Over the past few months, we’ve welcomed new colleagues to the DePaul University Library. To get to know them a bit better and give them an opportunity to share a little about themselves, I asked them a few questions.
When did you start at DePaul? What is your job title and what are your responsibilities?
Nile Arena: I’m the Circulation Supervisor in Access Services at the John T. Richardson Library as of October 2023. I help oversee the library student staff and assist in the daily workflow and departmental duties in Access Services, particularly with those wonderful circulating materials: checking them out, checking them in, routing them elsewhere, holding them for students, staff, and faculty and assisting in locating them when patrons have difficulty or seek materials beyond the physical holdings of the JTR Library itself.
Louis Dhoore: I started at DePaul in September as a M.M.Composition student at the School of Music! My role as an Access Services Supervisor (evenings and weekends) started on November 6, 2023.
Jeff Endriss: As of May 2023, I’ve been an Archives Processing Assistant for the Special Collections and Archives department. My responsibilities include accessioning incoming items, processing materials, and assisting patrons with both material requests and research questions in our reading room.
John Martino: I started as a Part-time Reference Librarian in August 2023. I work at the Richardson Library’s Research Help Desk where I help folks with researching our catalog and databases; plus (eventually!), I will teach information literacy instruction sessions for WRD104 classes.
Ashunta Owens-Davis: I started at DePaul Loop Library on October 16, 2023, and I am the new evening Access Services Supervisor. I assist students with checking out books, movies, video games, and electronic equipment and with reserving study spaces.
Shelby Rainford: I started as a Part-time Reference Librarian at the Lincoln Park campus in August of this year. In this role, I help answer reference questions that come in through our chat service; next term, I will be helping with research workshops for WRD 104/HON 100 courses.
Ian Williams: I am the Stacks Maintenance Supervisor, and I started at DePaul in May of 2023.
Where were you before joining the DePaul University Library?
Nile Arena: Working for the Chicago International Film Festival. Before that I was helping run Cicada Cinema, the film-focused community arts organization I co-founded in Bloomington, Indiana. Concurrently, I served as an Archives Assistant for the Kinsey Institute’s Library & Archives and as a Master Control Operator for a local television station. To me, factotum is not a bad word.
Louis Dhoore: I am a recent graduate of St. Olaf College where I worked for over three years as a student circulation worker at the Halverson Music Library!
Jeff Endriss: Previously, I worked with the local government for The Walt Disney Company in Florida as an aquatic biologist in their environmental sciences division.
John Martino: I actually started my library career here 🙂 I was a Peer Research Tutor at the Research Help Desk from 2016-2017. That job inspired me to continue working in a number of different libraries since then, most recently at The Newberry Library as a Special Collections Library Assistant. I also worked on my MSLIS online at the University of Illinois while I worked and graduated in December 2022.
Ashunta Owens-Davis: Before joining DePaul, I worked as a payroll specialist for Consilio Legal Services.
Shelby Rainford: Before DePaul, I was a library science graduate student while working as a library assistant at Francis W. Parker School. I still work at Parker full-time and love working with kids.
Ian Williams: I was the Reserves Processing Assistant at the D’Angelo Law Library.
What is a favorite book, film, album, video game, etc. that is available in the Library catalog?
Nile Arena: My favorite “stumbled upon find” thus far is Harold Pinter with Benedict Nightingale (VHS. 822.91 P659Yn) on the 2nd floor of the JTR Library, which looks like a terrific videocassette. As far as books go, I’m delighted to see the Mark Osteen-edited White noise: Text and Criticism is in the stacks. That particular edition helped me an awful lot when I finished reading Don DeLillo’s novel and wanted to learn more about how it was received in 1985 (and beyond).
Louis Dhoore: One of my favorite available resources right now is the score and parts to Alberto Ginastera’s String Quartet no. 2, held in the music section. I’m an avid performer of chamber music, and that’s a work that I hope to one day be lucky enough to perform.
Jeff Endriss: I’m super grateful that our library has a graphic novel section. Uncomfortably Happily by Yeon-sik Hong was probably my favorite graphic novel of the year. I’m also currently reading A Life of Adventure and Delight: Stories by Akhil Sharma, which has been great as well.
John Martino: How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith, an incredibly deep-dive and inquiry into how the U.S. remembers and thinks about slavery. Probably my favorite non-fiction book of all time, especially because of how Smith himself narrated the audiobook. (Pssst, you can check that audiobook out at the Chicago Public Library! You didn’t hear me say that!)
Ashunta Owens-Davis: Book: Currently, I’m reading How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan (located in our Unwind the Mind collection). Film: I’m totally into horror, so The Cabin in the Woods is on my favorites list. Video Game: Any Lego game! I love Legos and puzzle-type video games. We have The Lego Movie Videogame on Xbox here at the Loop Library.
Shelby Rainford: Nope (2022) directed by Jordan Peele. I love horror!
Ian Williams: My favorite book available in the Library catalog is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. One of my favorite movies available in the Library is Portrait of a Lady on Fire. It’s cataloged under its French title: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu.
What is your favorite hobby or activity to do in Chicago?
Nile Arena: I sure do love going to the movies, especially at the Music Box, the Siskel, the Davis and, sometimes, even waaaaaay out at NEIU’s campus when the Chicago Film Society has its Wednesday screenings there. Rough travel for a rare thing. When not sitting in the semi-dark watching flickering images, I also like going to concerts, live theater, and improv.
Louis Dhoore: I thoroughly enjoy getting to go to new music concerts at venues like Constellation! I also live just down the street from the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is always a fun excursion.
Jeff Endriss: Going to new exhibits at the Art Institute and MCA is always great. Catching movies at the new Alamo Drafthouse in Wrigleyville or at the Music Box Theatre also tends to fill up my weekends.
John Martino: I love a street festival. Lincoln Square’s Apple Fest and Oktoberfestiversary organized by Begyle and Dovetail breweries were recent fun fests. I’ve also recently started playing basketball at Horner Park’s outdoor court, though I’ll move to the Ray once fall decides to stop giving us so many warm days!
Ashunta Owens-Davis: Chicago is so full of things to do but most importantly places to eat! I’m always looking for my next favorite restaurant. Currently my fav place is Wildfire. I also love discovering different arcades and game rooms. Dave & Buster’s is a great place for both.
Shelby Rainford: I love knitting and crocheting and spent the last year designing and making a crochet blanket based on the TV series Our Flag Means Death.
Ian Williams: I like to visit the museums in Chicago, especially the Art Institute. I also enjoy all the improv and live shows Chicago has – I always recommend people go see a showing of The Infinite Wrench when they come into town.
Any family or pets you wish to brag about?
Louis Dhoore: My wonderful partner is currently abroad (Japan) in a language-immersion intensive, and I have a hefty orange cat at home named Tango.
Jeff Endriss: I have two cats named Jiji and Frida.
John Martino: My partner’s cat Lacey and I are best friends. Other than her, I have a bunch of plants, including a decently successful outdoor basil! I also have a four-year old sourdough starter I’ve named Macho Mom.
Ashunta Owens-Davis: I have a beautiful wife named Tameka and a Pitbull named Cherry. My wife and I got married in Vegas in 2020 right in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. Cherry is 8 years old, and we share the same birthday month, October.
Shelby Rainford: My cat, Meeko, does a great Jack Torrance impression.
Ian Williams: I don’t have any pets, but my nephew is a cool little guy – he’s four and loves garbage trucks and Star Wars.
Coffee or tea?
Nile Arena: Both, please! Coffee in the morning and tea for the unwinding hours.
Louis Dhoore: Coffee. No doubt about it.
Jeff Endriss: Definitely both. Coffee in the morning for maximum caffeine and tea in the afternoon so I can still fall asleep at a decent hour.
John Martino: Coffee in all its forms! But I’m not gonna refuse a tea if it’s offered (and the only option).
Ashunta Owens-Davis: I am a tea drinker! Either cold or hot. I also occasionally enjoy a cold caramel macchiato from Starbucks. (no hot coffee for me 🙁)
Shelby Rainford: Hot chocolate 🙂
Ian Williams: I like both, but I would choose coffee every time.