This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions
. . by Kiersten Bryant, Head Editor, INALJ California
Jon Haupt …Wine Librarian
Jon: I started as Wine Librarian in July, 2012. Before that, I was a music librarian for about eight years – first at Iowa State University and then Southern Methodist University in Dallas. I served as Interim Director of the Hamon Arts Library for a year and a half as well. I was on the lookout for something different, preferably in Northern California and preferably relating in some way to food and drink. While I’ve had an interest in wine for a while and knew enough to get me started, I definitely felt like I was starting over with subject expertise, but ultimately, it was the broad and extensive library experience and other intangibles that are needed for this job.
Kiersten: Tell us a little bit more about what you do as the Wine Librarian.
Jon: The Wine Library is a lot like other libraries… only we deal specifically with wine-related resources. We focus on both consumer and industry information needs, and the collections span a very wide range of formats, genres, and subjects. We have rare books dating back to 1512 along with the most recent publications; Other than our 5,000 books, we also have around 65 current periodical subscriptions, wine labels, posters, maps, games, and other ephemera. In addition to reference and collection development, my job includes project management, working with our 501(c)3 support organization (friends group), interacting with industry partners, development (seeking out industry subscribers, working with donors, etc.), shepherding digital projects, collection management, and supervision of support staff (or lack thereof, at the moment) and volunteers.
Kiersten: What do you like best about the Sonoma County Wine Library?
Jon: First, all of the myriad aspects of the position, all of those things I just mentioned in the previous question; and second, the subject. I have loved all things culinary since I was a child and it’s fantastic to be working as a subject specialist librarian in that area. I enjoyed being a music librarian, too, having a couple of music degrees before I went to library school, but I was ready for a change, and I love working with the various culinary professionals in wine country!
Kiersten: What are some interesting, unique, or odd items in the Wine Library’s collection?
Jon: We have a lot of beautiful rare tomes about wine… I always enjoy looking through our copies of the seven-volume Viala and Vermorel Ampelographie of the early 1900s. We are adding that one to the Internet Archive… here’s an image of Cabernet Sauvignon.
There are so many other unusual books… a pop-up book with a whole château inside… a copy of an 1889 program of the fête des vignerons from Vevey, on the banks of Lake Geneva, with a full-color hand-tinted illustration of a procession that, unfolded, measures approximately 17 feet.
Along a totally different track, everyone likes the game from 1969 called Chug-A-Lug. It’s a game of drinking skill plus smoking, drinking more, removing articles of clothing, drinking even more, and various other forms of depravity. We also have a 1979 book called Wine for Slobs that belongs to a long trend of books telling you all you need to know about enjoying wine, but in a special way.
Kiersten: What is your favorite book – either in your library’s collection or a personal favorite?
Jon: My favorite book is the one sitting in front of me, whichever that may be… or the one I feel like reading right now. Perhaps one that pairs well with a nice far West Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir? I try to read fiction and non-fiction fairly equally… recently, I’ve enjoyed The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Taste by Barb Stuckey.
Jon: I could never keep up with lists of things that I liked to follow, like with Google Reader or anything like that… I really like Flipboard-style apps that allow you to follow lots of blogs and websites by subject. I am especially into food blogs… no surprise there, I guess.
Kiersten: Best piece of job hunting/career advice?
Jon: Early in your career, you can either focus on trying to do a particular kind of librarianship, or you can choose a place you want to live… trying to get both can be pretty tough.
Make sure to seek out people with good writing style who can read your application materials and don’t be afraid to have them read everything.
You can’t make crazy people happy. (That gem comes from a favorite former colleague. Thanks, Beverly!)
Jon Haupt is Wine Librarian at the Sonoma County Wine Library in Healdsburg, CA. The Wine Library¹s collections span the entire interdisciplinary subject of wine, representing 5 centuries of wine texts, and the library also serves as the historical archive of California North Coast wine history. Prior to this appointment in 2012, Jon was Interim Director and Music Librarian at the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library on the campus of Southern Methodist University and Fine & Performing Arts Librarian at Iowa State University.