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A 2014 Recipient of the ProQuest Innovation in College Librarianship Award, Terra Jacobson is Manager of Library Services at Moraine Valley Community College Library.
1) You were recently awarded the ACRL 2014 ProQuest Innovation in College Librarianship Award for your work on the “One Book, One College” program. Tell us about the project.
This project was so much fun. It was centered on the book World War Z and allowed us to use game-based learning to bring the whole campus in around our program, "One Book, One College." We played a campus-wide Humans vs. Zombies game and our IT department helped the library to create a website where students could track the infection rate all across campus. It was a crazy week!
The events didn’t stop with the game; we connected with many instructors who used the book and the game in their class to teach course-related concepts. We also hosted guest speakers on a variety of topics, such as the spread of infectious diseases and emergency preparedness. The event wouldn’t have been so successful without our entire library staff pitching in to make it a success. We had people putting together packs of buttons for the games, others working on decorating our marketing displays, the librarians working with faculty to incorporate it into individual classes, and our student employees dressed up as zombies.
2) How did the great idea for this program originate?
Troy Swanson and Tish Hayes have amazing ideas. They came up with this idea to coincide with the release of the movie and things grew from there. We layered the active learning component on the "Humans vs. Zombies" game that some students are playing on our campus.
3) What inspired you to pursue a career in library and information science?
I decided to pursue library and information science because I liked working with students one-on-one, helping them with their research. I really enjoy the rewarding feeling of helping someone find exactly what they were looking for. My job gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I am able to help our students.
4) What do you find most exciting about the future of library and information work?
Information is our greatest commodity at this time. I think that the way we access information is changing. People are looking at new ways to present and organize information, and we have the challenge of pulling it all together and presenting it to the world. This relationship that people have with information is also developing and changing; it’s an interesting time to see how and what people share with each other. I love the opportunity it gives us to try new technology and teach it to our patrons.
5) What do you see as the main issues facing librarians and library staff today?
I see the largest issue for my field being budget cuts in state and federal funding for both libraries and the education system in general. This leaves libraries less resources to provide services for a widening gap that needs to be filled. This, in addition to rising costs for databases and other print and electronic resources, means our libraries are stretched thin and have difficulty providing well-rounded services for all of our patrons.
6) What career advice would you give to an LIS student?
Work in a variety of library jobs. Don’t just set your heart on the university reference desk or the rare books collection, like I did. All types of jobs can lead you to something new and different in the library field that you may love.
7) What is the best piece of career advice you ever received?
It’s O.K. to challenge the norm, but it is just as important to respect traditions. And, treat everyone that works with and for you how you would want to be treated.
8) Do you have any other projects or plans in the works and if so, can you tell us about them?
We are always looking for new ways to connect to our students and the community we serve. Our library is working on our next One Book, One College program. We are also currently developing a Graphic Novel Symposium, which will bring in a variety of college departments and faculty, as well as people from the community.
9) What advice can you share with other librarians or students that might motivate them to be more innovative?
Just ask questions. There may be a good reason something is done in a certain way. You don’t need to innovate for the sake of innovating. But asking why is a great way to see new opportunities that lie ahead.
10) Finally, what can you tell us about yourself that we might never guess?
I love rap music; for some reason, no one thinks that librarians listen to rap.