Meet Alicia Vaandering – Part of our “Featured Librarian” Series


Welcome to our “Featured Librarian” series!
We thought it would be fun for everyone to know who we are, what we do and learn a bit about why we love libraries.

Alicia Vaanderng, Education and Instructional Design Librarian

This month’s Featured Librarian is Alicia Vaandering, who is Education and Instructional Design Librarian.

Here are some answers she gave in a recent interview:

What is your job here at McKillop library?
I am the Education and Instructional Design Librarian.

What degree(s) do you have and where did you get them?
I received my Master of Library and Information Studies (M.L.I.S.) from the University of Rhode Island, and I am currently working toward receiving my M.A. in history from URI as well. My B.A. is from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

What departments are you a liaison for?
I am the liaison for the education department at Salve, and I currently share liaison duties for the history department with Genna Duplisea, our wonderful archivist at McKillop.

What is the best way to contact you?
Usually by email at [email protected], or in person at either the first or second floor information desks.

What is the best part of your job?
For me, teaching library instruction sessions is the best part of my job. I love working with students to help them develop research strategies and discover new tools that can help them with their projects and assignments. Technology has opened up so many new avenues for research, teaching, and scholarship; and it’s so fun and rewarding to tackle more traditional research topics and problems with new tools. However, I’d also say that getting to read award-winning children’s books and young adult literature is definitely up there on my list of favorite things about my job.

What do you like most about the library?
The books, which I’m hesitant to say as there’s a bit of a misconception that librarians do nothing but work with physical books. Nonetheless, there’s something so wonderful about working in a place where you are surrounded by books that contain millennia of knowledge, stories, and traditions. It’s like being surrounded by thousands and thousands of connections to the world around you. It’s a powerful feeling.

What library resource do you think is most useful for students and why?
Is it cheating if I say librarians? If so, I think I’ll go ahead and cheat and just say it: I think librarians are the most useful resource for students. The reason for this is simple: librarians can connect students with all the other resources that are available to them for their research and personal needs. We work with such a diverse range of resources and tools every day, so we bring a nuanced understanding of the research and information-creating processes to the table. And if one of us doesn’t have the right information, we’re more than willing to check with other Salve librarians or with the general library community. Librarians tend to be incredibly collaborative. We take pride in finding an answer to student questions, rather than in simply knowing the answer ourselves.

What are your hobbies and/or personal interests?
I enjoy reading, cooking and baking, traveling, binge-watching tv shows (particularly period detective shows like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Murdoch Mysteries), hiking, and visiting museums.

Do you have any pets?
I have two cats that are each others’ archenemies. One is a calico named Spumoni, the other is a tortoise-shell (tortie) named Persephone.
Apparently, calicos and torties tend to be independent and less sociable with other cats. Prime example of what happens when you don’t do research, even for decisions outside the classroom.

Do you have a favorite author and/or quote?
That’s like picking a favorite star in the sky! There’s so many. My physical and digital bookshelves are littered with Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Leo Tolstoy, A.J. Jacobs, Geraldine Brooks, Tony Horwitz, J.K. Rowling, Kate Morton, the Brontës, Arthur Conan Doyle, and a host of others. My favorites change by mood and what’s going on in my life and in the broader world at the moment.

What are you reading right now? What do you think about it?
I’m reading Agatha Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia (bedtime reading), Alistair Black’s A New History of the English Public Library (thesis reading), and Paul Thompson’s Dressmaker’s War (general reading). I’m enjoying all of them in very different ways.

Is there something random about you that you’d like us to know?

Hmm…someday I want to own a pygmy goat whom I will name Herbert (this has been my plan since I was about ten years old and fell in love with a little black pygmy goat at the Oregon State Fair). I also love rainy weather as it reminds me of growing up in the Pacific Northwest. So, if we are having a rainy day and you feel like you need to see a happy person who won’t grumble about the weather, come see me in the library. 🙂

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