Maybe an archaeologist. I just have an interest in the study of cultures so anthropology or archaeology have always appealed to me. My undergraduate degree is in psychology and I never really wanted to be a psychologists per se.

Are you a bookworm outside of the library?

I am. I always have been.

How do you serve the students and staff?

I’m head of technical services and we are primarily responsible for more of the back end of services such as cataloguing and ordering and processing books. That’s what most of my staff do. But, as a librarian, since we have our new dean Brian Doherty, all librarians are responsible for providing reference help and research assistance to students as well as to faculty.

Evening Reference Librarian Gail Donovan

Where are you from?

I am originally from Weymouth, Massachusetts.

How did you decide to become a librarian?

I was completing my undergraduate study in Spanish and one of my professors, Sonya Wolmuth, suggested that I attend a meeting for Spanish students interested in continuing their graduate work in information science. She basically gave us a big overview of the graduate study and some of the divisions that we might enter into. At the end of my graduate work, I was very happy that I had made that choice.

What book are you currently reading?

I just started The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. I just recently finished Way to Paradise by  Mario Vargas Llosa. It was an interesting story and tale about Paul Gauguin that parallels his grandma’s story as an activist.

What is your most memorable on the job moment?

Recently, I provided research assistance to a group of students from Heather White’s Religion and Africa class and it was really rewarding. The students e-mailed me with their topics of research and I started to pick out some of the resources that might be useful to them and had a personal meeting with the students. This was a project (that I understand from Heather) that they will be working on for the rest of the semester so it’s kind of nice when the librarian is involved with you know a research paper or a topic. It’s hard to choose because there are so many situations that you could talk about.

How many years have you been working here?

I have been here off and on since 2005.

What is your favorite type of food?

I would have to say Mexican food. I cook it, I go out to eat. It is much more varied than what is offered at the restaurants here.

If you weren’t a librarian, what would you be?

When I was in undergrad, I knew I did not want to become a Spanish teacher. (laughs). Maybe an artist, a printmaker — I still have a very strong interest in art.

Are you a bookworm outside of the library?

Yes.

How do you serve the students and staff?

I provide reference services so I provide bibliographic instruction [and] I help students navigate the databases. I do research assistance regarding any subject area — we don’t have librarians that are specialized in any subject area though each one of us has a strength. So I have assisted students with Latin American/Caribbean studies research but then I also have a pretty strong background in marine science. I worked for about a year at Mote Marine’s library. Right now some of the special projects that i’m working on involve archives — I just completed the student publications inventory. Our archivist is recently retired — Gail Novak — so I try to fulfill the archive requests when they come in. I also work at the service desk and help students locate books or do citations.

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