Unsung Heroes: Our Librarians

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By Jacqueline Escobar

Staff Writer

There are 11 librarian faculty members in the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library ready to assist students with their research and other needs.

Kimberly Mullins is an instructional design librarian who integrates open access resources, services, and other tools in the library and aca-demic curricula. She also develops programs and leads instruction and library classes. She works closely with faculty in developing cours-es “to integrate information literacy and library resources into their actual courses,” she said.

Kimberly Mullins, instructional design librarian

“I also help manage the entire instruction that goes on here in terms of staffing, schedul-ing and working as the intermediary between classroom faculty and library faculty, and I also manage the reference desk,” Mullins said.

Although there were 26 librarians in 2012, today, there are just 11, which keeps them all busy. “The decrease has definitely impacted the number of resources that available for faculty, students and staff,” Mullins said. “The decline is due to retirements, librarians moving to other institutions, and denials of tenure or promotion,” she added.

Despite having a reduced staff, Mullins is confident the work they do hasn’t decreased and won’t in the future.

“We have a great staff, a great faculty and we all consider this to be ‘all hands on deck’ time, so we have all been taking on multiple duties,” Mullins said. “We also support each other, in order to provide the same level of service, resources, and instruction that we have done in the past.”

Mullins hires graduate assistants to support the full time library staff. “The graduate assistants are largely in our Palmer School, either in the graduate or Ph.D. program, in order to help support the day to day tasks in the library,” Mullins said.

Undergraduate students work in the library as well. Nancy Ambrosio, a freshman business administration major with a concentration in management, is a circulation assistant. “My du-ties when I’m working [are] to help the patrons with finding books, taking books outs, and printing on the computers,” Ambrosio said.

Mullins wants students to take advantage of all of the services offered by the librarians and other library staff. “We have a program that we refer to as ‘research by appointment,’ and it is a free consultation service we provide as librarians,” Mullins said.

This can help students at the beginning stages of research or in looking for resources online or citation management. Mullins said there are also library faculty who can read through students’ research projects. “We can give them additional support and recommendation in terms of research writing,” she said.

The library faculty also offer chat and virtual services for students. “We have chat, we have texting services and calling, but primarily what I would love for all students to understand is that we are here to support them, make them successful and just would like them to be aware of the services that are given to them,” Mullins said.

Mullins advises students not to be afraid to speak up and seek assistance from library faculty. “I find students who are afraid to approach a librarian and it does happen a lot and we are very nice people and we want to help them 150 percent,” Mullins said.

Thomas D. Walker, associate dean of the College of Education, Information, and Technology and director of the Palmer School of Library and Information Science, is also optimistic about the work being done by the library faculty.

Thomas Walker, associate dean of the College of Education, Information & Technology

“Since I came here in 2017, one of the things that I’ve been most encouraged by is the enthusiasm of the librarians,” Walker said. He also oversees the library at the Brooklyn campus.

Walker encourages students to use services offered at the library, including the Digital Commons, a new service for students conduct-ing research. “Students at one point should take the time to really get to know the library faculty and the staff, even by name; they’ll get to know all the resources that we have; we have electronic books, we have different types of media and it’s a complicated information world out there,” Walker said.

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