This week I had a conversation with Indiana State Library Director of Building Operations Scott Lambert, aka ‘Building Grunt’ as he affectionately puts it. Scott has been a fixture at the library since 2005 and always provides interesting conversation. If you are not familiar with Scott, this interview will give you a chance to get to know him a little more.
RB: How did you come to work at the Indiana State Library?
SL: Well…actually, I went to school and got an Associate’s Degree in Medical Billing. I did that for about a year and hated it. I couldn’t stand it ‘cause all you do is talk to mad people all the time. So, I decided to get out of that and I started here as a secretary in the Indiana Division. That was my first position here, and I worked that for about a year. Ron Rose was the supervisor of the CSD Division.
RB: That’s circulation, right?
SL: Yes, circulation support. They were just starting to do the meetings and stuff in the building – they had never really done that sort of thing before, and I took over the coordination of those meetings for him [Ron Rose]. Later on, he basically said that he was going to supervise CSD and I would take over the building and all the meeting stuff. So, I did that until he retired a few years ago, and I got promoted to his position. But they split it up and made it Director of Operations and a separate CSD position. I didn’t have to do the CSD supervision stuff anymore, which was okay with me because I didn’t really care for that.
RB: Isn’t that something a librarian would be doing?
SL: Well…not necessarily CSD. Every other division, it would have to be somebody with a library degree – MLS, isn’t that it? CSD prefers someone with library experience, but it is not necessary to hold that position.
RB: I remember you telling me before that at one point you owned your own business.
SL: Uh huh.
RB: So, that was before you went to school?
RB: What kind of business was it?
SL: I sold NASCAR die-cast and my ex-wife had a business selling candles. We went around doing shows and sold both of them and then we had a flea market up in Daleville and we had a shop in Metamora.
RB: Daleville, eh? I’ve driven past there many times on my way to Ball State.
SL: Yeah, you know that great big flea market right beside the interstate there? That’s where we were, we had a shop right in there.
RB: Things have changed a lot all the way up that highway from Fishers to Muncie. It used to be pretty much deserted with the exception of Anderson.
SL: Oh yeah, there has been a lot of change up there.
RB: So…what do you like most about working at the library?
SL: I like the atmosphere, there is a lot of good people here. It can get hectic at times, but overall, it is a good place to work. I like pretty much everybody I work with.
RB: Yeah, even me? [Jokingly]
RB: And Angela?
SL: My nemesis…[Laughing]
RB: For the people that aren’t familiar with what you do, could you describe some of the duties you have here besides setting up for events?
SL: I schedule all of the meetings. We’ve got everything from most of the state agencies, nonprofits, and the governor’s office has meetings here. I pretty much…if there is moving stuff in the building, I usually take care of that unless it is something that is too big for me to do, then I have facilities do it. But, if it is something like moving desks from one area to another or stuff like that, I will take care of all that. I’ve got to walk the building all the time to make sure that there are no building issues. I look for leaks and trouble issues. I work on all of the capital improvement projects that we do here. I’ve been involved with the new education center that is going to be going in. I’m pretty much in charge of taking care of the building and making sure that everything in here is kept up.
RB: How would an agency or nonprofit book an event with you?
SL: They can get on the website www.in.gov/library and my contact info is on there. They can email me or call me, either one, about getting a room and getting it set up the way they want. We’re not a full-fledged conference center or anything like that, but we can handle most ‘normal’ meeting requirements.
RB: What is your largest capacity?
SL: If we do theater-style in the History Reference Room, we can accommodate about 275 people.
RB: Is there a cost to use the space?
SL: Right now the only thing there is a cost for is a special event, which would be like a wedding or a reception. If it’s a state agency or a nonprofit, there is no charge for that.
RB: What do you do for fun outside of the library?
SL: Well…normally on the weekends my Saturday consists of maybe golfing. I golfed a lot years, but I quit golfing and I just started again about a month or two ago after about a 20 year layoff. So, I’m getting reacquainted with that. Normally, like on a Saturday evening, me and my friends get together, cook out and play corn hole. That’s pretty much my Saturday evening deals there and Sunday, if I can, I will go golfing again.
RB: I am a terrible golfer.
SL: I used to be not too bad. I wasn’t great or nothing at it, but I enjoyed it and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I started playing again. It’s a very frustrating game, but it’s fun.
RB: I don’t think people realize how difficult it is.
SL: It’s a lot harder. If you have never done it before, you don’t realize how hard it really is.
RB: Yeah, and I think what keeps you coming back is you get that one good shot. [Chuckles]
SL: Yeah, and it’s like, “I know I can keep doing that.” But that’s just it, doing it shot after shot after shot is hard to do.
RB: Have you ever been to one of the professional tournaments?
SL: No…oh wait, yeah, they had one of the senor tournaments here and I went to that. They make it look so easy, it is nauseating.
RB: I went to the PGA Championship when they last had it in Carmel. That was awesome to see. They hit the ball so easily…but I assume it is like when I play guitar. A lot of it must be muscle memory and you do it so many times that you do it the same every time.
SL: Uh huh, yeah. Exactly.
RB: I guess that’s why I don’t understand how professional basketball players can miss free throws.
SL: [Laughing] that’s true, I never thought about that…
RB: Because it’s really muscle memory.
SL: That’s true, because your swing is the same way. You know, it’s coordinating your arms and hips. Your hips have got a lot to do with the golf swing. You have to bring everything together at the right time and doing it constantly is hard to do.
RB: I always ask everybody this…do you have a favorite item or favorite thing about the library building?
SL: My favorite thing in the building would be the great hall. I like the great hall; I think it is cool with the stained glass windows. It just reminds you of old school library stuff, the old card catalogue and all that kind of stuff. I think that is probably the coolest thing in the building to me because I don’t know a whole lot about the collection and stuff like that. I don’t get involved with that. It’s like when they have the supervisors meetings down here and I’m lost through 90 percent of that. I try to just retain what applies to me and then the rest of it, they do their library lingo.
RB: Before you started working here, did you know about the state library?
SL: Actually, no I didn’t. I didn’t even know that it existed. Well, I mean, I did when I applied for the job, but prior to that I didn’t.
RB: I didn’t either. I didn’t know until the spring of 2014, because I was working at the Department of Education and I was trying to find some government information. Someone said, “You should try the state library.” I was like, “Oh, that’s what that building is across the street.”
RB: So I came in here, and Katie was the one that helped me. She found some information for me about a state senator that I was having a difficult time locating.
SL: Yeah, it’s amazing how many people will say, “Oh, you work at the state library? That’s the new one they built downtown.” No…it’s not the public library, it’s the state library. They are two totally different things. Then the first thing they want to know is “well what is it then?”
RB: Well, how would you describe it to people?
SL: I would say the state library is more of a research library than the public library. You know, a lot of federal and state documents, historical stuff…
RB: What would you say would be the attraction to people to come in here?
SL: I’m kinda stuck on the old part of the building. The architecture on the old part of the building is really cool. Of course that is my favorite part of the building, the new part of the building is kind of blah. It’s neat that everything in the old part of the building comes from Indiana. You know, it’s all Indiana-based stuff, and to me that is the coolest part of the building.