Everyone wants to be connected. This is evidenced by the need for students and faculty to access information from their homes, residence halls, and sabbatical locations. We need to ensure that the information resources they use are available at all of these locations. Distance learning has been around a long time - current technology just allows us to do it better.
What advice would you give a young person seeking a career in librarianship today?
Go for it! This is one of the most exciting and challenging times to be a librarian. This is the Information Age. Information is our commodity; it is our business. Technology allows us to do a lot more and to add a lot of value to the services we have been accustomed to offering. I feel very lucky to be in the profession at this time and hope that I will have the opportunity to work with the library schools at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University to convey this message.
Margaret Warner and Steve Smith at their wedding in the new Fondren Library Center
A joining: Librarians wed in Fondren Library Center
The new Fondren Library Center entrance, which joins the Fondren Library and the Science and Engineering Library, was the location where two librarians were joined in holy matrimony.
The bride, former SMU Business Information Center Librarian Margaret Warner, and the groom, Steve Smith, a librarian with AMIGOS, a library network service company, were married December 17 by SMU Chaplain Will Finnin, who recommended the site.
"When I first saw the space in the new building and listened to the music wafting from the domed cupola, I thought it would be a fine setting for many different events," Finnin said. "When Margaret asked about my performing the service, it immediately came to mind that it would be appropriate due to the couple's backgrounds."
The bride and groom thought the location was most appropriate because they met in a library. "When the chaplain suggested it, we thought it was a wonderful place, and it would be especially meaningful to us," said Smith.
The couple now resides in Germany.
Staff profile: Beth Walker, user education librarian|
Beth Walker's goal as user education librarian at Fondren Library is to help her clients become comfortable with information. This includes preparing handouts on how to conduct research at the library, teaching classes how to research a particular assignment, and answering myriad questions that library users ask her when she takes her turn at the reference desk.
Walker is one of ten Central University librarians who design and teach library research classes. The process begins with consultation with a faculty member to understand the details and expectations of a particular student research assignment. The librarian then creates a bibliography of books and online resources, selects appropriate databases, and schedules a time for the class to meet in one of the library classrooms. "From how to use a database to evaluating the Internet, we tailor the class to whatever a professor wants and students need," she says.
When English Department faculty member Kathi Watts brought her first-year science fiction Rhetoric class to Fondren Library Center to begin research for an assignment, Walker prepared a bibliography of books that would help them get started. She showed them how to search databases for articles and which databases would be the most helpful. She then showed them how to use this information to select a topic and focus their paper. After students began researching their papers, Walker remained available to assist the class.
"We prefer to see students during their first year at SMU so they are familiar with the library throughout their University experience," she says. "We teach them concepts that they will use in their other classes. By the time they graduate, we want them to be comfortable finding, interpreting, and using information."
A native of Indianapolis, Walker's library career began at age 16 when she started working in the public library. She continued library work at Indiana University as a student assistant at a residence hall library. As a graduate student, she was manager of a residence hall library. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Library Science from Indiana University, Bloomington.
As a librarian, Walker prefers the university setting. "I like the clientele, I like the questions, I like the challenges the SMU community brings to us," she says.
Pictured at right:
User Education Librarian Beth Walker