Meet Peter Schmalzer. Peter is the Manager of the Documentation and Training Team within Global Client Support Services. His team’s primary concern is providing great educational services to our clients on how to use our software.
What is your professional background? I earned my MLIS from the University of Washington iSchool in 2005, and have been working at Serials Solutions since then. I have a varied background though – I spent a long time in the food and wine industry, had a couple of small technology jobs, and even managed a jazz club for a while.
What do you like most about working for Serials Solutions? I like two things the most: our clients always surprise us with problems, uses and applications for technology we never would have thought of, and I like working with people who are really expert in their various fields. Both kinds of interactions are always inspiring to me.
What do you find most exciting about the future of the library? There’s nothing original about this thought, but of course what’s most exciting to me is that libraries – and librarians – have an opportunity to reinvigorate the institutions and what their roles mean in society. We are all grappling with it, and will for years to come. It seems to me, though, that if libraries try to compete with technology – the Internet at large – on the basis of “information” as a commodity, they will lose. But if they keep the focus on enabling understanding, they will always have a place and will always be healthy and vibrant institutions. Whatever form they may take.
Who is your favorite author? Author is kind of an elastic concept these days, isn’t it? If you mean writer, I honestly can’t say I have a favorite. I read what is interesting to me. If it’s well-written, that’s lovely.
Do you have a favorite library? If so, which one? I have two: the New York Public Library Schwartzman facility in Manhattan (which, by the way, is not a lending library). It’s a magnificent building with incredible collections and people from all walks of life actually go there to research and work. It’s amazing.
The other favorite is a little one-room library on the dusty streets of Barra de Potosi, Mexico. I found that one while vacationing a few years ago. To me, both of these buildings, one magnificent and one humble, represent the universal hunger for human understanding. To me they are equals in that respect.