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Himmelfarb Headlines - November / December 2021

Staff Spotlight - Introducing Max Close, Daytime Reference Specialist

Staff Spotlight - Introducing Max Close, Daytime Reference SpecialistLearn more about Himmelfarb Library staff members. In this issue, we learn more about Max Close, Daytime Reference Specialist.

Where are you from originally, and what brought you to the DC area?
I moved to Silver Spring a little over two years ago to return to graduate school in public history- but have visited the area many times due to the presence of family friends, relatives, and its historical significance. I grew up in Concord, Massachusetts, birthplace of the American Revolution and among other things the site of the Carl Velleca Affair in 1976.

Tell us a little about your position and what you do?
Beyond directing people to the restrooms, the main component of this work is to handle a grab bag of queries on resource availability, hours and policies, directions, and reference questions. My other duty, and one perhaps not as specified in the formal job description, is to be a warm presence in the Library both when offering assistance in a formal transaction and even more so when not- becoming a presence which patrons seek out and desire to engage with.

What made you want to work at Himmelfarb Library?
The opportunity to meld my prior experience in library settings (two high schools and special collections libraries as well) with the potential to develop and manage exhibit spaces including the Art Show, but hopefully others. My hope is to bring other disciplines and subjects into the health sciences space and engage patrons and visitors on multiple dimensions.

As a new staff member, what do you enjoy most about working at Himmelfarb so far?
As with any new job, the development of one’s toolbox to handle one’s duties is tremendously satisfying. I feel I have adapted well to both colleagues and content- much faster than I had anticipated. I also feel my extroverted nature has had positive results in developing nascent relationships with colleagues and students and others. Libraries can be an introverted business, but I strive to transcend such stereotypes and it seems to be working? You tell me!

What’s been the biggest challenge?
The pandemic’s residuals: the struggle to re-engage with the University body and return them to the Library, reignite old patterns, yet all while maintaining a safe environment.

What do you like to do in your time away from work?
I’m a record enthusiast! I’ve been amassing a collection for 15 years and pride myself on my eclectic if archaic tastes. Come say hello at the Reference Desk and pick my brain about prog rock or jazz fusion and I promise I won’t be “prog rock pond scum set to bum you out” (once some choice newspaper review phraseology to skewer a King Crimson performance in Los Angeles 30 years ago.)


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