Katharine Van Arsdale is a Texan-turned-Californian who loves books. This is appropriate, considering her profession: She is one of our team of librarians here at PUC who helps students and other faculty find what they need. Katy adores her two cats, Mochi and Meeka, and has a passion for history. Without further ado, introducing: Katharine Van Arsdale!
Name: Katharine Van Arsdale
Title: Special Collections Librarian
Faculty since: 2015
Classes taught: Information literacy sessions for all kinds of cool classes in different departments
Education: B.A. English, Andrews University; MSLS Library & Information Science, Catholic University of America; M.A. History, Catholic University of America
What made you decide to be a librarian?
I’m a special collections librarian at an academic library, which is honestly my dream job. The “special collections” part means I get to work with rare books and archives full of old letters and photographs and diaries. It’s all the coolest stuff in the library. I knew I wanted to do this job when I was a kid and I visited museums. I saw all the interesting objects hidden behind glass and I thought to myself, “I want to be the one who has permission to touch all the historic things.” So that’s what I do now every day, and it’s great. The best part is that I work in an academic library’s collection, which means that I’m making these rare books and fragile photographs available to student researchers. I’m taking the cool exhibits out from behind the glass and sharing history with PUC, and I love that.
What are some of your hobbies?
I’m obsessed with National Parks. My life goal is to visit and hike in every National Park. California is a great state for this, because a lot of the most beautiful parks in the United States are here within driving distance of PUC.
What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in Texas, and until I was about 10 I spoke with a thick Texan drawl. It’s totally gone now. Well, mostly.
What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
I love the campus. There are trees and flowers everywhere, and the views are always changing as you walk across the campus because it’s hilly. Many of the buildings are historic, and they have very interesting architecture. The campus is also special because it’s close to wilderness and city, mountains and ocean. From PUC, we can go for a hike in the forest preserve, or we can take a day trip to San Francisco. It’s all nearby.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
I love standing on the steps to Irwin Hall when the sun is setting. You get such a gorgeous view of the campus and the sky.
What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is “The Count of Monte Cristo” because it’s a glorious revenge tale but also a classic book, so you feel very cultured and smart when you finish reading it.
What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
If you have questions or problems with any stage of research or study, you can text the library. Did you know that? It’s true! We have a Text-a-Librarian number so you can get help even when you can’t come to the library. Try it—the number is (707) 948-6639!