Carl Quiz: Brad Schaffner


Brad Schaffner, Carleton’s new librarian, came upon his profession by chance. He was writing a dissertation on Soviet history—with his sights set on becoming a college professor—when he got a job with the Indiana University library’s Soviet book exchange to pay his bills. “I liked it so much that I got a library science degree and have been a librarian ever since,” says Schaffner, who worked previously at the University of Kansas and most recently as head of the Slavic division at Harvard University’s Widener Library.

Schaffner earned an undergraduate degree at Gustavus Adolphus College and is excited to return to a small Minnesota liberal arts college. “I look forward to getting to know the students and faculty members more closely than I’ve been able to do in my past positions,” he says.  

The Voice asked Schaffner to check out the Carl Quiz.

Hometown: Almelund, Minnesota, about 55 miles northeast of Minneapolis

iStock_000020964841Small.jpgFour favorite climbs:

  1. Mount Rainier, Washington—we summited on an unusually clear morning
  2. Devils Tower, Wyoming—climbers tuck stuffed aliens into the rock as a nod to Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  3. Peru—they make U.S. mountains look small
  4. Mount Katahdin, Maine—it’s fun to walk across the knife-edge ridge between the two peaks

Favorite Libe feature: The welcoming entrance with Gould’s stuffed penguin, Oscar, and the statue of beloved campus cat, Toff

Strangest request: One of the libraries in Moscow requested every book the Soviet book exchange could get on Michael Jackson. 

Best library to tour: The Czech National Library, Prague
Why: Its interesting collections and exhibits combine old books and new digital materials

Favorite fictional library: Sunnydale High School Library (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Why: It has a world-class rare books collection, and whenever the characters have a problem, the librarian always helps them find the answer.

metal-type.jpgBiggest surprise of your career: At a library in Ukraine, my research partner and I discovered an important book collection that had been misplaced behind two rows of books.

Biggest library innovation: Invention of printing press and moveable type
Why: It initiated the first information revolution. Because publications could be mass-produced at a reasonable cost, they became available to more libraries and to a much broader cross section of society.

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