You might already recognize the reference librarians at the Chester Fritz Library: they are usually the the ones sitting behind the Ask a Librarian desk that sits straight ahead as you walk into the Library. If you want to know more about these helpful people, you’re in luck! We’re starting a “Get to Know Your Reference Librarians” series today to give you the scoop on some interesting facts and stories from your favorite reference librarians.
Today, we’ll learn more about Kristen Borysewicz, who is the subject specialist for art, communication program, English, music, theatre arts, and languages. To contact Kristen or to learn more about her educational background, be sure to visit her profile page.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a farm town in New Jersey, which may sound surprising until one remembers that it is the “garden state.” Our neighborhood had been a tomato farm until it was subdivided. My parents had an enormous garden and even supplied local restaurants with their tomatoes. The town is called Whitehouse Station and it has a deep colonial heritage as a Dutch settlement. There was no McDonald’s and the local butcher/grocer did not have automated conveyor belts at the grocery checkout. The cashier would pull a wooden handle to advance the purchases to the register. Driving to college near Princeton, I traveled routes ridden upon by George Washington and his troops. In short, lots of colonial history and much more bucolic settings than people usually equate with New Jersey.
How did you make your way to the Grand Forks area?
I jokingly tell people that my husband Henry and I had a wonderful life in Pittsburgh PA and he said, “I want to go to North Dakota and get a Master’s degree in Space Studies.” I was ready to stay behind in Pittsburgh but I came out in June to look for an apartment and fell in love with the big blue sky. Job opportunities and a wonderful quality of life enticed us to stay – despite the trials of the 1997 flood.
What is your favorite place to eat in the Grand Forks area and what do you usually order (or what would you recommend)?
I hate to say but I much prefer to cook at home. I’ve learned to make a real good New York style pizza and my co-worker Teji supplies me with wonderful Indian/Malaysian lunches every week. On the rare occasion we go out to eat, the Blue Moose is a great stand by – we like to support local restaurants rather than chains.
What is your favorite spot in Chester Fritz Library?
I love the sunny 4th floor. As I conduct tours I always say that if I were a student, that’s where I would study. It’s quiet, nice artwork, and not too crowded.
Why did you decide to become a librarian?
I was living in Pittsburgh which has one of the top library science graduate programs in the U.S. I wasn’t sure what aspect of librarianship I wanted to do so I took a lot of different classes. I enjoy the job aspects which preserve and organize information, plus make it accessible to users. A focus of my work now is to instill appreciation of those aspects to a wider public. We do a lot behind the scenes on campus to seamlessly provide access to information and sometimes people mistakenly believe that libraries aren’t necessary. We are still connecting people and information, just in different ways.
What is the craziest or most interesting job you’ve ever had?
Working in the restaurant business as a waitress in New Jersey was crazy – I worked in Diners, upscale Italian restaurants and well as a chain similar to Applebee’s. It was a hard way to make spending money when I was in college. My first job after graduating was for a local newspaper. I learned how to write well, how to listen to people’s stories and how to network with total strangers as an event newcomer. I will never forget those lessons and I still think about some of the people I encountered.
What strange skill do you have that many other people don’t?
I’ve been a dancer since age 4 and when I first moved out here – over twenty years ago – I danced with the North Dakota Ballet Company for several shows.
What skill or talent do you wish you had?
I wish I could sew. My mother is a wonderful seamstress – even costuming shows and ballerina outfits. My great-grandmother sewed wedding dresses in Ukraine. I can barely sew a button much less hem pants or make quilts. I did not inherit that gift.
What do you think your life’s theme song would be?
I’m thinking it should be some ’70’s TV show theme song because I watched a tremendous amount of television growing up. However, I’d say “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” fits me well. I do like to dance to “Because I’m Happy.”
What book do you think everyone should read and why?
Anything by Dr. Seuss. He’s the greatest poet of our time, I believe. I’ve spent so many hours with my children on my lap reading these stories that I can recite them by heart – I never tire of them. I plan on giving Oh the Places You Will Go to my daughter next year when she graduates high school.