In November 2017, Nancy Miller was named the new director of the Northwest College John Taggart Hinckley Library. We invited her to share a little bit about herself for the blog.
I grew up in western Oregon, but finished my last year of high school in Casper when my father was transferred to Wyoming. I finished two years at Casper College in biology and transferred to Oregon State University where I received a B.S. in Zoology. After working several summers for the Wyoming Game and Fish and Bureau of Land Management, my husband and I settled near Pinedale. Looking for a part-time job while raising children, I applied at the Sublette County Public Library where, a blessing, Daphne Platts hired me to work a couple of evenings per week.
Discovering the library world is more than reading books, I started my new career. After nine years and working up through library page/technician to library assistant/bookkeeper, we moved to Powell in 1997 where there was an opening for a Library Assistant at Northwest College library. When the University of Missouri–Columbia, in partnership with the Wyoming State Library, brought the first online/in person hybrid program MLIS program to Wyoming (and the surrounding states), I enrolled and completed my MLIS in 2005. After 20 years with Northwest College library and with the retirement of Susan Richards, I was appointed Interim Library Director and then hired as the Library Director in November 2017.
At Northwest College, the library director is a working librarian. In addition to administrative duties and library and NWC advocacy, the director also works as a team member to teach library instruction and help with or fill-in other duties where needed—reference desk, cataloging, archives, etc. This allows the director to provide the most important function of an academic library: interact with and teach students.
Like medical treatments of the past, we are currently in a new age of “quack” and tabloid information easily pushed to us through the Internet. Preserving traditional services, we also must reach our library users online and teach them a new level of information literacy where discerning credible information is extremely important and our biggest challenge. Two top priorities are to keep providing quality online information resources that are easy to access and use and to continue our goal to embed library instruction (face to face and video) into every academic program at all levels: fundamental, freshman, sophomore, and capstone/research. Sharing resources and ideas by creating more working partnerships and collaborations between Park County, community colleges and the University of Wyoming libraries over the next few years will only strengthen all of our library services.
Recently, I was given this quote (in part) written by Thich Nhat Hanh that reminds me to focus on our students:
[su_quote]When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. [If] we know how to care for them [lettuce, family, students], they will grow well. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.[/su_quote]
I stand by the door, it is a new semester and the students are arriving. It is an exciting time to be a librarian.