Meet Your Library Subject Specialist: Deborah Bernnard
Continuing with our series on Dewey library subject specialists, meet Deborah Bernnard who is the specialist for Information Studies. She also happens to be Head of the Dewey Library.
What are your long-term goals and projects for the library?
Dewey Library is already great resource for the students, faculty and staff on the downtown campus. I want to make sure that Dewey maintains its high level of service and continues to be responsive to the informational and research needs of our patrons. One of our current projects is to investigate new methods to deliver reference services. With the advent of technology, patrons are no longer physically present in the library as much as they have been in the past. We would like them to have access to reference help whenever they need it, wherever they happen to be.
What was the most challenging part of your transition to your current position?
I would say learning all of the regulations that are part of a state organization. Before I became an administrator, I didn’t need to be aware of State funding rules, and Union regulations. Now I must be aware of all of these in order to plan for staffing and operational costs.
What recent professional development activities have you been involved with?
I have recently co-authored a chapter in Magazines for Libraries. I have also contributed to an online information literacy textbook authored by information literacy librarians at the University at Albany.
What was your best or most noteworthy conference experience?
I like small regional conferences. Being immersed in an all day exploration of one interesting concept can really jump-start my creativity. Larger conferences can become overwhelming with too many options on too many different topics.
Whom do you consider your mentor?
One of the benefits of working in a large academic library is that there are many colleagues and each has something to teach. Dewey library has always had a collegial atmosphere and many of the librarians that I have worked with here helped me advance in my career and served as sounding boards for my ideas. The University Libraries also has a robust information literacy department. Since I was originally hired as a User Education Librarian, I have worked closely with the members of this department who are all very generous about sharing ideas.
What blogs, websites, or resources do you follow for LIS news?
There are a few journals that I read religiously, College and Research Libraries, Journal of Academic Librarianship, Reference and User Quarterly and Reference Services Review. I also like the ACRL blog and the Information Literacy Instruction and Collection Development listservs.
What technology do you find most helpful to you when performing your duties at Dewey?
I think that email is the technology that I use most often. It helps me to communicate seamlessly with staff, faculty and students.
What advice do you have for newly-matriculated IST students?
In terms of finding employment, I would say—get some experience. Either volunteer or work part time if you can’t find a full time job. Being able to say that you have worked in a library will almost always give you an advantage in the employment pool.
What do you think is the most important advance for libraries that you've seen throughout your career? What do you think/hope the future will entail?
The digitization of information has been huge for libraries. When I started my career, it wasn’t possible to easily access full text information online. Now the speed in which you can retrieve and share information has transformed research.
The pace of change has been astonishing since I began my career. New technologies and applications are developed almost daily. Using technology to access information has made information available to more people at more convenient times however, information is not free and quality information has become more costly and less permanent. It would be great if libraries could take on some of the functions of publishers in making information available.
If you have questions related to Information Studies (or general questions about Dewey), please contact Deborah at firstname.lastname@example.org or 442-3699.