Thursday, October 26, 2017

Interview Post: Michelle Reale



Michelle Reale

Current job?

Associate Professor, Access Services and Outreach Librarian

How long have you been in the field?

Over 25 years, though it has been 10 years since I received my MSLS!

How Do You Work?

What is your office/workspace like?

I have a nice corner office with two windows in which the sun streams in every morning! I have my book shelves filled with not only books, but all sorts of things that I collect.

How do you organize your days?

I set an agenda for myself! While I often have a least one meeting a day and several sessions to teach each day, I have two hours blocked out to be able to do research and writing.

What do you spend most of your time doing?
Running around, often from building to building to teach sessions, but also up and down many levels of the library taking care of whatever needs to be done. My days are full of reference work, teaching classes, making lesson plans, grading papers, training students etc. Each day is both different and the same in its own way.
What is a typical day like for you?
I come into work, have my coffee, write in my reflective journal, put some binaural beats br solfeggio on very low in the background which steadies me for the day and then I begin! I take a look at my calendar right away to see what obligations I have. I prepare for them and then get my readings, etc. ready for the two hours I have set aside.
What are you reading right now?
I am reading numerous poetry books, a book on Italian-American writing, and Kinfolk by Pearl S. Buck. Also a book about reading theory. I am all over the place!
What's the best professional advice you've ever received?
I have received so much good advice over the years, but something that really revolutionized my way of being in my career was that I do not have to respond immediately to requests of my time, my opinions, email, anything. Even though someone is pressing me, it is wise, in the long run, to take one’s time to think things through. People will just have to wait. In the past I would cave in to pressure and say “yes” to things I had neither the time nor inclination to do. Even email does not have to be responded to immediately. We set ourselves up for frustration and resentment when we are always in respond mode. It is good to take some control. That was advice from my former boss, a wonderful mentor to me, who just retired. I tell her all the time how it changed me!

What have you found yourself doing at work that you never expected?
Cleaning the stacks of body fluids!

Inside the Library Studio

What is your favorite word?
It is an Italian word and it is “ovunque”. It means “everywhere.”

What is your least favorite word?
“No,” but only when it is being said to ME!

What profession other than your own would you love to attempt?
None. Being  a librarian/writer is all I ever wanted to be. I am proud to have achieved two of my biggest goals.

What profession would you never want to attempt?
A Dentist. Ugh. Or nun.

Everything Else

What superpower do you wish you had?
If I could read minds, it would save me a lot of grief! Human beings are very complex and it is often difficult to read intentions. I mess up a lot.

What are you most proud of in your career?
I have written four books in my field and have just secured a contract for a fifth.  It is very, very important for me to make a contribution in my field.

If you're willing to share, tell about a mistake you made on the job.
I’ve been reactive at times when it would have been better to just be a cool observer. It is never good to have a knee-jerk reaction.  I am really working on this.

When you aren't at work, what are you likely doing?
Reading, writing, thinking, being out in nature with my two dogs, Miso, a Bichon Shih-tzu and Vanzetti, a five pound Chihuahua. To say I am an introvert is a bit of an understatement.  I would rather be listening to  and observing things around me than to be the one talking.  I often wish the world and daily life were a bit quieter than they are.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
I haven’t a clue!

Michelle Reale is an associate professor and Librarian at Arcadia University. She has authored four ALA titles in her field of librarianship and is working on a fifth. She has a chapter in the brand new The Feminist Reference Desk: Concepts, Critiques, and Conversations, on the female student and (dis)articulation.  In addition, she has  authored nine poetry collections including the most recent The Marie Curie Sequence (Dancing Girl Press, 2017) and All These Things Were Real: Poems of Delirium Tremens, (West Philly Press, 2017). Confini: Poems of Refugees in Sicily is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press. She is the Book Reviews editor for the Rag Queen Periodical and the Editor-in-Chief of Ovunque Siamo: Italian-American Writing.

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