Continuing our interview series of reaching out to academic library leaders across the state to facilitate “getting to know” our colleagues… the next interview in this series is with Lori Wamsley, Library Director at Lane Community College, located in Eugene.
Thanks for talking with us, Lori!
1. Tell us a little bit about your work background.
I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to wear several different library “hats” in my library career. I’ve been a library science instructor for the last 10 years, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. As a current national faculty member for Emporia State University’s SLIM program, I teach information technology, reference, and teaching/instruction. As a faculty member for Portland Community College’s Education department, I taught a wide range of library and education classes. I’ve also worked as a reference and instruction librarian at Clark College and Portland Community College. In January 2016, I began working as the Library Director at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon.
2. What has been the best thing that has happened to you since you started your position?
The best thing has been the opportunity to work with the dedicated library staff at Lane. Lane’s vision statement is “transforming lives through learning” and I see that every day when library staff go above and beyond to help our students succeed and have a positive learning experience at Lane. Whether it’s a librarian teaching a student how to use a particular resource, or a smile and kind word from our public services staff, or our student workers helping their fellow students with technology questions at our Student Help Desk (SHeD), everyone in the library contributes toward making the library the best place on campus.
3. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about you?
I really like assessment. It is an essential tool for ensuring our libraries stay relevant to and engaged with patrons and their information needs. While some see assessment as a dreaded task, I see it as an opportunity to see what is working and what is not. Either way, engaging in assessment gives us the chance to explore and reflect on our practice and the option to let go of things that aren’t working or find new ways to make them work. It also gives us a chance to celebrate our successes and share them with others on our campus.
4. What is the biggest challenge facing your library in the upcoming year?
Assessment, of course! One of Lane’s strategic goals this year is to improve our assessment practices college-wide and as a Library, we’ll be looking at ways that we can improve our own work as well as how we can support other learning and service departments and programs college-wide with assessment of information literacy skills.
6. What would you like Oregon academic librarians to know about your institution?
A few fun facts:
- Lane is the third largest community college in Oregon, encompassing an area of 4,600 square miles from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean that includes the Eugene/Springfield area and smaller communities such as Cottage Grove and Florence.
- Lane is in the process of searching for our 7th president, as our current President, Dr. Mary Spilde, will retire in June 2017.
- The Library has been part of the Orbis Cascade Alliance since 2005.
- We have rafter of turkeys that live on and around our campus.
6. What does advocacy for academic libraries look like from your perspective as a library director?
Advocacy for academic libraries is about getting out of the library and connecting and partnering with other departments and programs on my campus. Liaison work is not a new concept to academic libraries, but the need to focus more on customized outreach to departments and programs and helping students and faculty at their point of need has become an essential function for us at community college libraries. This takes a lot of advocacy on my part to facilitate conversations and collaboration between library staff and college-wide staff.