Getting to Know the Biomedical Libraries’ Staff: An interview with Samantha Wiebkin

Sam (right) and her friend Ana at The Huntington

1. What is your job and how long have you worked for the Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries?

I’ve been working at Matthews-Fuller since the end of February as an Information Access Assistant. Kind of wild to think that I’ve now worked the majority of my time for Biomed remotely.

2. What is your favorite part about your job?

Definitely helping patrons find the information they need or showing them a service they didn’t know they could access. It’s so rewarding to be able to help someone and they’re usually really appreciative.

3. What is your least favorite part about your job?

Since I’m still fairly new to Biomed, I would say my lack of experience and knowledge. I feel like there is a lot more to learn and retain, it can be daunting at times.

Gouache painting from an early spring walk

4. How are you spending your isolation?

I just started my first semester of grad school, so I have plenty of homework! But besides staring endlessly at a computer screen, I’ve been getting outside as much as possible. I discovered I can connect to my WiFi from the backyard, so working out in the sun has been really nice and going for lots of walks/runs. I’m getting reacquainted with riding a bike, which is equal parts terrifying and amusing. I’ve also been painting quite a bit, doing frustrating 1000 piece puzzles, and playing an embarrassing amount of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

5. If you have any pets or kids, describe them as your co-worker and tell us what they are doing right now.

My coworker is currently yelling in a distressed manner over the fact that I haven’t let him into the room where I’m working.

the screaming co-worker had a birthday (Sam’s cat)

6. What pantry meal are you proudest of?

Ginger ramen. We cook most nights but I think this is the dish we’ve recreated repeatedly and can’t get enough of it. Tons of freshly grated ginger and chili garlic sauce. We usually put broccoli, water chestnuts, scallions, mushrooms, and chicken in but I honestly think anything would taste good in it!

7. What are you reading/watching during your isolation?

I’m a little embarrassed by the number of books I’m in-process of reading but actively as of right now I’m reading The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery and The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. As for what I’m watching, I’ve just finished rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender and am now rewatching Legend of Korra.

8. What is your hobby? Name your top 5 (hobby-related) recommendations and why. ie- Gardening, names 5 plants.

It feels a little weird to call art a hobby but when I’m not working that’s usually what I’m doing instead. I bounce around to different mediums to keep things interesting. My recommendations for some art-making activities would include:

  1. Making Comics by Lynda Barry – a gem of a book full of fun exercises and prompts for (surprise) making comics!
  2. The Art Assignment YouTube channel – has a great variety of videos if you want to learn about art history, contemporary artists, or participate in art assignments.
  3. Collaging – perfect for people like me who have random old magazines and books laying around. I also recommend incorporating found objects (feathers, leaves, thread, an untouched bottle of glitter you didn’t know you had) to add some 3D flare!
  4. Instagram art challenges – there are so many great drawing challenges and artists to follow. One of my favorites is the #drawthisinyourstyle challenge where one artist makes an original piece and then invites anyone who wants to to redraw it. I just finished an art challenge where I drew six fictional characters in my style.
  5. Master copies – I used to absolutely hate doing copies of masters’ work for undergrad but I’ve found the value in them now (my color theory professor would be so proud). It kind of makes you appreciate the artist’s perspective and try to look at things with their eyes when it comes to color and light.

9. Where’s a favorite place you have traveled and where would you most like to travel to next?

I think any place I’ve gone with my best friend would be my favorite, but most recently being The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California when I was visiting in February. It was absolutely stunning and the perfect day but we didn’t have time to see everything and I would love to go back to explore more. I think next on my travel list would have to be the Grand Canyon or The Redwood National Park.

10. What frivolous things do you miss about being out in the normal world?

Eating out at restaurants and not having my glasses constantly fog up while wearing a mask.


This post was written by the Water Cooler Committee, Samara Cary, Paige Scudder, Elaina Vitale, and Samantha Wiebkin, for the Biomedical Libraries.

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