Library Staff Spends Summer Preparing for New School Year
This is the third in a series of summer stories that give a peek at what happens on the Elizabethtown College campus when most students and many faculty and staff members are elsewhere. This week we talked to Sarah Penniman, director of the High Library and Louise Hyder-Darlington, access services librarian.
During the academic year the High Library at Elizabethtown College is full of students and professors bustling over research papers and homework, so one would think that during the summer the library staff would be getting a much-needed break.
“Most people think that the library is only busy if people are here,” said Louise Hyder- Darlington, access services librarian. “That is not the case.”
From late August to mid-May, the library staff works directly with the campus community, helping students and faculty and staff members troubleshoot issues, assist with research assignments or even help print a paper before a 7:30 a.m. class. Without the disruptions, the summer allows staff members to catch up.
“The summer is definitely a slower pace only because I am not interrupted as much,” said Hyder-Darlington. “During the academic year I am on the front line the entire work day and often do not get to my desk until late in the day – to accomplish work. During the summer – the slower number of visitors allows me to do more concentrated work in preparation for the academic year.”
Most people think that the library is only busy if people are here… That is not the case.”
As with many departments across campus, the library staff spends a lot of their time preparing for the academic year. Hyder-Darlington spends the warm-weather months trying to clear up issues with missing or lost items, revamping and updating training materials and guides she uses for her classes; and she works closely with ITS to make sure the library is up to date with wireless issues and laptop upgrades.
“The summer is also the time I create new content, new course guides, and I also connect with other area librarians to see what new initiatives and programs they are offering …,” said Hyder-Darlington. “All of the behind-the-scenes stuff that everyone does not know we have to do and do well so that the library functions seamlessly when the year begins.”
New Director of the High Library, Sarah Penniman, agreed. “We are busy, busy, busy in the library this summer! We’re upgrading our interlibrary loan service in order to make article and book deliveries even speedier. We’re also subscribing to Credo Reference, an online collection of specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries.”
Hyder-Darlington added that the library has purchased new databases that she has been reviewing so she can help others with the product in the fall.
In the library’s lower level, the entire staff has been working on the new The Earl H. and Anita F. Hess Archives and Special Collections archive, which is almost complete. The space will house the library’s special collections, as well as materials from the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.
“Be sure to check out the new space when you return in the fall!” said Penniman, who is eager to learn more about student, faculty, staff or alum thoughts and impressions of the library. “If you’d like to share your views, I’m all ears!” she said. “Please feel free to contact me at any time with comments or suggestions.”Contact Sarah Penniman at email@example.com.