Snapshot: Deanna Beattie
By Katherine Dunn, Dean's Editorial Fellow
New GSLIS student Deanna Beattie works as the program assistant for the Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions Ph.D. concentration, helping organize program delivery and preparing educational, administrative, and marketing materials. Beattie was born and raised outside of Concord, N.H., and went to Norwich University in Vermont, where she received a degree in English.
What is your previous library experience?
I came out of my degree and thought, 'what do I do now?' I applied to a bunch of libraries because I had worked at bookstores in the past and knew that I liked finding information. I was finally offered a job as circulation assistant at a small public library in Vermont, in Shelburne, right near Burlington. I did that for three years and just loved it. Coming from retail experience, it was great to not deal with money. People are much friendlier when you're not asking for their money.
Except if they have overdue books.
Well, we didn't do fines. I called and harassed people and found that that worked better than fining them.
I was pretty lucky to start out there. I got in under two directors who were very enthusiastic about my library career. They both gave me lots of opportunities to try anything in the library.
What did you like best?
What I liked most, and what was exactly the same as in bookstores, was interacting with the public. It was really rewarding to help them find something, and they were just like, 'Wow, how did you do that?'
I got to do some programming type stuff, too. It was neat that we could go out there and find an organization that, say, did programs on lemurs or something and bring them in and market the program. It was fun to be involved at the start and see a program you planned come out successfully.
You recently worked at a law firm in Boston. What were your duties there?
Document delivery. I was involved in getting different journal articles online. Then there was the book component. If things weren't available at local libraries we'd have to go elsewhere. Sometimes it was a case where [the lawyers] said, 'You have to find this book.' A lot of the time they expected it tomorrow. Sometimes they'd just throw money at it and say, 'Just find that.'
I got to do a little ILL stuff in the public library, and it's a totally different world. Public libraries say, 'Ok, we'll try to have the book to you in a couple of weeks. We'll snail mail it over to you and get the cheapest rate possible.' Whereas with this it was, 'Get it where you can get it the fastest, and FedEx it overnight, we need these things immediately.'
I hear you're a figure skater?
I started when I was eight or so. Along with competing and doing a yearly show, there was testing to get through your levels. I got most of the way through that, and then I started coaching. I was coaching eight hours a week in high school.
Who were you coaching?
For the most part, real beginners. Three-year olds-putting on skates for the first time up to adults in their 50s. The adults were really fun to work with because they really got it, they had a connection between what their body's doing and what their head's doing.
What's your favorite sport?
One would think figure skating. I don't watch it that much anymore. Basically anything that gets me outside and moving. I love hiking and I miss doing it. I'm kind of far from mountains now. I ski and run and have done a lot of canoeing.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I went through a lot of things. I thought I might be an interior designer. I had a stage when I wanted to be a physical therapist. Now I'm here, and I know that this is right.
One thing I've really always wanted to try is to drive a big rig, a big truck. The wandering, the challenge of driving something like that — that's always been a thing on my mind.
What book are you reading now?
It's called Zaatar Days, Henna Nights by Maliha Masood. It's about this woman traveling in the Middle East. It breaks a lot of stereotypes and shows fully developed people with real personalities beyond what we see on the news. I think it would be a good book for people to read if they want to get a feel for the culture without reading a textbook.
You got it from the library?
It's probably overdue. I'm not particularly good at getting things back on time. Usually every time I go in, I owe something. It's movies that get me, because you can only have them for a week. I love the library, though.