Meet Gretchen Sotomayor– Part of our “Featured Librarian” Series

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Welcome to our “Featured Librarian” series!

We thought it would be fun for everyone to know who we are, what we do and learn a bit about why we love libraries.

Gretchen Sotomayor, Research, Instruction and Archives Specialist

This month’s Featured Librarian is Gretchen Sotomayor, Research, Instruction and Archives Specialist.

Here are some answers Gretchen gave in a recent interview:

What is your job here at McKillop library?
I am a Research, Instruction and Archives Specialist, so I spend part of my time working at the information desk answering questions and helping people find what they need for their research. I recently started (in April) working in the University Archives and Special Collections, and it sounds like it will be very interesting and busy.

What degree(s) do you have and where did you get them?
I have a BA in Communications, Editorial Journalism, from the University of Washington and a Master’s of Library and Information Studies, from the University of Rhode Island.

What is the best way to contact you?
Through email (gretchen.sotomayor@salve.edu), as I am moving around to different areas of the library, or by phone at 341-2289 or 341-2281.

What is the best part of your job?
The people. Whether it is helping someone at the Information and Research help desk, or showing a class how to access library resources, I like being able to help people find what they are looking for. We have so many amazing resources and tools here, and while they might seem intimidating at first, it is so much fun to dive into research and explore all that the library has to offer – and I want to share that!

What do you like most about the library?
I love that it is a welcoming place for all – students, faculty, staff, local visitors, Circle of Scholar members. Students fill the various floors, and it is often buzzing with groups meeting to work on projects. Faculty come together here often to celebrate and support each other’s achievements in research. We currently have an exhibit, the Seeking Shelter project with Block Island roots, that honors the faith-based activism of Father Daniel Berrigan and his friend, theologian and civil rights lawyer William Stringfellow, and that has attracted a wide audience to our library.

What library resource do you think is most useful for students and why?
Aside from the eager librarians who enjoy sharing their knowledge, I think the ability to easily search many EBSCO databases simultaneously from our simple search box on the library’s home page offers students a less intimidating way to get started in their research. Also, our very valuable online chat service is available six days a week – we do our best to answer any and all questions!

What are your hobbies and/or personal interests?
I love to travel and explore new cultures, and enjoy spending time outside in the garden, hiking, sailing, biking and walking on the Cliff Walk.

Do you have any pets?
I did have a brave, one-eyed cat who gamely moved with us to the tropics and to Italy, and also lived here in Rhode Island! She preferred the south-facing window, where her bed was situated on top of a radiator, in our Rhode Island house.

Do you have a favorite author and/or quote?
I did have the pleasure of hearing poet Billy Collins recently recite some of his poetry, so here is one to share (as snow is falling outside) as we wait for spring.

Today

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

What are you reading right now? What do you think about it?
“Feel Free: essays” by Zadie Smith. It’s an eclectic collection of essays on all topics – global warming, growing up in a multicultural environment, Facebook, the current political environment, Joni Mitchell. She is fierce, in examinations of herself and others, which encourages you, the reader, to examine your choices.

Is there something random about you that you’d like us to know?
I have moved every three to four years throughout my life, but Rhode Island, a quirky and beautiful state, has become the place where I have lived the longest – 12 years.

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Meet Nancy Barta-Norton – Part of our “Featured Librarian” Series

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Welcome to our “Featured Librarian” series!

We thought it would be fun for everyone to know who we are, what we do and learn a bit about why we love libraries.

Nancy Barta-Norton, Acquisitions and Cataloging Librarian

This month’s Featured Librarian is Nancy Barta-Norton, Acquisitions and Cataloging Librarian.

Here are some answers she gave in a recent interview:

What is your job here at McKillop library?
I am the Acquisitions and Cataloging Librarian. I order print books and audiovisuals covering all subject areas for the library and catalog them when they arrive.

What degree(s) do you have and where did you get them?
I have a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island, where I majored in English; I also received an M.A. in English Literature and my M.L.I.S. from U.R.I.

What departments are you a liaison for?
I am a liaison for the Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Music departments.

What is the best way to contact you?
People can contact me by email nancy.bartanorton@salve.edu or phone at 341-2296 or stop by my office (Room 308) anytime.

What is the best part of your job?
Selecting great new materials for the library, being the first to see them when they are delivered, and knowing that they are being checked out and used by our patrons.

What do you like most about the library?
I love libraries and being surrounded by books in general – but specifically, I enjoy working with McKillop Library’s students and library staff, meeting people from many different campus departments and — schedule permitting — attending some of the many interesting programs hosted by the library.

My sunny third floor office looks out over an incredible skyscape, a massive old beech tree filled with birds, and—in the distance — the roof of Chateau-sur-Mer. All my plants seem to enjoy this location too!

What library resource do you think is most useful for students and why?
Particular disciplines or types of research questions determine the best or most useful resources. Our library has a very diverse collection of books, movies (both DVDs and streaming), and databases to address a wide variety of information needs – also a browsing section of popular fiction and plenty of great titles and films for entertainment.

What are your hobbies and/or personal interests?
I enjoy spending lots of quality time with my husband and son. I’m always listening to many different kinds of music and especially like to attend live concerts. Almost every week includes a musical event of some kind – sometimes several! I see a lot of movies. And — whenever possible — I love to travel.

Do you have any pets?
Yes, two rather quirky and ridiculously affectionate cats, a huge, furry black-and-white Maine Coon and a petite but extremely vocal Calico; we also have a small fish pond stocked with Koi.

Do you have a favorite author and/or quote?
“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges

What are you reading right now? What do you think about it?
I am always reading, fiction and non-fiction – in fact, I am most often reading several books at once! With the amount of reading I do, it would be really difficult to settle on a favorite author or book, but one of the books I am currently reading is Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver.

Is there something random about you that you’d like us to know?
I like teaching college students, most recently a three-credit library research and citation skills class for ESL students.

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Meet Alicia Vaandering – Part of our “Featured Librarian” Series

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Welcome to our “Featured Librarian” series!
We thought it would be fun for everyone to know who we are, what we do and learn a bit about why we love libraries.

Alicia Vaanderng, Education and Instructional Design Librarian

This month’s Featured Librarian is Alicia Vaandering, who is Education and Instructional Design Librarian.

Here are some answers she gave in a recent interview:

What is your job here at McKillop library?
I am the Education and Instructional Design Librarian.

What degree(s) do you have and where did you get them?
I received my Master of Library and Information Studies (M.L.I.S.) from the University of Rhode Island, and I am currently working toward receiving my M.A. in history from URI as well. My B.A. is from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

What departments are you a liaison for?
I am the liaison for the education department at Salve, and I currently share liaison duties for the history department with Genna Duplisea, our wonderful archivist at McKillop.

What is the best way to contact you?
Usually by email at alicia.vaandering@salve.edu, or in person at either the first or second floor information desks.

What is the best part of your job?
For me, teaching library instruction sessions is the best part of my job. I love working with students to help them develop research strategies and discover new tools that can help them with their projects and assignments. Technology has opened up so many new avenues for research, teaching, and scholarship; and it’s so fun and rewarding to tackle more traditional research topics and problems with new tools. However, I’d also say that getting to read award-winning children’s books and young adult literature is definitely up there on my list of favorite things about my job.

What do you like most about the library?
The books, which I’m hesitant to say as there’s a bit of a misconception that librarians do nothing but work with physical books. Nonetheless, there’s something so wonderful about working in a place where you are surrounded by books that contain millennia of knowledge, stories, and traditions. It’s like being surrounded by thousands and thousands of connections to the world around you. It’s a powerful feeling.

What library resource do you think is most useful for students and why?
Is it cheating if I say librarians? If so, I think I’ll go ahead and cheat and just say it: I think librarians are the most useful resource for students. The reason for this is simple: librarians can connect students with all the other resources that are available to them for their research and personal needs. We work with such a diverse range of resources and tools every day, so we bring a nuanced understanding of the research and information-creating processes to the table. And if one of us doesn’t have the right information, we’re more than willing to check with other Salve librarians or with the general library community. Librarians tend to be incredibly collaborative. We take pride in finding an answer to student questions, rather than in simply knowing the answer ourselves.

What are your hobbies and/or personal interests?
I enjoy reading, cooking and baking, traveling, binge-watching tv shows (particularly period detective shows like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Murdoch Mysteries), hiking, and visiting museums.

Do you have any pets?
I have two cats that are each others’ archenemies. One is a calico named Spumoni, the other is a tortoise-shell (tortie) named Persephone.
Apparently, calicos and torties tend to be independent and less sociable with other cats. Prime example of what happens when you don’t do research, even for decisions outside the classroom.

Do you have a favorite author and/or quote?
That’s like picking a favorite star in the sky! There’s so many. My physical and digital bookshelves are littered with Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Leo Tolstoy, A.J. Jacobs, Geraldine Brooks, Tony Horwitz, J.K. Rowling, Kate Morton, the Brontës, Arthur Conan Doyle, and a host of others. My favorites change by mood and what’s going on in my life and in the broader world at the moment.

What are you reading right now? What do you think about it?
I’m reading Agatha Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia (bedtime reading), Alistair Black’s A New History of the English Public Library (thesis reading), and Paul Thompson’s Dressmaker’s War (general reading). I’m enjoying all of them in very different ways.

Is there something random about you that you’d like us to know?

Hmm…someday I want to own a pygmy goat whom I will name Herbert (this has been my plan since I was about ten years old and fell in love with a little black pygmy goat at the Oregon State Fair). I also love rainy weather as it reminds me of growing up in the Pacific Northwest. So, if we are having a rainy day and you feel like you need to see a happy person who won’t grumble about the weather, come see me in the library. 🙂

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Meet Dawn Emsellem – Part of our “Featured Librarian” series

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Welcome to our new “Featured Librarian” series!

We thought it would be fun for everyone to know who we are, what we do and learn a bit about why we love libraries.

dawn

Our second Featured Librarian is Dawn Emsellem, who is our Research and Instruction Librarian.

Here are some answers she gave in a recent interview:

What is your job here at McKillop library?
Research and Instruction Librarian. I spend a lot of time at the information desk answering everyone’s questions, teaching classes, and thinking of new ways to spread the gospel of information literacy.

What degree(s) do you have and where did you get them?
I have a BS in Political Science from Barnard College in New York and a Master’s of Science in Library and Information Science from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

What departments are you a liaison for?
I work with the Departments of Political Science, Modern and Classical Languages, Master’s and Ph.D. in the Humanities, Pell Scholar Program, and Global Studies. I also liaise with the Student Government Association and the RAs.

What is the best way to contact you?
People can stop by the information desk or my office on the first floor of the library, room 130, call me at 341-2336, or email me at dawn.emsellem@salve.edu.

What is the best part of your job?
I love helping people explore their intellectual passions. And I love a tricky reference question. I love that “ah-ha” moment when you and your information seeker are looking and looking and looking together, through all the library databases and the catalogs, and Google Scholar, and you finally discover an absolutely perfect book or article or report and you’re both like, “wheeeeee!”

I also love learning a little about a lot of stuff. Librarians at an institution like Salve have to be able to dip into any subject and quickly get the lay of the land. I love that process. The other week I couldn’t find anything on a student’s religious and theological studies topic in our library resources, but I had a feeling that there was a body of work out there and we just hadn’t hit on the right search words. I searched Google Scholar, and then Google, and realized that there were tons of lay people writing on this esoteric aspect of bible study. These self-taught theologians had interpretations that were sometimes way out there and we couldn’t use them, but they cited several academics. We researched the academics to make sure they weren’t on the fringe, and then found their articles, and learned how they referred to the topic, and then found more library sources using the new search words we had found. It was a really fun process.

What do you like most about the library?
I like how lively it is. I like being around people, and at Salve, the library is a busy, busy place on campus.

What library resource do you think is most useful for students and why?
All of them are useful for answering different kinds of questions. Right now I’m really into our Gale Virtual Reference Library database because it’s been helping me really quickly and easily answer all of these Religious Studies questions we’ve been getting lately.

What are your hobbies and/or personal interests?

I used to have hobbies, but now I have 3 little boys under 7 so I don’t do anything but kid stuff. I used to like power tools, building things, painting, reading, and drawing. Now I like going to zoos and museums and running around in wild places with my husband and our boys.

dawn2

Do you have any pets?
We have seven fish, three shrimp, two snails (named Mitch and Rob) and three aquatic frogs. My eldest son is trying to strong arm us into getting him a bearded dragon.

Do you have a favorite author and/or quote?
Roald Dahl is my favorite author right now. He’s very subversive and he gets what it’s like to be a kid. My favorite author used to be Jane Jacobs, who wrote The Death and Life of Great American Cities. I also enjoy Atul Gawande. I am very bad at remembering quotes. I used to write them down on slips of paper and tape them on the walls of my apartment so that I could remember them again. I have twelve books piled on my bedside table, on top of three months of New Yorker Magazines. I read about five pages a night before I conk out.

What’s your favorite book? (obligatory question for a librarian!)
I really can’t decide on one favorite book. Every book changes the way I think.

Is there something random about you that you’d like us to know?
I recently discovered that I think snakes are cute. My oldest son found a baby snake under a log the other day and it was super sweet.

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