If you can’t find it, Judy Fales can.
Boasting an impressive collection of books, periodicals and an online database that allows students to submit interlibrary loan requests to receive academic articles and other resources from across the nation, locating the perfect research materials at the Burrage Library can sometimes be an overwhelming process.
But enter Fales – a native of Atlanta, Georgia – who has served as library director for six years, earning her Masters in Library Science (MLS) from North Carolina Central University in 2013, and is passionate toward helping students find what they need in order to be successful in the classroom.
“I like to look for stuff, like helping to search for that paper or article a student needs,” said Fales.
The Shelf Life
On a daily basis, Fales is responsible for managing the library’s collection, or what she describes as “updating it, keeping it healthy, weeding it out.” She works to keep in constant communication with faculty to ensure that the library holds resources that are current and relevant to each of the respective degree programs on campus as new information, findings and studies develop.
“We are always going through our databases and physical collection – staying in touch with department chairs to see if there’s anything students need,” said Fales. “We are always trying to stay out front.”
When she isn’t combing through the shelves, there’s never a day when Fales is not interacting with students. Professors will often invite her to speak to their classes and provide tips on how to perform optimal research and utilize the databases as tools for their own learning. Outside the classroom, Fales oversees 18-20 student employees, who make up most of her library staff.
“It’s a wonderful place to work because you learn customer service skills you can learn at any job, and we usually have candy,” Fales jokes.
Building the Future
After receiving a much-needed facelift this past summer, the Burrage Library has been a hotspot for students to study, gather and collaborate, thanks to the new Learning Commons located on the bottom floor.
Students now have modern technology right at their fingertips with the ability to screen-share via laptops on brand new flat screen TVs housed in each streamlined, glass-enclosed meeting room of the Learning Commons.
Fales has observed that professors are assigning more group work to reflect “real world” collaboration. With the library’s new facilities students can do just that, even reserving one of the meeting rooms for their study groups online, through the college’s Outlook system.
ITS (Information Technology Services) has also found a new home in the Learning Commons for ease of student and faculty accessibility. They are there to help with internet setup, quick bug fixes and more. Fales believes these changes are the first of many transformative updates to come.
“It’s the next step in the evolution of our library,” said Fales.
The Burrage Library is on the Olivet College campus. Both Olivet College students and members of the Olivet community are welcome to use the library, check out a book or use the electronic research systems available.
The library is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. – 11 p.m.
*Previously posted on olivetcollege.edu