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13 Questions With: Astrid Lange

June 9, 2013

Supervisor, Library and Research Services, The Toronto Star

Astrid Lange

Credit: TimFinlan / Toronto Star)

A hero who has inspired you in your career?

So many people have guided me throughout my library career, starting with legal librarian Marla Sterritt, who told me, after a stint as a legal intern at a corporate law firm, that I’d probably be better suited for library school than law school. But the true heroes have always been my parents who have encouraged me every step of the way and instilled the importance of a well-balanced life.

The first job you ever held and at what age?

At 15, I sold bingo cards at the Golden Nugget Bingo in Mississauga.

Your first position in the library and/or information services field?

I worked for a summer as a researcher for the debate show Face Off! on CBC Newsworld.

Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?

I’m partial to my TARDIS pen which is suction-cupped to my desk.  But the Mood of the Day calendar at the reference desk is always a big hit.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Potato chips and reality television.

Career advice – what’s your top tip?

Knowledge really is power. Before applying for a job, get to know everything (or as much as you can!) about a company or organization. Once you’ve got the job, learn about as many work processes as you can, even outside your own department – it will make you invaluable. And don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What useless skill(s) do you possess?

My mind is a stockpile of “useless” trivia. But as a news librarian and a pub trivia competitor, that knowledge is not so useless any more. So I’ll go with the fact that I can curl and roll my tongue.

Proudest moment in your professional life?

After a presentation on investigative research techniques with my former manager Joan Sweeney Marsh at the Global Investigative Journalism conference, it was thrilling to see that our second session was standing-room only thanks to positive buzz.

If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it?

I would pick 10 or 12 of my favourite movies and watch them one after the other on the big screen of a movie theatre.  I would invite friends to whatever movie they wanted to see, but I’d be in for the long haul.

If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?

I’d like to think I’d be coaching swimming, but I’d probably go into law.

Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “

… stay in school for the rest of my life.

How do you stay current in your field?

It’s tough to keep up on all the literature, but it’s made easier if you follow colleagues on a variety of social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – and wait for them to post interesting and new trends.  Talking to others (in person!) also helps.  Local library associations provide great networking opportunities.

What would you like your headstone to read?

Well, this sucks.

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