Welcome to the first interview in the ‘Getting to Know…’ blog series, where I will be interviewing Library staff and learning a little bit more about what makes them tick. For the inaugural post in this series, I’ll be interviewing circulation clerk Brandi Bengtson.
Hi Brandi. Let’s jump right into things–why do you work in a library? I work in a library because I’ve wanted to be surrounded by books from a very early age. Also, I really enjoyed Evelyn in the The Mummy saying ‘I am a librarian!’ As I got older, the desire to help people came along with it.
Did you always want to work in libraries? There are a handful of other things I wanted to be as well, among them a teacher.
You mentioned Evelyn from the late 90’s movie The Mummy; she comes up pretty frequently when people talk about depictions of librarians in film. Do you have any other favorite fictional heroines? Elvira, Tank Girl, Wonder Woman, Leeloo Dallas, Jupiter, and Virginia Lewis.
Lots of film and T.V. characters there–what are some of your favorite movies and series? 10th Kingdom, Once Upon a Time, Cheers, Scrubs, The Fifth Element, Jupiter Ascending, Anastasia, The King and I, Mulan, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Weird Science, Tank Girl, Aristocats, Oliver and Company, Hudson Hawk… Bruce Willis is one of my favorite actors.
Any real-life heroines? Jeanne d’Arc.
Any other historical figures you’re keen on? Nikola Tesla–the man was fantastic in so many ways and I really would just have loved to meet him. Also Báthory Erzsébet–I will forever be enthralled with the way she just low-key got away with so much seduction and murder. Grand Duchess Anastasia too, her life was very interesting, though tragic.
What’s something unexpected you’ve learned about libraries, or the people that work in them? People generally don’t check out large piles of books like I do. And librarians aren’t as introverted as you’d expect them to be.
Speaking of books, I obviously have to ask, what’s your favorite? Tossup between J. V. Jones’ The Barbed Coil and the Ruby Red series by Kerstin Gier.
What about poetry? Edgar Allen Poe is my favorite poet.
Is there something you wish everyone who didn’t work in a library knew about working in libraries? Working in libraries is not just sitting or standing at a desk and waiting for people to return books.
OK, let’s wrap up with some rapid-fire questions: Where would you most like to live? South Dakota.
Pause. Why South Dakota? I was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, and out of all the states I’d want to love in I’d love to go back there. I was thinking about maybe living in Scotland, but I felt that would be too far away from my family.
Fair enough. Do you collect anything? Paper weights, Holiday Edition Barbies, manga/anime figurines, cosplays, and comic books.
What do you most look forward to doing on the weekends? Hanging out with my best friend.
What ‘virtue’ or ‘positive’ personality trait do you think is most overrated? Chastity. I don’t think it should be judged either way.
What are your favorite words? Superfluous, Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (ironically, the fear of long words), nifty, dude, tubular, bossa nova.
What’s your favorite era of music? 80’s music is the bomb.
Favorite band? Queen! Queen. Queen forever.