“I’m wary of putting myself out there too much. I understand the appeal and I understand the importance of the whole digital world and the social networking, but it’s just something that I’ve really chosen or have any interest in.”
Steven or Stephen: Stephen
Birthplace: Devils Lake, N.D.
Lives in: Connecticut
Middle name: Jon
On Facebook: No
On LinkedIn: No
On Twitter: No
Runs a blog or personal site: No (but runs a blog as part of his job)
His story: As a librarian working in the 21st century, this Steve Schmidt knows all about the importance of adapting with the times. He maintains the library’s site where patrons can download a variety of audio books, e-books and other digital material directly to their various personal electronic devices.
He oversees the library’s several different blogs and even writes for a blog, “Lost in the Stacks,” which is devoted to obscure and forgotten novels, movies and music.
“I expressed interest and I was fairly good at it, so it became my job,” Steve says. “I mean you sort of have to change with the times to maintain your relevance, so if you don’t do that, you’re going to be forgotten.”
Still in spite understanding “the importance of moving ahead and staying ahead,” he also maintains his role as a standard-bearer of a much simpler time. For one, he is not involved with any form of the triumvirate of social media giants (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).
“I’m wary of putting myself out there too much. I understand the appeal and I understand the importance of the whole digital world and the social networking, but it’s just something that I’ve really chosen or have any interest in,” he says.
Secondly, he still prefers to feel the paper in his hands when reading a book or magazine. He says there is a large demographic of his library’s users that share the same sentiment. “Personally I find the idea of a book very difficult to improve upon. It reads well in direct sunlight, which is unlike a lot of readers that you hear about,” Steve says, referring to such devices as Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle.
Although he takes pleasure from submitting entries on his blog, he by no means is trying to use the blog as a type of vehicle to improve his self-brand on online identity.
“To me, I would hate to lose the enjoyment of it by having deadlines and pressures surrounding it,” he says. “Right now, it’s my own thing. It is what it is and I’m pretty comfortable with my standing and what I’m doing now.
“I don’t feel like I’m not that important in the scheme of things. I have my family and I have my job. I don’t know, I really don’t feel like I’m that brandable.”
And if he had his way, he would have a different name. “It kind of sounds kind of harsh to me,” he says. His wife, Laura, decided not to change her name when they married. Their two children, 9-year-old Owen and 5-year-old Ginger, both have Schmidt as their last name to avoid various forms of confusion, but he would have preferred they would have been given her surname, Katz. “I feel like that flows much more than Schmidt.”
Laura and Steve met in the late ’90s in Chicago through a friend who was a student at a university where Steve worked as a librarian. She initially thought about going the hyphen route when it came to her last name before a friend changed her mind.
“He said ‘What are you going to do?’ Are you going to hyphenate? I said, ‘I don’t know maybe.’ And he said, “Laura Katz-Schmidt… Oh that sounds like something you’ve stepped in. Oh, God I stepped in Katz-Schmidt.’ And I was like, Oh well there’s that. We won’t do the hypen.’ We’ll just stick with the one name.”