Thursday, October 17, 2013

Case Study No. 1058: Erin Meyer

Do We Need Librarians?
Erin Meyer, Student Outreach Librarian at the University of Denver Penrose Library ( site/), addresses the question of the role of librarians in today's changing world. Video by Joe Brown.
Tags: Erin Meyer Librarian Library Penrose Library University of Denver Research
Added: 2 years ago
From: PenroseLibrary
Views: 439

["University of Denver Penrose Library" appears on screen, then cut to a young female librarian (blonde hair, nose ring) speaking directly to the camera]
ERIN: Do we need libraries? Do we need librarians?
[cut to another shot of Erin speaking directly to the camera]
ERIN: We know that we're in competition for the attention of students, because they do have bookstores ...
[cut to a shot of a Barnes and Noble store]
ERIN: [in voice over] They do have many many resources available online.
[cut to screen shots of various web sites (Google, Ask dot Com, Dogpile, Wikipedia)]
ERIN: [in voice over] And they do have other spaces that they can use to do their academic work.
[cut to a shot of a Starbucks, then back to Erin speaking directly to the camera]
ERIN: By making the library a friendly and welcoming and interactive space for students ...
[cut to a shot of a female student talking to another female librarian in Penrose Library]
ERIN: [in voice over] We're hoping that they will be more inclined to use the resources that we have selected.
[cut to screen shots of various web sites (ArtSTOR, RosettaStone, C19 Index)]
ERIN: [in voice over] The high-quality, not free on the internet resources, the article databases that we subscribe to.
[cut to various books in the library (Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, Encyclopedia of Time, The Freud Encyclopedia)]
ERIN: [in voice over] The book and print resources that we have. And also, the services that we offer.
[cut to shots of various areas within the library (Research Center, Writing Center)]
ERIN: [in voice over] We have research help avaiable, we have writing help available.
[cut back to Erin speaking directly to the camera, as "Erin Meyer" appears on screen]
ERIN: We offer library instruction. We obviously offer a large research collection here.
[cut to more shots of areas within the library (Browsing Books, "These items are available for check out")]
ERIN: [in voice over] We have a browsing book collection, we also have a DVD collection.
[cut back to Erin speaking directly to the camera, as "Erin Meyer" appears on screen]
ERIN: So we're trying to incorporate more than just research needs, but also entertainment and social needs. And this isn't something that you're going to find and Barnes and Nobles, and it isn't something that you'll find when you're doing a Google search.
["Penrose Library. Connecting people to ideas." appears on screen]



Erin Meyer splits her time between managing her university's research center and student outreach efforts. The dual functions pose no problem. "I feel like I'm a salesperson for the best product in the world," she says. "And who can turn me down when what I'm selling is free?" And fun. For one, her "mystery in the stacks" events have converted the talking points of a normal tour into clues that entice groups of students into racing around the library searching out leads.

She has both connected students to the library with her savvy programming and also strengthened the connection of the library to the university as a whole with smart PR.

Good customer service is key, notes Meyer, giving a nod to her earlier experiences in retail and restaurants, conducting phone interviews, and working at a student loan servicing company.

"I try to impart that ethic to the 11 graduate students I supervise," she says. But she notes that she's also learned to be open to "what they respond to/like/enjoy/find cool, which might be different than what you expect."

As such, she is creating a student advisory board to formalize such feedback; her next step is to turn over some of the event planning to this group.

Meyer's dedication to libraries also inspired her to answer a call for volunteers to help set up a children's library in Ethiopia. She trained staff for the Segenat Children and Youth Library, which opened this past summer, and, according to conominator Janet Lee, "made a difference in a country that has insurmountable needs."

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