Have you ever wondered to yourself: Why hasn’t the library ever burned down? What prevents librarians from curling into balls of mania beneath their desks? How is the library not a teeming mass of disorganization? When was it first apparent that librarians cannot function without a magnanimous figurehead? In fact – who secretly runs the library?

The easy answer is that there’s only one answer, and that’s to invoke the inimitable Anna Lane:

Her Highness Anna

Who is Anna, you might ask? If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her, Anna’s official title is Assistant to the Dean. This title doesn’t begin to convey the thousandfold implication of her duties, though. Simply put – Anna is why the library doesn’t resemble a post-apocalyptic landscape on any given day of the week.

Which is to say – we think she’s pretty awesome, and she was recently recognized for all which makes her Anna and us her mere subjects.

At the end of April, the Tennessee Library Association held its annual conference in Chattanooga. A handful of awards were given to individuals who exemplify the field we’ve all given our lives to. One of those was the Library Support Staff Award, now in its 7th year. Sponsored by the TLA Honors and Awards Committee, the award recognizes an outstanding performance in four areas of librarian support:

a) Ability to demonstrate superior and/or creative knowledge and skills in a staff support position;
b) May have assumed duties formerly performed by a Librarian;
c) Promotes the Library with a positive attitude;
d) Performs above and beyond the call of duty in the role of support staff when assisting a Librarian in serving the needs of the Library.

When the numbers were tallied and the dust settled, only one regal individual was left standing and that was Anna. In addition to a plaque, Anna was conferred a tiara. We also feel she’s entitled to additional honorifics, but we’ll have to run those by university HR. Post-conference, we asked Anna a few questions about the award and her time here at the library:

1. How long have you worked at the Library?
I transferred to the Library in 2003 but I have worked at UTC since 1999.

2. What’s an unexpected joy about working here?
I am a “people person” so I really enjoy getting to know my colleagues and being able to share a laugh (and sometimes a tear) with my work family. I would also say I am excited to move in to our new library after many years of planning.

3. What does winning the award mean to you?
Knowing that colleagues and Dean Liedtka thought enough of my work to nominate me for this award was very gratifying and actually winning the award meant someone outside the Library thought my contributions were worthy of an award. I received many congratulatory e-mails from colleagues when it was announced I was the recipient of the award and those comments made me feel special. I have saved the e-mails so when I am having a particularly challenging day I can re-read them and get a boost. And, of course, how often does one receive a tiara for a job well done?

4. Now that you own a tiara, how would you like to be addressed?
Even without the tiara I wanted to be addressed as Princess or Queen but now with the tiara I am going to insist on Your Highness.

5. What song title best describes your years at the library?
Going strictly by song title and not necessarily lyrics I am going to narrow it to four:  She Works Hard for the Money (Donna Summer), You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones), Working for the Weekend (Loverboy) and Spread Your Wings (Queen).

6. When you aren’t working hard for the money, how do you kick back & relax?
I enjoy watching movies, playing pinball, reading, crocheting and spending time with my dogs. My children are grown and live in Nashville so I like to visit them and try new restaurants. And once a year I go to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo to play with tiger cubs (NOTE: This last part is not a joke. This happens. –Ed.).

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