|Milner librarians go beyond hitting the books to find resources|
|Written by Kasha Henricks, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Tuesday, 24 January 2012 13:33|
“There’s no such thing as a typical librarian or a typical day,” David Stern, associate dean for public services and a public services librarian at Milner Library, said.
Milner librarians no longer have the sole job of helping students find references within the library but they also are filled with knowledge on specific subjects.
“We have subject specialists who have expertise in areas. Many of them have at least a masters [degree] in their area, as well as a theoretical understanding of information, discovery and sort of knowledge management,” Stern said.
“When you used to walk into a library, they would help you find something. Now, we help you find something whether, it’s peer reviewed, or anywhere on the web. We help you save it, repurpose it or mash it up. So, it’s a very different world than it used to be. It makes some librarians nervous to try and understand everything instead rather than just the small domain, but that’s part of excitement of the whole job,” Stern added.
Public services librarian at Milner Library, Angela Bonnell, specializes in government documents and is currently the interim head of liaison and reference services. Bonnell said that many librarians desire to help students find what they are looking for.
“The goal is to help students succeed and help them find the resources they need,” Bonnell said.
“Most of what I do is oriented to helping the students or faculty and teachers. So the first thing I do is check my email for questions. And the other thing is that we have instant messaging and text messaging once we log on so that we can answer students' specific questions,” Bonnell added.
Working within a successful library is not an easy task. It is a joint effort by many different individuals.
“My favorite part of working at the library is working with a bunch of incredible professionals who are very flexible and agile, because we work in an industry that is changing constantly. You have to be fearless and you have to love working with both students who are fearless and faculty who have very different interests, so we are always balancing the two,” Stern said.
The industry is not the only thing that is constantly changing. The library itself is different day to day.
“It’s funny how the library can change based on the time of the semester and the time of the day,” Bonnell said.
“The last week of classes and finals, you can see that there are all kinds of people at the library at all times of the day. When it is not finals or midterms, there are times when the library is popular, when I think of it, it is typically from about seven to midnight. But it is never packed, unless it is midterm or finals time,” Bonnell said.
Working in the library is a constant learning experience. If a librarian does not know how to answer a specific question, they can either reference you to someone else who can help or they can look it up.
“I really like working with people. When you come in the library and ask me a question, I do my best to help you,” Bonnell said.
“We are somewhat unique in that we have such a large group of public service librarians, with extraordinary backgrounds of subjects, but we all have to be generalists and we have to understand technology as well, so there is a lot of continual education going on,” Stern said.
Milner Library is so much more than a place where books are kept. The librarians do everything they can to help the students and they make an effort to answer any question you may throw their way.
“It’s a place where everyone is welcome. Everyone knows the library is a decent, nice place where you can learn or read,” Bonnell said.