Did you know that the Library has its very own “Galapagos Librarian”? Many of you may know Laura Bredahl as the Liaison Librarian for Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, and Astronomy, but for 10 weeks during the fall term she was also the International Librarian Volunteer at the Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos archipelagos.
Working in the Station’s Corely Smith Library, Laura managed the library’s overall operations, catalogued items for the collection, worked on special projects, wrote the library’s newsletter, and provided research help to students, volunteers, researchers, locals, Galapagos National Park staff, and technical staff.
“It was a lot to pack into 10 weeks!” she admits.
The Corely Smith Library is a small library with a specialized collection which includes a Galapagos collection (containing numerous theses and reports), a Darwin collection (with publications by and about Darwin), rare books, journals, maps, archives, Galapagos aerial photos, and a general collection of sciences and natural sciences books.
In her The Galapagos Librarian blog, Laura shares that the oldest item in the library’s collection is from 1535. “It's actually an article written by Tomas Berlanga called Carta al Emperador Carlos V, Dando Cuenta del Descubrimiento de Las Islas,” she says. “From my rudimentary translation skills, I believe it is an account of the discovery of the islands.”
Working in one of the fastest-evolving places on earth wasn’t entirely fast-paced for Laura. In Ecuador, she explains, it is customary for most businesses to close from 12-2 pm every day, during which time she would hit the beach.
“There were two beaches within a very short walk, plus a great boat launch where many of the staff and volunteers would go swimming and snorkeling at lunchtime. Every day I would take a walk about 100 m from the library to the boat launch to see the marine iguanas hanging out.”
Laura also made an entertaining video of one marine iguana.
Laura will maintain her involvement with the Corely Smith Library by sitting on the library’s board. To learn more about her adventures see her The Galapagos Librarian blog.