What does a librarian do?
Librarians are information professionals. I am responsible for understanding how scientists in my subject areas find, use, and share information. I stay up-to-date with research in my liaison departments and purchase electronic and print materials to keep our collections current. I teach library skills to all kinds of users and collaborate with other librarians to improve library services when I can. I became an academic librarian because I am a problem-solver and I enjoy helping students, faculty, and staff with information: finding it, managing it, preserving it, and sharing it.
I started as a literary researcher for an atmospheric scientist -- putting together literature reviews or searching for specific pieces of information in the scientific literature. I grew up in Champaign, IL and my first job was at the University of Illinois. I thought the fast-paced work was fun, and liked working with scientists. In college, I built on my experience as a literary researcher and continued working in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this time, researching a historical winter storm. About the same time, I got my first job in a library and realized that I found an environment where I wanted to have a career.
I earned my Masters in Library Science from the University of Illinois and during my two years there, worked in Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center as a graduate assistant. I encountered undergrads, grad students, faculty, staff, and members of the community, and enjoyed assisting them with their studies, research, and work. In addition to the engineering departments, the library also housed the physics, astronomy, and geology collections, so I worked with those materials, as well. I also got the chance to learn some programming and database creation and management skills, and worked on a lot of really interesting projects.
My experience at the engineering library helped me transition to being the liaison for the Physics, Astronomy, and Earth Sciences departments here at UMN. As part of my job, I learn about the research and teaching that goes on in each of those departments. I will be at seminars, colloquiums, and other departmental events, so say hi! It helps me do my job better when I meet you and learn about your work.