The Schaffer Spotlight: Andrea Belair

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What is the Schaffer Spotlight?

The Schaffer Spotlight is an initiative of Schaffer Library’s Outreach Committee meant to help you get to know us and what we do better. Each month we’ll publish on our website a profile of a member of the Schaffer Library team, which will share who they are, what they do, and some fun facts about them.

We’re hoping that this “Get to Know your Library Team” initiative will help further make us approachable, show how we help Union College, and help our newer hires become better known; we’re also excited to learn more about the people we work with every day! We thought that doing this is particularly valuable now as the pandemic has made meeting face-to-face so difficult. We miss our favorite thing--our daily interactions with you--but we hope that this will help us stay connected in the meantime.

Andrea Belair

"The work is very intellectually stimulating."

Interview with Andrea Belair

In one sentence, what do you do here?

My job title is Archives and Special Collections Librarian, and I work with archives in the Department of Special Collections in Schaffer Library where I provide instruction, reference services, and I process and preserve archival materials.

What do you like about your job?

Union has a fascinating history and it is really wonderful to be able to work so directly with the collections in our department. The work is very intellectually stimulating.

What made you want to become a librarian?

I’ve always loved reading and books, but it hadn’t occurred to me to become a librarian for quite a while. I knew someone who was an archivist and it seemed like it would be a cool job. At some point I figured that I could see myself working as a librarian and I pursued it, and I’m glad that I did.

How do you help Union College?

I think I help give the Union College community access to its history, and I provide tools that people can use to research in the future.

How long have you worked at Schaffer Library?

I’ve worked at Schaffer Library for about 2.5 years.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the mountains and forest near a small rural village in western Massachusetts, what we call “the Foothills of the Berkshires.”

What work did you do before coming to Schaffer?

Before coming to Schaffer Library, I worked for six years as the Archivist for the President’s Office at Yale University.

Favorite book?

I’ve had so many favorite books in my life that it’s hard to choose, but a recent book that was interesting was the Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Schaffer owns it. Not a lifetime favorite necessarily, but I’d recommend it. I am currently reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer which has some similar themes.

How do you typically start your day? What’s the first thing you do upon waking up?

The absolute first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is feed our two cats, who are undoubtedly waiting for me and meowing.

What do you do when not at work?

When not working, I can often be found hiking or walking, or possibly at a record store that I co-own with my husband.

Andrea Belair
Andrea Belair outside, enjoying a hike this past summer.

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Schenectady, NY 12308

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