Show Us Your Shelfie: Deborah Schander

1. Name, Title, Library 

Deborah Schander
Associate Director for Public Services
Alyne Queener Massey Law Library
Vanderbilt University

2. Tell us about your Shelfie (Where is it? What’s on it, and why?)
This is the top shelf of my office bookshelf, and it is full of tiny action figures and similar toys. I’m a sucker for those little grab bags you buy, when you know the theme but not what’s actually inside. And I had to put them somewhere. It’s become the conversation piece – people drop by to talk and get completely distracted studying everything on the shelf.

3. What is your favorite thing on your shelf?
Everyone has a different favorite. Mine is the Lego minifig in the HAZMAT suit; the look on his face is perfect.

4. Besides your workplace library (naturally), what is the coolest library you have ever seen/been to?
The National Cryptologic Museum’s reference library on the NSA campus at Fort Meade. I had no idea it was there until I trotted past the door on my way to the museum, spotted the library sign, and made a sharp right turn. I was in law/library school at the time, and the librarian and I had a good time geeking out to each other. She was delighted to have someone to talk shop with, and I got to hear about working with a partially-classified collection. And then I got to see a real Enigma machine.

5. What do you like the most about being a librarian? What do you like the least? 

Most: I like helping people realize their own potential. Wow, that sounds super motivational speaker-ish.

Least: Having to come up with a polite response to “oh, it must be so nice to just get to read books all day.”

6. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Walk like you’ve been sent to murder Captain America.” Okay, I should probably explain that. It’s the conclusion to a Tumblr thread responding to a Tweet and preserved on Pinterest (oh, social media); it’s a little long, but you should read it. It says so much about gender inequity and about personal demeanor and how it affects the way people respond to you. It’s particularly applicable to librarians because so many of us are introverts working in what has become an extroverted field. How we present ourselves to faculty and students, partners and associates, and members of the public can have a big impact on how we are treated. We don’t have to take it to the extreme as in the advice here, but it’s a good way to remember its importance. And we’re awesome – why shouldn’t we demonstrate that?

7. Who is your library/librarian hero (or the person who inspired (inspires) you to be a librarian)?
Could anyone who ever had the opportunity to work with Nancy Johnson say anyone else? I first met her when she supervised my internship during library school, and I still remember how happily she said “You’re a real librarian now!” when I went back a few years later for a job interview. She was that quiet counsel everyone dreams of finding, and she was so damn strong. I would not be the librarian or even the person I am today if it hadn’t been for Nancy.

8. What was your best day on the job?
Watching a student I taught take a warranted hard knock (from me) and respond to it with absolute dignity and professionalism. I could not have been more impressed.

9. What was the last book you read? Digital or Print?
I’m currently rereading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. I originally read it on the author’s website, one chapter and update at a time, and now I own it in print.

10. What’s the last thing you Googled?
This is not a fake answer: the PEGA blog.

11. Cats or Dogs?
Cats. Although I wouldn’t say no to a corgi.

12. Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. All the coffee.

13. How many cardigans do you own 😉 
So, I own 40 cardigans.

14. Favorite Word? Least favorite word?
Most: Circumloquacious. I first saw it in a Star Trek book (don’t let anyone knock what you read), and I didn’t know words like that existed until that moment.

Least: I don’t actually hate any words themselves, but there are words I have heard in unpleasant circumstances which I can’t separate from those times.

15. What’s your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
Oh, we’re going full-on stereotype here: late Autumn, comfy clothes, inside with a fire, a cup of coffee, and a good book.


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