Getting to Know the Biomedical Libraries’ Staff: An interview with Susan Jorgensen

Reading on a hamock1. What is your job and how long have you worked for the Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries?

I’m the Access Services Supervisor at Dana, and I’ve been here for 17 years. It’s the longest I’ve done anything. I started off at the Sherman Art Library at Dartmouth and worked there for 7 years, and then I worked for about 6 months in the Special Collections Library but it wasn’t dealing with people at all and I missed that.

2. What is your favorite part about your job?

I like most of my job, I like all of it really but I think getting to know the student workers. They all come from different backgrounds and are so interesting in their diversity, but they come here and have the same interests and goals. Some of them are really very funny!

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

I guess the thing that gets under my skin is all the acronyms. Between the library, the college, and medical resources it can be a little much. There’s just so many of them, I need a spreadsheet! Someone should make a Jeopardy game with all the acronyms.

4. How are you spending your isolation?

I’ve been out on leave since the end of October, so I’m kind of an expert in isolation. It’s easier in the winter than it is in the summer when you want to be outside. You don’t feel like you’re missing out so much. The bird watching has been good, more than usual. I’ve been knitting, and doing my physical therapy exercises, which has been nice to do “while at work”; I spend my work time on the floor!

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

Well, let’s see. Koura is kind of a slacker, she sleeps on the job and is kind of manipulative. Don’t tell her I said that! She’ll turn her back on me for the whole day. It’s hard to criticize her though, she’s just so devoted, she’s always at my feet — what else can you ask for from a coworker?

She’s a rescue and has a really good life now.

6. What pantry meal are you proudest of?

Before it got hot I was having fun with sourdough. I had a sourdough starter that was dying a slow death in the back of my refrigerator. But it’s just too hot for baking now.

Then I discovered a huge stockpile of rice noodles in the back of the pantry. I don’t know what those are about but I’ve been working through them.

Tonight, we’re having asparagus, goat cheese, and noodles (wheat – not rice!). You throw the asparagus in the pot with the noodles. When it’s done you mix in the goat cheese, a little bit of water from the noodles, and a lot of fresh tarragon and lemon. It’s done in about 20 minutes and tastes really good. One pot.

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

I binged Wallander with Kenneth Branagh, it’s very good. I like historical fiction, Tracy Chevalier is one of my favorite authors lately. I’ve also been thinking about reading The Decameron, which was inspired by isolation during the Black Death quarantine and written in the 1300s.

dyed yarn8. What is your hobby? Name your top 5 recommendations

I’m a total knitting nerd, I knit year round. I knit for family, friends, and charity. I knit as a form of therapy.

  1. Ravelry, it’s social networking at it’s finest. You can find so many great designers and patterns on there.
  2. Knitting with fun colors and designs.
  3. I make a lot of Latvian mittens, they have nice designs and traditional patterns.
  4. I like dying my own yarn with plant sources; black walnuts from Tuck Drive, Phragmites – which is an invasive weed that has no value for wildlife but can be used as dye, flowers from my garden, lichen from rocks. Dying with plants is a lot of fun, it’s fun to see what you can get.
  5. My favorite source book is Wild Color by Jenny Dean, it’s a good book and has great information about dyeing yarn. Great pictures too!

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

I really do like going to Hawaii. I have family out there so I can stay busy. Where would I want to go to next… I’ve wanted to go to Norway since I was a teenager, it’s been on my list for a long time!

Facetiming with family10. What frivolous things do you miss about being out in the normal world?

I don’t know if you call visiting family frivolous, but I really do miss that. They don’t live around here, so it’s not like you can pop over and visit from afar. We use Family Crossings to stay in touch. You can share photos and chat with your family, we’ve been using it for about 10 years; it’s more private than Facebook.


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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