I started working in the library of my undergraduate institution my first year of college and have been employed by university libraries ever since. The dynamic academic environment is where I thrive. I completed my MLIS through the University of Washington's iSchool in June 2014.
Read my personal philosophy of librarianship HERE.
My chief interest and experience in libraries is in public services. I worked as a student assistant in my undergraduate library for three years before becoming the full-time Circulation Supervisor, and I've been working full-time in public services ever since.
I have gained valuable experience supervising both graduate and undergraduate students, which includes interviewing, hiring, training, scheduling, evaluating, motivating, and disciplining. Because of my appreciation and fondness for my library job as a student, I endeavor to cultivate the kind of workplace that encourages students to get deeply acquainted with and involved in the library so that they can make the library work for them and so that they can become ambassadors for the library to their fellow students.
The key to good public services is good communication--with library staff, students, and the public. Whether in person, through email, or over the phone, my goal is to connect people with the information they need in the clearest and most effective way possible by delineating all options and finding the best fit for each patron. I work hard to keep my communication professional and positive, even when dealing with challenging issues like lost or damaged materials and overdue fines. I believe that individualized attention and care can make a big difference in people's experience of the library, and a positive experience of the library results in more effective use of the library.
In an academic library, it's sometimes easy to forget the part of public services that is serving the public. But as fiercely as I am committed to equipping students and scholars with research materials, I am committed to facilitating knowledge sharing between academia and the outside world. In the context of a theological library, this means engaging with clergy and being an information resource that brings the work of the scholars into conversation and into practice with the work of the ministers. At Vanderbilt, I've been able to do this through the Kesler Circulating Library, a service by which I share books with and provide reference help to ministers all over the country. As a part of a collections development course, I put together this free database collection for my Kesler members, which I then published on my Kesler LibGuide.
I think collection development is one of the most exciting parts of librarianship. It requires really getting to know your community and their needs, and shrewdly using resources to create a collection that is the best quality and most useful for your patrons. As part of my coursework, I collaborated with a small group to create a mini reference collection for a specific demographic--vegetarian and vegan chefs. We conducted a user needs analysis and a survey of the resource market, and then constructed a bibliography of ten varied reference sources that we thought were the best and most useful for that group.
Libraries' role in education--especially in the university--is both vital and fraught with challenges. They've vowed to spearhead information literacy initiatives, yet students' research skills often remain subpar, even in an environment overflowing with quality information.
While I've had minimal opportunity to teach in a classroom setting, I have taken multiple instruction courses as part of my MLIS coursework that provided me with useful pedagogical theory and models as well as practice constructing course materials. As assignments for these classes, I wrote a lesson plan for a database workshop for theology students and an overview and prospectus for an information literacy program that could be established at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library--some ideas from which are actually being put to use.
My interest in librarianship grew, in part, from my passion for teaching and learning coupled with a distaste for-- or almost a fear of, really--the traditional role of the lecturing teacher or professor. I very much enjoy being involved in the education process, but I don't feel comfortable in the authoritarian role of "information gatekeeper." I'm much more interested in being a facilitator, a connector, a sharer. The collaborative, relational work of shared instruction and embedded librarianship appeals most to me. I'm keen to deconstruct and play with our pedagogical processes in order to find new and creative means for exploring how we learn and how we can learn better.