How This Librarian Works–Mandi Shepp, MLS

Job Title: Library Director

Institution: Marion H. Skidmore Library, Lily Dale Assembly

Job Duties:
ALL THE THINGS! The last full-time librarian in this library was over 40 years ago, so there’s much to be done; currently I’m in the middle of full and complete cataloging and collection arrangement/description, and the MHSL was granted digitization equipment, which is my next major project: digitizing our holdings of late 19th-century Spiritualist newspapers and serials.  I’m also involved with creating and executing library programming, which is proving to be an interesting challenge that I’m excited to tackle.

Current mobile device(s)
Samsung Galaxy Note II (which I love).

Current computer(s)?
HP Chromebook 14 (Chrome OS), eMachines E525 laptop (Windows 7); I use both at home and work.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
– I absolutely require Google Keep and Evernote, or else I would be a disorganized mess!
– GIMPShop is a really excellent Open Source software for making high-quality signage or other digital media, it runs similarly to Adobe Photo Shop (but actually has some slightly cooler gadgets).
– HootSuite makes my life with social media a much, much better place.
– Cloud-based storage makes transporting files between home and work significantly easier; I enjoy both Google Drive and Dropbox, they’re both really easy to use and have mobile apps as well, so my files are never too far away from me.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
– For work-related matters, I really enjoy digitizing with the new Samsung WB 2100 camera – it takes PDF and archival-quality master TIFF files, and makes everything such a snap!
– For life in general, the SmooV XL Ego 650 V battery and KangerTech ProTank II make it much easier to be cigarette-free.

What’s your best productivity/organization/time-saving trick?
Making endless, hierarchically-organized To-Do lists.  It seems counterproductive, but keeping them current helps keep me focused while reinforcing the feeling that I’ve accomplished something.

How do you manage your to-do list/workflow?
A combination of Google Keep lists, diligence, my calendar and the aforementioned endless, hierarchically-organized To-Do lists.

What resources do you use for professional development?
I have been really enjoying the variety of courses, workshops, and webinars offered by ALA and SLA lately in their professional development coursework areas — I’m enrolling in a class about copyright law and copyright management which is a lengthier study next month.  I’ve also taken their free hour-long webinars and have come away from them feeling better educated on the given topic, and have enjoyed the opportunity to jump in and learn about something quickly and in an immersive way that makes it have an impact on me.  The SLA’s webinar “Twitter for Librarians” was pretty awesome, and helped me re-think my Twitter strategy (I operate Twitter accounts for two libraries as well as a museum, so sometimes I feel like my posts can get redundant or repetitive, but I feel much better about having fresh and interesting Tweets now!).

What are you currently reading?
Currently, I’m reading “Tiki Pop: America Imagines its own Polynesian Paradise” by Sven Kirsten, and listening to “The 4% Universe” by Richard Panek (narrated by Ray Porter) and “Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla” by Marc J. Seifer (narrated by Simon Prebble) on Audible.

Is there a website or blog you’d like to recommend to your fellow librarians?
I don’t really cruise around much on the blog scene, but I really enjoy podcasts; if you enjoy short-form entertainment and you’re open to it, I highly recommend checking out “Welcome to Night Vale” (a fiction-based podcast centering around a Lovecraft-ian paranormal desert town) and “Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine” (run by a physician and her husband, they explore the history of quackery, patent medicine, and our often backwards race to cure what ails us).  Also, for fellow Disney buffs: the Epcot Centre (spelled incorrectly on purpose) Twitter feed is pretty sassy and hilarious.

Where do you see your job/career 12 months from now?
With the highest of hopes, I see myself still in Lily Dale, running a well-organized, well-oiled, mostly digitized, community-oriented, lifelong learning center in the middle of an historic community.  I truly enjoy working in Lily Dale — the community is beautiful, the information is endlessly fascinating, and the patrons are fun.  I’m always learning something new, and always meeting interesting and wonderful people.  It’s a really great place to work.

Any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to plug?
Two, actually!
– I would like to promote a digital-only museum that I’ve been working on for two years now, The Skeptiseum (; the site will officially be launched in October, and it’s been a long, intense, and awesome journey that has taught me so much about how awesome being a librarian can be.
– I would also like to promote a podcast that I am a host on, The Thirteenth Four; also launching in October (well, re-launching after a several month hiatus), The Thirteenth Four is a “darker side of” trivia/knowledge/informational podcast (Warning: NSFW, there’s definitely swearing) with a weekly rotating overall topic and a different segment of from each of the four hosts.  For those who still like to learn and have fun while being unabashedly crass, give us a listen!

Mandi Shepp, MLS Library Director , Marion H. Skidmore Library

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