Thursday, August 25, 2016

Interview Post: April Hathcock



April M. Hathcock, First of Her Name

Current job?

Scholarly Communications Librarian at NYU

How long have you been in the field?

5 years

How Do You Work?

What is your office/workspace like?

I used to work in a tiny cubby and was promised a bigger office one day, but wasn’t holding my breath on it. (Real estate is always at a premium in NYC, even at work.) When one of my colleagues left to go on to bigger and better things, I immediately put in my bid for her office. So glad I did. Now I have space to work and meet with students, faculty, and staff in consultation. As for decor, I’m very much a functionalist/minimalist. I’ve been in that office for almost a year, but it still looks like I just moved in.

How do you organize your days?
Each day starts with email. So much email. There are usually several meetings spread throughout the day and throughout campus, so I try to get as much email done before I start heading out for those. I always stop and take time for lunch, though. Girl’s gotta eat. When the weather is nice, I eat outside in Washington Square Park and take a moment to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. In between email and meetings, I check in on Twitter here and there and do some research and writing for my own academic work.

What do you spend most of your time doing?
I do a lot of consultations. These can be in-person, though most often they involve, yep - you guessed it, email. I read, write, and edit a lot of contracts. And before you start thinking that sounds really boring, let me just stop you right there. It’s the best fun ever.

What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day starts a little later than most since we don’t get going too early at MPOW. I roll in a bit before 10, start hacking away at the emails, run to a few meetings, grab lunch in the park while checking Twitter, work on more emails, do an in-person consultation or two, maybe squeeze in some time in the afternoon for reading some articles or working on some of my writing projects. I usually leave around 5:30.

What are you reading right now?
For fun, I’m reading Murder in Time by Julie McElwain. It’s pretty good. It’s about a modern-day FBI agent who travels back to 1815 and tries to solve a murder. She faces all these cultural and historical roadblocks, like, you know, lack of forensic technology and presence of rampant sexism. As of my writing this, I’m taking a break from my social justice reading because combined with current events it was getting me down. I usually read a lot of stuff having to do with critical race theory and intersectional feminism, though.

What's the best professional advice you've ever received?
Mama and Daddy Hathcock: “Don’t ever expect anyone to just give you what you deserve. You have to make sure you demand it from them. This world isn’t out to help you. You’ve got to help yourself.”

What have you found yourself doing at work that you never expected?
I go to a lot more meetings than I ever thought possible. And I worked as a corporate lawyer before this! Academic librarians definitely have lawyers beat on the meetings.

Inside the Library Studio

What is your favorite word?
What is your favorite word? Abacaxi. It means “pineapple” in Portuguese. Also, pamplemousse. It means “grapefruit” in French. I have a thing for languages and for fruit, obvs.

What is your least favorite word?
Granular and granularity. It’s eased up now, but there was a time a year or so ago when I swear I heard that word every hour on the hour. So annoying.

What profession other than your own would you love to attempt?
My great-grandfather was an electrician. I’d love to try that. Though I’d probably fry myself so maybe I shouldn’t.

What profession would you never want to attempt?
Window-washer. I’m afraid of heights.

Everything Else

What superpower do you wish you had?
Telepathy. (Cue evil laughter).

What are you most proud of in your career?
That I’m doing something I love and making sure that I get what I deserve for it.

If you're willing to share, tell about a mistake you made on the job.
I’m learning, but I often make the mistake of trusting people who don’t have my best interest at heart. Sadly, not everyone cares as much as you think. You gotta be careful out there.

When you aren't at work, what are you likely doing?
Reading, eating, wandering the city, or watching Netflix.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Jennifer Brown at Columbia. Speaking of which, I gotta hit her up to see if she wants to grab lunch one of these days...

April tweets at @AprilHathcock. Although she's inspired more than one post, this is actually the first one she's written for Letters to a Young Librarian. Hopefully not the last.

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