18 Agassiz Circle
Buffalo, NY 14214
1880 S. Winton Rd.
Rochester, NY 14618
Mention a librarian and the image of a severe, serious woman impatiently shushing patrons probably comes to mind. Fortunately, to Medaille’s Library Director Pam Jones, M.L.S., laughter comes easily; she loves finding ways to make the College’s research and learning services more accessible to the Medaille community.
"I see librarians as being teachers as well," said Jones, who has been in the profession for over 20 years and serves as managing editor of the trade publication Journal of Library Innovation. "The technology and ways to find information have probably changed 10 times in the past three years. It’s hard to keep up and we want to make sure we are meeting everyone’s needs," she said, noting the library routinely holds focus groups to ensure that resources and procedures are in line with what patrons are looking for.
"It’s how we get ideas to improve," she said. For example, the writing lab at the Rochester Campus library was created in response to a need discovered from students’ comments.
Since becoming library director in 2009, Jones and her staff of 17 have acted as tour guides of sorts, helping students, faculty and staff navigate to the information they are seeking. Medaille’s core curriculum requires that certain classes include a librarian who works closely with the professors and students as they explain the vast resources available and how to utilize them.
"I love working one-on-one with students and having the opportunity to connect with them, as well as give them a face to hopefully remember the next time they need help," she said.
Jones takes pride in the integration of the library’s services with those of the Student Success Center. Before Center’s completion, instruction was often relegated to the library space itself, which sometimes resulted in disturbing other patrons, or to whichever classroom happened to be available, a process Jones described as "cumbersome." During the planning stages, Jones pushed for specifically designated classroom space that allowed for an open layout and clear visibility for both the students and instructor. The result is the "Collabratorium," a space where each student has his or her own computer and the teacher can access a printer and Smart Board, or simply walk around and provide individual instruction when needed. Students can also use the space for personal or group study after hours.
The Collaboratorium helps Jones in her ongoing quest to make the library an active part of the Medaille community. "I don’t want to simply sit back and say, ‘let them come to us,’" said Jones. "I think it’s our job to seek the students out, find ways in which we can better help them and give them a good experience so they keep coming back."
Ever wonder what’s on the librarian’s reading list? Here are Jones’ top three picks: The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom; The Help, by Kathryn Stockett; and The Paris Wife, by Paula McClain.
- Tara Erwin
This content originally appeared in the winter 2011-12 issue of the Medaille Magazine.
photo by Kara Kane
The instructors were knowledgeable and welcomed class discussions, with
respect for each student's contribution. I've learned how to be a more
effective leader. My capstone class gave insight on how to combine all
the education learned to operate a business. That's when I realized how
much I had sharpened my knowledge.