As a teen, I got behind the scenes of my public library with a part-time job. In college and grad school I added to my understanding of libraries while doing research. But it wasn’t until library school that I began to realize what instruction could do for people as they planned a project, worked through the research, and drew their conclusions. Instruction can provide a real element of empowerment in prompting people to take charge of the research process and view themselves as participants in a public dialog. Arriving at Haverford in 1987, I began working with students and faculty to provide research support and instruction, particularly for Anthropology, Classics, Education, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History (except North American), and Political Science. As the lead research and instruction librarian for the college, I plan services for students, faculty, staff, and outside users in concert with my library colleagues. I meet with classes for presentations and for hands-on sessions where students become familiar with the different levels of databases, tools, and research strategies specific to their discipline. I also meet with users one-on-one to focus on the particular questions they have as they move through the research process.
Learning by doing is an old truism, but it is a strategy that works for me. I started an online index about medieval women and gender called Feminae that now has over 31,000 records. By being a researcher with different kinds of questions to answer, I learn what students and faculty are experiencing as they work with Magill’s resources. The rewards are great. If you run into any problems, contact a librarian (email@example.com and subject librarians)
M.L.I.S., University of California, Berkeley
M.A. in Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
B.A. in Medieval Studies, University of Illinois