Library Movers and Shakers: Interview Series

Posted: April 5, 2011 in Movers and Shakers, Uncategorized

For the past decade Library Journal has been honoring librarians who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty, singling them out via the “Movers and Shakers Award” for their innovation, service and ways they’ve otherwise raised the profile of quality library service.

This post is the first in a series of interviews I conducted with the 2011 Mover & Shaker winners. Here’s to the librarians who’ve brought so much innovation to the field!

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Jaime HammondLibrary Journal March 15, 2011: Jaime Hammond , Mover & Shaker

 

Library name: Naugatuck Valley Community College    

Library type (public, academic, etc.): Academic, 2 year Community College

Address: 750 Chase Parkway Waterbury CT

Website: nvcc.commnet.edu/library

Your/other websites: movablelibrary.wordpress.com

Why she was chosen for this honor:

 

 Antidote to Apathy

The library at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC), in Waterbury, CT, serves students from every socioeconomic and educational background. Despite its wide mandate, until this past summer the library’s main entrance was a narrow passage hidden on a lower level of campus.

It was then that reference/serials librarian Jaime Hammond, working on a limited budget, reimagined the “secondary” entrance on the main artery as the central one.

“Jamie made sure the main level entrance was expanded, with all library services easily accessible from the school’s major thoroughfare,” says nominator Kate Sheehan, an open source implementation coordinator at the nonprofit Bibliomation, which provides technological and automation services for over five dozen Connecticut public libraries and schools.

The more prominent location, says Hammond, allowed “for the most exposure to students as they pass by.” It was an immediate improvement. “We were able to make a maximum impact with minimum changes, materials, and costs, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Opening doors is what Hammond is all about. An active member of professional organizations including the Connecticut Library Association, she cochaired the 2010 annual conference. Sheehan calls her “Connecticut’s antidote to cynicism, lethargy, and apathy.”

Today, the NVCC library renovation continues—on a strict budget. For Hammond, at NVCC since 2007, the financial limitations present the right kind of challenge. “[I’ve] always been artistic and interested in design, [but] I never thought my career choice to become a librarian would allow me to be this creative,” she says. “My desk is covered in flooring samples, tape measures, and fabric swatches.”

1).        Do you hold an MLS degree? From which school?

Yes, Southern Connecticut State University, 2005

2).        If you hold an MLS, what was your undergraduate field of study? Have you applied that degree in your library career?

My undergraduate degree is from Sarah Lawrence College and is in Liberal Arts. Yes, I apply it every day!

3).        Is there anything unique about the history and/or architecture of your library?

Well, the architecture of my library is sort of what earned me the Movers and Shakers nod! Our library is on the 4th and 5th floors of a building that is connected to the other buildings via the 5th floor. The stacks are interior and connected by tiny staircases that resemble Escher’s Relativity. It’s… unique.

4).        What stands out about your library? What special features or services does it offer?

Other than the odd layout, our library has some wonderful features. Our new classroom is laid out in an X shape, with the instructor at the center, to group the students naturally and allow the instructor to move around the class freely. Our most exciting space is our Collaboration Studio- a room with three of Steelcase’s “media:scapes”- a collaborative workspace ideal for group projects. Users can project their laptops onto a 42” flat panel monitor and switch off between users using a switcher technology called a PUCK.

5).        How many patrons does your library serve?

We have approximately 5000 FTE, plus community members.

6).        What is the demographic in your area?

We are located in Waterbury, CT, an urban area with a high unemployment rate.

7).        What are your favorite reading genres? Any favorite books or authors you’ve read recently?

I like fiction- specifically magical realism and mystery. The last book I absolutely loved was Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese.

 8).        What are your thoughts on the eBook vs. book debate? Will books as we know them ever be completely usurped by eBooks?

As a community college librarian, most of our students don’t have ebook readers and some don’t have computers or internet access at home. I think that if the library provided an ereader with textbooks on it, the students would like that, but the demand hasn’t trickled down to us yet.

9).        Have your patrons been receptive to eBooks?

See above

10).      Finally, what concerns – if any – do you have about the future of libraries?

I think the future of public libraries is probably different from academic libraries, in that our students are still being forced to use the library! However, I take my two young sons to the library every Saturday, and I know that they value it as much as I do. I hope that people continue to realize what a gift libraries are, and that librarians actually remind people of that as well!

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