Meet Andra Crawford, Catalog & Special Collections Librarian

andra120Who are you?
I’m the Catalog Librarian and also Special Collections Librarian.

What is your role in the library?
I’m chiefly responsible for getting descriptions of books, CDs, DVDs –anything that the library has- into our catalog (database): Biblion. I try to make sure that things are accurately and consistently described and easy for library users to find. Right now, I’m making a lot of changes to bring Biblion up to new international standards of description. I’m also in the process of changing electronic links -in large batches- in all of our e-books (about 95,000!) so that they’ll be available through the new proxy system. This will allow Academy community members to easily access electronic resources from off-campus -it’s going to be great!  I also oversee the library’s special collections: Alumni/ae Collection, American History, Travel & Exploration and several others. We have some amazing things that aren’t widely known about. The gem of the special collections is a copy of Shakespeare’s “second folio.”  Printed in 1632, it’s the second edition his works and is very rare: it was a gift from an Academy alumnus, of course.

What are your interests or hobbies?
My husband and I are devoted back-yard bird-watchers, but we’ve also travelled to Belize, Honduras and other Central American countries to see birds and to visit Mayan ruins.  We’re also frequent museum visitors. I play doubles tennis – not terribly well, but I keep trying.

Any fun facts?
We saw a snowy owl from our living-room recently! (Had to use a telescope.) I never thought I’d be putting that on my “yard-list.”

Favorite book?
I love reading books about exotic and adventurous travel: my all-time favorite is Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron. Also, the books by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood about their adventures in Central America in the 1840s are great fun and exhibit a surprisingly modern sense of humor. They essentially re-discovered and popularized ancient Mayan culture. Another wonderful writer is Tim Mackintosh-Smith, who wrote 3 books about his adventures following the trail of Ibn Battutah, the 14th century adventurer,  in the Middle East, Africa, Sri Lanka…

Favorite movie?
Hmm -maybe The Maltese Falcon. I can’t get into a lot of explosions and gore.

Favorite sport?  Tennis, of course.

Favorite food?  I love Italian food, but it’s always fun to try new things.