From Amy Blevins:
The Membership and Recruitment Committee has conducted the first in what will be a series of MAC member interviews for MAC Messages. Our first member spotlight is on Roger Glenn Russell, MLA, AHIP, the Assistant Director of User Services at the William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library at East Carolina University.
- How long have you been a librarian?
9 years as of May this year.
- How did you get into this field?
It wasn’t my first choice…I have a bachelors degree in History and was a certified teacher in NC for a short time. I went back to graduate school at ECU for History and worked in Joyner Library during that time. After talking to some of the faculty at Joyner, and feeling that I really enjoyed the atmosphere and diversity of jobs I saw them doing in the library, I changed my degree to Library Science. I transferred to NCCU in Durham, NC and received my MLS from there in the spring of 2000.
- How long have you been a member of MAC?
Since getting my degree; 9 years
- If someone asked you for one reason to join MAC, what would you say?
Establishing professional relationships (networking) is probably my biggest “take home” benefit from MAC Annual Meetings. Being a member, an active member, serving on committees, etc. also helps me meet new librarians and keep in touch with colleagues. Through these relationships I share and learn about projects, new initiatives, and challenges at libraries in my region. Another reason that I recommend MAC is because it makes understanding our parent organization, MLA, easier. I, for example, served on several MAC committees and planning groups before volunteering for an MLA committee, and I think it was very beneficial to have done things in that order.
- Could you tell me a little about your current position and what you do?
I currently am the department head for Information Services at Laupus Library. I try to provide the librarians with the tools they need to achieve their own personal career goals, as well as the goals set for our department, our library, and our university. Sometimes this means taking a desk shift for someone, and sometimes it means serving on a special taskforce to develop ideas and plans for where Laupus Library’s public services will/should be in the next 3-5 years. There’s hardly ever a dull moment.
- What do you like to do when you aren’t being a librarian?
I like being a dad and spending time with my family, taking them new places, watching them grow up. I play guitar as much as possible.
- What is the strangest patron request/situation you have experienced?
Although I don’t think it is very uncommon, I once received a two page handwritten letter from a prison inmate, asking for help with a rather long medical search to benefit his case for an appeal. The details of his request were uncomfortably revealing and just weird; making it one of the most odd Library experiences I’ve had so far. A VERY close second would have to be participating in the announcement of the 2004 MAC meeting during the 2003 “Quint” meeting in Philadelphia. In this traditional “skit” during the business meeting, I played “Barney Fife”, along with Rick Peterson as “Andy Taylor”, Bart Ragon as “Opie Taylor”, Jeff Coghill as “Floyd the barber”, and Monique Mackey as “Aunt Bea”. Thanks to Diane McKenzie, I still have the “officer’s” cap as a souvenir.
- Is there anything else you would like to share with your fellow MAC members?
Just that MAC is only as good as its members. If there are things about MAC that folks want changed, improved, whatever, get active in the chapter and make it happen.