Getting to know your LYRASIS Board Candidates

Between Today through April 24th, LYRASIS voting representatives from member institutions are encouraged to vote for open positions on the LYRASIS Board of Directors. You may have seen the candidate bio page before, but it’s always good to know a little more. I had a moment to sit virtually with each candidate  and ask some “James Lipton” style questions.

Question 1: Why did you choose this profession?

Jo Budler

I grew up in a tough neighborhood in Queens and the library was literally a sanctuary for me… both physically and mentally. There was nowhere else one could go and escape to so many wonderful places with so many wonderful people! But I did not really appreciate this until I actually was in library school and realized how great outreach was. I found I really wanted to make as many people as possible aware of the many services libraries have to offer and how these services can enhance their lives.

Ivan Gaetz

Growing up in the Canadian Arctic, I remember heading over to the community library in the dead of winter Saturday afternoons, maybe -40 degrees outside, to get my Hardy Boys books. The library was a one room cabin with a stove fired up for the few hours it was open, enough to almost thaw out the books. Since then I have had affection for libraries. Librarianship ultimately brought several fields of my academic study together in something that was very marketable. The profession, however, did not really have a mercenary appeal. Rather, what drew me to librarianship was the opportunity to help others gain information, broaden their knowledge base and to help individuals make their way in the world more fulfilling.

David Lewis

My mother was a librarian and it looked like interesting work. When I graduated from college with a history degree following in her footsteps seemed like a reasonable thing to do. It was.

Joe Lucia

I sometimes describe myself as an “accidental librarian.” I studied literature as an undergraduate, went right to grad school to pursue an advanced degree, needed a break after completing an MA. I wanted to write poetry and in my early 20s struggled to figure out how to do that and make a living. For about a year, I strung together part-time gigs working retail and teaching workshops as a visiting poet in high schools through an art center program in Binghamton NY, the home town I’d reluctantly returned to as a refugee from doctoral study. One day after visiting some morning English classes, I found myself in a teacher’s lounge for lunch and struck up a conversation with the school librarian. I was bemoaning my fate, as disillusioned 20-somethings who’ve studied the humanities are wont to do, when the librarian suggested that libraries might be a place where I could find satisfying work. She told me about the program in “information studies” at Syracuse University. Desperate for anything, I called Syracuse and arranged a visit, met while there a recent MFA graduate from the Creative Writing program who was completing a library degree. He (now a lifelong friend) convinced me that libraries could be good places for poets to hang out (big surprise, that). When I got to Syracuse and began coursework, I discovered an interest in and aptitude for technical subjects and took a lot of computer-related and programming courses. I completed my degree in the 1980s, just as the desktop computing revolution and the first wave of comprehensive library automation (e.g. the advent of the mini-computer based “integrated library systems”) were taking off. That burgeoning technical environment established a path for me through the first 20 years of my career as a technology implementer, systems specialist, and manager of technology services. Along the way I continued to write & teach poetry, including a stint as a small press publisher and during my last decade in the libraries at Lehigh University – from the mid-1990s through 2002 – as a continuing adjunct professor of practice in creative writing for the English Department there. The combination of a background in literature, writing, and critical theory alongside technological skill and vision facilitated my professional trajectory, which has always entailed at least in part the application of creative energy to the challenges of the digital transformation of the academic library enterprise.

Gina Millsap

I’m going to refer you to a video interview I made a few years ago that tells that story, if that’s ok. This is a series that Mutual of Omaha has sponsored for the past three years. The company sponsors a vehicle that goes around the country collecting people’s story. It came to Topeka and parked at the library for a day. It’s called the Aha Moment. Here’s the link.

Kathy Ray

Becoming a librarian had never entered my mind until a close friend who was in library school said to me, you should do this. You’d love it. I was skeptical, but after repeated nudging I agreed to audit a reference course. An hour later I was hooked. I was astounded by the array of specialized reference sources (it was a hard copy world then) and loved the challenge of solving information puzzles. Who knew there was all this information out there just waiting to be discovered? By the end of the first semester, I knew this was my profession.

Question 2: How do you spend your free time?

Jo Budler

Reading, of course! But I also love to work with my hands: knitting, making jewelry, crocheting. I have even tried my hand at watercolor painting and “throwing pots” on a pottery wheel. Spending time with my family is high on my list as well.

Ivan Gaetz

I do a lot of writing and editing in the fields of librarianship and education, as well as on topics related to northern Canada. I also enjoy drawing and painting, but wish I had more time devoted to these pursuits. During the summer and fall, I enjoy wilderness camping, kayaking, fishing and adventures in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska. I usually have my camera handy to capture interesting landscapes and to get reference material for paintings. The American southwest also has strong appeal for me.

David Lewis

I am a masters swimmer and typically swim a million yards a year. I also enjoy cooking, scuba diving, and traveling to parts of the world where red wine is made.

Joe Lucia

During the warmer months, I am a pretty avid (and decent) golfer. In recent years, I’ve assembled an eclectic group of librarian musicians who occasionally perform in a diverse array of musical styles at library events. We go by the name Marc Fields & Bad Data and have played in fact two reception events for LYRASIS, the first at the 2011 ACRL conference in Philadelphia and the second at 2014 ALA Midwinter meeting, also in Philadelphia. My current musical focus is a solo project entitled Sounds from Upstairs: Home Baked Music, which involves recording and releasing one original piece of music per month (entirely performed by me in my home studio) via social media and direct email channels throughout 2015.

Gina Millsap

With my grandchildren whenever possible. They live in Des Moines and come and spend several weeks a year with my husband and me at our 7 acre place that we call the Millsap farmette. I also do deep water aerobics and walk for fun and exercise. And of course I’m always reading. Ebooks on my phone and iPad, audio books in my car, print books – anyplace I can sit and read.

Kathy Ray

Lately I’ve been fascinated with color theory, color wheels, palettes, so have been noodling around with these. I also love music, impromptu dance parties, binge-watching Netflix and hiking. 

Question 3: If you could witness any event in the past or future, what would it be?

Jo Budler

I would like to be in attendance at the party where my parents met! Rumor has it in our family that, at first sight, my father fell head over heels in love with my mother.

Ivan Gaetz

It would have been terrific to witness Van Gogh painting “Starry Night.” I would have been fascinated to see his madness, genius, and gentleness at work together in this frenzied activity. It would have been formative for me, I’m sure.

David Lewis

I wouldn’t mind being able the relive the hour swimming with my daughter and a pod of spinner dolphins in Kealakekua Bay.

Joe Lucia

Hard to pick one, but from recent American history it would have to be the March for Jobs & Freedom on August 28, 1963, where Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech. On a more pop culture level, I would have loved to have traveled with John & Alan Lomax as they made his field recordings of folk music in the American south during the 1930s – the raw, unvarnished recordings that document the roots of American popular music that gave birth to rock-n-roll and country music over the next two decades.

Gina Millsap

I’d like to witness dinosaurs walking the earth. I wanted to be a paleontologist when I was a kid. I still kind of want to be one!

Kathy Ray

The Big Bang. Can you imagine?!

Final question: If you could have dinner with an author, living or dead, who would it be?

Jo Budler

Emily Dickinson. Her poetry is absolutely incredible!

Ivan Gaetz

I would cherish the opportunity to have lunch with Nobel laureate, Canadian Alice Munroe. And I would ask her what her peak experiences are as a writer, as a Canadian.  I read everything she writes simply for the beauty of her craft in putting words together.

David Lewis

I would love to host a conversation with Clayton Christensen, Cory Doctorow, Clay Shirky, Yochai Benkler and Lawrence Lessig to try to solve the problems of scholarly communication. I am not sure we could do so, but undoubtedly trying would be fun.

Joe Lucia

Emily Dickinson. Cryptic, visionary, austere yet oddly sensual, her poetry is among the most intense and enigmatic to be found anywhere. Yet her life is cloaked in mystery, her close contacts, romantic involvements and daily activities matters of speculation rather than of documented fact. To be present with her for a few hours, to get some sense of her actual life, would clarify the connection between the poetry and the person.

Gina Millsap

Actually, I’d have dinner with two — Will Shakespeare and Jane Austen. Almost every book I’ve ever read or movie or tv show I’ve ever seen owes something to one of them.

Kathy Ray

I’d choose Doris Lessing. Or Louise Penny. Or both.

 

 

 

 

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