Q&A: Meet new library assistant Melissa Carpenter: catalog researcher by day, juggler by night (video included)

Melissa Carpenter
Jacqueline Chao
Melissa Carpenter

New library assistant Melissa Carpenter grew up in Sacramento and will be taking the spot of Reggie Gay, who replaced Mollie Hawkins. Carpenter recently graduated from Sacramento City College and was looking for a job near home.

Q: What brings you to SCDS?

A: I was looking for a change. My previous job was very research-focused, and I wanted something new and different. Country Day sounded very cool when I was researching online.  

Q: Where did you work before?

A: I worked at the California State Library Foundation as a catalog researcher.

Q: I heard you worked on archival projects at the California State Library Foundation? What were they like?

A: I was working on things for Central Pacific Railroad and other collections, including James Beckwourth, a pioneer mountain man. I sorted through documents and made finding aids, documents that helped sort through the collection. I also figured out the story behind each collection since everything was mismatched.

Q: Where did you attend college? What was your major?

A: I majored in library and information technology at Sac City College. Before attending Sac City, I went to Humboldt State in Arcata my first year out of high school, and then I transfered. I worked in the library at Humboldt State for my first job, and I really enjoyed it. This inspired me to major in this field.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I love to read, and I really like video games. Right now, my favorite videogames are “Red Dead Redemption” and “Grand Theft Auto.”

I also really like binge-watching Netflix. My favorite Netflix series is “Bojack Horseman.” It is an adult cartoon with anthropomorphic animals and is insightful but depressing.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: “Z.” It’s about Zelda Fitzgerald and her life before and after she married (author) F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Louisville, Kentucky. I lived there until I was 3. Then I moved to Sacramento and have pretty much lived here ever since.  

Q: Where did you attend high school?

A: I attended Sheldon High School.  Comparing Sheldon to Country Day, there is a huge difference. First off, my class was gigantic. (I think I had around 800 kids in my graduating class, more than five times the size of Country Day high school.) Sheldon was a standard public school, rigid and formulaic.

Q: What is something surprising that most people don’t know about you?

A: I know how to juggle. I took a circus course for a year out of high school.

When I was first learning to juggle, they made me stand up against the wall. At the time I thought it was weird, but they later explained to me that people usually have a tendency to walk forward when they juggle. They also made me practice juggling scarves. I can juggle three objects at a time. We went to a convention in Berkeley, and I learned how to do circus acts. Now whenever there are oranges or apples around, I juggle them for fun.   

By Briana Davies

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