Three new librarians seek to make library more accessible


Bob Hannon

Victoria Garafola, Staff Writer

Marywood University recently welcomed three new librarians to campus and is moving forward on extensive renovations for the entire library collection.

Leslie Christianson, Julie Watson, and Amanda Avery were hired with the hope of expanding student interest and making the library an all-around more comfortable, casual place. That process began even before these three set food on campus with plans for transition the library into a “Learning Commons” by Fall 2014.

The new librarians are filling roles designed to improve accessibility and help students find the information they need from the best sources. Leslie Christianson was hired this past January and is the new User Services librarian. Her job is to make appropriate resources and materials much more accessible to students.

“One of the things to really think about is the issue of the hidden web. There’s so much material that you’re not pulling up on Google … There’s a lot of things out there that we know how to get to,”  Christianson explained.

The librarians are also hoping to expand the use of the Interlibrary Loan services that are currently available. Interlibrary Loan materials can be a way for students to have instant, e-mail access to academic articles that a simple Google search cannot provide. They also enable students to access books from other libraries at no cost.

The new Outreach and Assessment librarian, Amanda Avery, is working toward creating a more conversational experience for students utilizing the library. Avery is focused on reaching out to the student population and helping motivate research through more dynamic means. She hopes to expand the use of both print and electronic resources.

“A big part of our role will be to illustrate how essential the ability to navigate both digital and print resource is, how to draw connections and see just how big the invisible pool of resources really is and utilize it effectively,” said Avery.

Avery is also currently working with various departments across campus as a “library liaison” to help classes correspond with the new services and opportunities the library is offering.

All three new librarians said they are looking forward to the new Learning Commons, set for completion in 2014.

“I think creating an environment that is useful, comfortable, and convenient will give the librarians more opportunity to assist students and faculty in their work,” said Christianson. In the new and improved library, all books will be stored away and will be accessible through a computer program.

“That’s kind of weird, but pretty cool. I think it could be a good idea, as long as it works all the time. I already see Marywood having issues with it, but I guess we’ll see,” said Nina Giordano, marketing major.

This system is currently only used by fourteen libraries across the country, and Marywood will be the smallest library to utilize the system. The entire book collection will be put in draws and will be accessible through an automated storage and retrieval system.

“I think the new Learning Commons should be the centerpiece of a campus where knowledge is created not stored,” said Christianson.