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.
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 [email protected].
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.
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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