Meet Sarah Drerup, STEM Librarian, RAI
New librarians who enter the profession after working in another career typically have backgrounds in teaching, journalism, or law. What’s a bit unusual is when their former vocations seem worlds away from librarianship, for example, water quality monitoring, public outreach with FEMA, or chemical decontamination in the Army National Guard.
However, that unique background dovetails nicely with the requirements of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math librarian, like the role filled by Sarah Drerup, recently hired to work at Ekstrom Library. While her education and expertise in the profession are solid and impressive – for instance, as a graduate student she built a SQL (Structured Query Language) database of digitized historic personnel images for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – she has also had quite a diverse background in scientific and technical pursuits.
After earning a BA in human ecology at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, she served in the AmeriCorps as a hydrology technician in Ohio and Massachusetts, and later interned with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a water safety specialist. After earning her Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington in 2014, she worked as a program specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency near Seattle, WA. At the same time, she served in the Army National Guard as a chemical decontamination platoon leader.
All her education and training will help her in her new role, helping students conduct research in the STEM disciplines. To drill further into Sarah Drerup’s background and expertise, we conducted this brief interview:
How do you feel your diverse background fits in with your work as an instructional librarian at Ekstrom?
I think most of my previous positions have in some way increased my instruction skills and I often create a scientific component if one doesn’t already exist. A perfect example is working as a natural resources intern by day while bartending during the evenings. The natural resources position satisfied my desire to work in the sciences and bartending helped develop my interpersonal skills and made me a more empathetic person. I have been fortunate to be able to travel and work across the country and meet a diverse workforce in the sciences.
How did you ultimately choose librarianship as a profession?
I had worked for my hometown library and college library for a total of six years and focused my undergraduate education on marine science. It really hit me I wanted to be a librarian when I was working as a hydrology technician out at the Cape Cod National Seashore and my supervisor loaned me out to the fire crew for a controlled burn. I was sitting on the back of a tailgate during lunch and the sawyer I was working with for the day asked me if I had a dream job. I told him I think my dream job would be a science librarian and he became unnaturally upset. He told me (in a loud voice) that most people say president, movie star, or CEO of a multi-million dollar company, but my dream job is easily obtainable. I thought about it and agreed and less than six months later I applied to get my masters degree in Library and Information Science!
What did you like most about working with FEMA? With the National Guard?
The thing I liked most about working with FEMA is traveling to so many interesting and wonderful communities. Unfortunately, I was meeting people right after a disaster had devastated their community, but I was always impressed with the strength and fortitude of the survivors. The thing I like most about being in the National Guard is it makes me a better person and I’m able to positively influence my soldiers. As a platoon leader, I set the example for them and it made me strive to be a better person in every aspect of my life from professional development to physical fitness. I am also thankful that I am able to influence my platoon by developing engaging training plans, prioritizing their welfare, and being a supportive and reliable point of contact when life isn’t going as expected.
What drew you to UofL and Louisville?
The job posting initially drew me to UofL. When researching the University and the city of Louisville before submitting my application, I quickly understood that this is a vibrant and progressive community. I am from London, Ohio, which is only three hours away, but somehow had never made it down to Louisville. I didn’t know what I had been missing!
How are you settling in?
I feel like I am finally getting my feet under me at the University and I am looking forward to starting instruction and research appointments this fall! I attended my first drill with my new unit, the 299th Chemical Company this past weekend, joined a volleyball league, and started at a new crossfit gym on Friday. I think once I finally unpack my last few boxes of kitchen stuff, I will officially feel settled!
The 12th annual Kentucky Women’s Book Festival will feature authors from a wide variety of genres March 3 on University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus.
The festival’s opening speaker is UofL alumna Sheri Riley, author of “Exponential Living: Stop Spending 100% of Your Time on 10% of Who You Are (with a forward by Usher),” which has been featured on numerous national television shows and news outlets.
Sallie Bingham, playwright, poet, founder of the Kentucky Foundation for Women and author of numerous books including an upcoming literary biography, “The Silver Swan: In Search of Doris Duke,” will present the luncheon keynote.
Other speakers include Carolyn Furdek, author of “Locked-In: A Soldier & Civilian’s Struggle with Invisible Wounds,” and Aimee Zaring, author of “Flavors from Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods.”
Women Who Write, a local women’s writers’ group, will present the workshop “So, You Want to Write: Let’s Get Started” facilitated by Selene Phillips, who is an assistant professor of communications at UofL.
The festival begins at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and conversation and the opening session begins at 10 a.m. in the Chao Auditorium of Ekstrom Library. Festival sessions and presentations are free but participants are asked to register here to guarantee their space. An optional $10 lunch is available for purchase by calling the Women’s Center at 502-852-8976.
The Women’s Center and University Libraries host the event, which is part of the university’s observance of Women’s History Month.
University of Louisville Libraries Archivist and Historian Tom Owen was awarded the Distinguished Service Award, the top honor of the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS), at its annual awards ceremony on November 10.
A former Louisville Metro Councilman and caretaker of Louisville lore and history, Owen was cited for his “service to history, to UofL and to Louisville; his work as an archivist, making UofL’s records and archival collections available to researchers; and his walking tours—both the physical tours and their recordings. He made the city his classroom.” He was also praised as a “scholar who popularized history and . . . elevated history’s importance for many people.”
Owen is known for his walking tours, which capture the color and history of a particular corner of the city as part of a series on local public television, titled Tom Owen’s Louisville. Recently, he also offered weekly tours of UofL’s Belknap campus, detailing the background and stories of various buildings and areas. His research in this area led to the recent publication of a book in collaboration with Archives colleague Sherri Pawson, University of Louisville Belknap Campus.
Owen is also well-known as a politician locally, having served as a Louisville Metro Council member from 2003 until his retirement in 2016, and prior to that, on the old Board of Alderman from 1990 to 1998. He has been an archivist with UofL for 42 years.
The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor the Kentucky Historical Society presents. DSA winners have provided great services to Kentucky and the field of history in their professional or personal lives. The ceremony was held at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, 100 W. Broadway, in Frankfort, Ky.
Additional recipients included:
- Tom Owen, Louisville, Distinguished Service Award
- Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Thomas D. Clark Award of Excellence Award
- Donna Russell, Oldham County, Award of Distinction Award
- Ken Reis, Campbell County, Frank R. Levstik Award for Professional Service Award
- Kurt Holman, Boyle County, Lifetime Dedication to Kentucky History Award
- Scott Clark and Brian Mabeltini, Boyle County, Brig. Gen. William R. Buster Award
- Kentucky Humanities Council, Community Impact Award
- Hannah O’Daniel, Louisville, Kentucky Public History Intern Award
- David J. Bettez, “Kentucky and the Great War: World War I on the Home Front”
- Shawn D. Chapman, “Removing Recalcitrant County Clerks in Kentucky”
- Ronald Wolford Blair, “Wild Wolf: The Great Civil War Rivalry”
- John David Miles, “Historic Architecture of Shelby County, Ky, 1792–1915”
- Journal of the Jackson Purchase Historical Society
- 43rd Annual Hopkins County Yearbook
- Charles W. Logsdon Historic Downtown Walking Tour, Elizabethtown
- Jeff Crooper/Logan County Genealogical Society, “The Future of Indexing”
- James Graham Brown Foundation and John Kleber, Brown Fellows Program, Kentucky Connections Handbook
KHS also honored Jennifer Faith, an Eastside Middle School (Shepherdsville) teacher who was Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Teacher of the Year for Kentucky, and Collins Award recipient Andrea Smalley, associate professor, Northern Illinois University. The Collins Award goes to the author of an article from The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to Kentucky history. Smalley’s article, “‘They Steal Our Deer and Land’: Contested Hunting Grounds in the Trans-Appalachian West,” was in the summer/autumn 2016 issue of The Register.
For Veteran’s Day (November 11), we wanted to acknowledge the Libraries personnel who served or currently serve our country in the armed forces.
Senior Business Center Assistant Tiffani Belin served in the U.S. Air Force from 2007-2013, beginning as an Airman Basic (E-1) and was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-5) in 2012. From 2007-9, she was stationed at RAF Mildenhall in England, and from 2009-13 at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Below, Tiffani is congratulated at her Airmen Leadership School graduation; this training allowed her to sew on her 4th stripe, indicating Staff Sergeant rank.
The Libraries’ Lead Fiscal Officer Karen Nalley served as a Lance Corporal in the Marines from 1977-79, working as a personnel clerk. She was stationed in Paris Island, South Carolina from December-May 1977; served in Camp Pendleton, California at various times; and was among the first women stationed in Okinawa, Japan from 1978-79. She is shown below at the Cow Palace on Dixie Highway wearing her summer uniform.
Andy Huff, Interlibrary Loan/RRS Coordinator, joined the U.S. Army National Guard as a specialist in 2013, a position he holds to this day. Since April he has served in Harrodsburg, KY, and in Louisville prior to that. He plans to attend Basic Leadership training in July of 2018 to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant. All this while earning a degree in Computer Science at UofL (estimated graduation date of December 2018), working full-time and raising four children.
And our very own University Libraries Dean, Bob Fox, served in the Navy prior to his pursuit of a career as a librarian and administrator.
KUDOS and THANKS to you all.
“Which bridge did Muhammed Ali throw his medal off of?” and other interesting questions answered by the Research Assistance & Instruction DepartmentPosted: October 10, 2017
By Anna Marie Johnson
Imagine a job where you were able to learn about all kinds of different and fascinating topics in the process of helping someone answer a burning question that they have. That is part of the work of the Research Assistance and Instruction (RAI) office. Librarians, professional staff, and peer research assistants answer questions like these (and much more prosaic ones such as “Why can’t I access this journal article I need?”) via e-mail, chat, phone, or face-to-face:
- How many buildings are there on Belknap Campus?
- How did St. Paul come to be a Roman citizen?
- What is the childhood address of Hunter S. Thompson?
- What was the roll call vote for the Kentucky senators and House members for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
- Can you help me research design for justifying the excavation of a privy?
- What are the cultural reactions regarding American Indians during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1870-1929)—particularly in how American Indians and the related federal policies were represented in the media?
- Where can I find industry and consumer data for Gillette Fusion?
- What are the general prosodic characteristics of English and Spanish?
Over the years, we have helped with questions that ranged from the esoteric (journal articles on the dead Sabaean language, from someone wanting to piece together the language and write a book about it) to the downright impossible, such as the patron who wanted a copy of the WHAS Radio broadcast license from 1927, or the patron researching obscure magicians and street performers from Europe.
“What’s the best book you’ve ever read?”
While we go to great lengths to track down an answer, sometimes there’s a little luck involved. One day, a call came in to Rob Detmering, the librarian responsible for Film Studies. The caller was looking for one of the original copies of a 1972 film called Asylum of Satan. The film had reportedly been shot here in Louisville and the out-of-state caller thought that the university might have a copy. Rob asked around to the Archives, the Art Department, and a few other campus contacts that he thought might know something,
“How many theaters exist in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel?”
but to no avail. Rob did some digging in the online database for the Courier-Journal that the library subscribes to and discovered the film had been shown at a film festival in 2008 at Baxter Avenue Theatre. Rob called the theater and spoke with someone who not only knew the film but knew the location of the copy that they had used in the showing.
We often learn a lot as we’re helping. Our former Libraries Diversity Resident George Martinez received a question from a faculty member asking about the history of the African American Theater program at UofL. He looked through some microfilm and consulted with our colleagues in the Archives & Special Collections to find articles that traced the history of a controversy over how money generated by the Fiesta Bowl was being used for scholarships. The results of that controversy was the increase in hiring and scholarship distribution to increase the diversity at UofL.
Got Questions? Ekstrom’s RAI Department can help you track down your answer! Oh, and there is some doubt as to whether Ali ever threw his medal off any bridge, but the closest answer is the Clark Memorial.
Several faculty and staff will represent the University of Louisville Libraries at the upcoming Kentucky Library Association Conference this weekend at the Galt House in downtown Louisville. Following are some of the presentations and presenters at this year’s event, which runs from September 21-23.
ETDplus: Guidance for Graduate Students’ Research Output
Rachel Howard, Digital Initiatives Librarian, and Dwayne Buttler, JD, Endowed Chair for Scholarly Communication
The IMLS-funded ETDplus project has produced guidance documentation, workshop materials, and software tools for students and staff to use in managing complex digital objects such as research data sets, video installations, websites and music recitals. These intellectual works cannot be captured in words alone and implicate copyright, metadata, file formats, versioning, and other research and practical challenges. We will demonstrate these freely available resources and their potential uses.
Renovations and Innovations: Merging Departments and Unit Cultures
Matthew Goldberg, Head, Access & User Services, Ekstrom Library; Ashley Triplett, Student Supervisor and Social Media Library Specialist, Ekstrom Library
This is the story of Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville and its renovations during 2015 and the experiences we had merging nine separate sub-departments into a single unit called Access and User Services. What may seem like a challenging process turned into an opportunity for growth and development. We will explore how we reexamined how the public desks prioritized our patrons and how we grew from several disjointed departments into a single unit with a unified department culture.
Kentucky and the Great War: Filling and Operating Military Camp Libraries
Jonathan Jeffrey, Department Head, Manuscripts Coordinator, Western Kentucky University; and Delinda Stephens Buie, Curator of Rare Books, Archives & Special Collections
The American Library Association provided library services in U.S. military camps during WWI. To fill those libraries, Americans donated 3 million books in 1918 with Kentuckians contributing generously. Louisville’s Camp Zachary Taylor was part of the ALA’s work to provide wholesome activities in the training camps. They also sought to show the value and even “manliness” of libraries. Perhaps ironically, much of the work at Taylor was done by women from the Louisville Free Public Library.
Research DIY: Enhancing Online Learning Through Strategic Planning and Collaborative Professional Development
Robert Detmering, Information Literacy Coordinator, Information Literacy Coordinator; Amber Willenborg, Online Learning and Digital Media Librarian
We enhanced and expanded our online instruction program, while building buy-in within a departmental culture that was not enthusiastic about this work. Through strategic hiring, staffing reallocation, and collaborative professional development, we created general and customized online tools and services, including course-embedded content. We will share our team-based creative process, promotional activities, and initial assessment data for our homegrown research DIY site, Discover It Yourself.
One of life’s greatest pleasures is browsing bookshelves, searching for topics at random, finding the unexpected, neglecting all commitments to ponder at leisure.
Anyone seeking such non-digital delights can visit libraries on the Belknap or HSC campuses, or for virtual browsing, our website. But how did these physical and virtual books make it to the stacks and website, to be discovered by inquiring eyes and fingertips?
Each book’s journey to the shelf is deliberately egalitarian, says Tyler Goldberg, Head of Technical Services and Print Collection Development. Anyone affiliated with the University may request books, videos, recordings or other materials via this link on the Libraries’ website (http://library.louisville.edu/forms/order-recommendation). Allowing suggestions from University-affiliated individuals aligns with the Libraries’ mission to provide free and open access to information for our patrons.
After a request comes in, Tyler and Technical Services Acquisitions Specialist John Burton confer to determine: 1) whether we already have an item; 2) whether it meets basic criteria for inclusion in our collection; 3) if so, where to order it; and 4) how to pay for it.
After searching Amazon or other online sites, John orders an item, inspects it when it arrives, and ensures it is as advertised, i.e., not ripped, not missing pages, published in the wrong language, or another book altogether. (These errors have all happened.) Before the book is ordered, John has to choose a fund from which to order the book, either from an endowment or gift*, or from the main Libraries budget.
Continuing the journey, a book, DVD or other item arrives at a Technical Services staffer’s desk, to be barcoded, cataloged (added to Libraries’ online catalog), and passed to a staff member for labeling, stamping, and a final check. Items without records or incorrect information are bounced back to Tyler. For those items without records, she creates and adds a record to the WorldCat database.
After final processing, materials arrive at their final destination, perhaps the Browsing Collection on the third floor of Ekstrom Library, or the African American Collection on Ekstrom’s second floor, or the general stacks — wherever it will be among its counterparts, waiting to be gazed at fondly by browsing eyes.
So there you have it. Our librarians and staff deal with machinations behind the scenes so you can study, research, write that scholarly paper, or continue in the simple pleasure of book browsing.
*Many of our loyal and fantastic donors have contributed funds for general materials and specific genres, and the Libraries depend upon these gifts to augment our collections. Some of these funds support specific subject areas, such as Asian studies, humanities, engineering, women’s studies, finance, children’s literature, biology, American literature, and even railroads. Given the budget cuts to collections, these gifts are more valuable than ever.