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Checking into the Library

News Story

Librarian Steve Feyl, and Library directors Rose Gillen and Jennifer Rosenstein discuss developments at the Pace University Library, and how to make the most use of valuable resources and quality information in 2019 and beyond.

As the new academic year commences, we caught up with our friends at the Mortola and Birnbaum Libraries, whose immense resources have been essential to maintaining a strong culture of research and academic curiosity. This month, University Librarian Steve Feyl, Mortola Library Director Rose Gillen, and Birnbaum Library Director Jennifer Rosenstein share some insights about the Library in 2019, and how you could best take advantage of its many offerings to maximize your own research, teaching, and learning processes.

Q: What is something all Pace faculty and staff members should know about the Library?

Feyl: We’re here to actively support teaching and research. Whether it be through resources, instruction for classes, designing learning objectives for library instruction, or working on research, we’re looking to be active partners in those processes.

Gillen: That the library staff is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, and we’re happy to help them solve any problems or answer questions that they may have. We’re here for faculty as well as the students.

Rosenstein: The library has a lot of print and electronic resources, but we also have wonderful people resources. Our staff can help you track down difficult to find books and articles, make sure the information sources your students need are available in the library, teach information literacy and research skills, provide metrics of scholarly impact, create online research tutorials, plan events with your department, and even help you with your own research projects or graduate studies. 

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of working at the Library?

Feyl: Helping people. I became a librarian because I enjoyed helping people with their research and working with students. There’s that innate “oh, someone’s seeking knowledge,” and you being able to help facilitate that. Working at the library also feeds the curious spirit. As librarians, we tend to be very curious people. I always tell students when I’m working with them, the best way to work with a librarian is to get them interested in their research!

Gillen: The light bulb going off when our patrons realize that in spite of all the information available to us, that there is a deeper layer of quality information—not free—that we can help connect them to.

Rosenstein: I have always wanted to have a career that was making a difference in the world and helping people in a meaningful way. The library exists to serve all members of the Pace Community: students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors. Every day we get to help our community learn, grow, and be successful in such a wide variety of ways. 

Q:  Are there any short- or long-term projects that you are particularly excited about?

Feyl: Longer term, we’re looking to develop our spaces to better support student learning and fauclty research. We are very traditionally oriented in terms of our spaces. We need to develop those spaces to better support modern student learning; more collaborative spaces, flexible spaces, spaces that encourage learning. On the shorter term, we need to be more visible and active in the Pace Community—whether through social events, academic events, or administratively—we need to be more in the forefront, to make people understand what libraries do, what resources are available, that we are here to actively support learning and research.

Gillen: We are always looking to improve how we do our jobs, how we arrange our space, the content and format of our collections (paper versus electronic?) how we interact with students (virtual or face-to-face?). We are involved in a long term assessment of our book collection that impacts our spaces for students, which would impact how we interact with them.

Rosenstein: I'm really looking forward to doing more events at the library to help students connect to our staff and resources, and to help them feel welcomed and supported. I think, on the whole, we're really going to be looking at our resources and services and finding ways to better serve the Pace Community and be more student-centered.

Q: How has the role of the university library changed over the past few decades, and where do you see its role through the next few decades? In what ways is the role of a university library timeless?

Feyl: Drastically! It used to be all about the books and all about quiet learning. It’s still about those things, but it’s also about so much more than that. Our resources have gone digital in many, many ways; it’s about all of those resources and guiding people to those resources the best that we can. The hard part about that is that people are no longer restricted to the library. People used to have to come to the physical library to get at the books and the journals. How do you help support those students and faculty members when they’re not in the library? How do you teach that google is a tool, but not the only tool to use for research? It’s about how to support your students in the new environment, where they don’t have to physically come to your libraries anymore. And how do change your spaces to meet modern learning for the students that are coming into your buildings—how can you make sure you’re meeting their needs?

Gillen: What we provide—quality and targeted information—hasn’t changed, but the format and access points to that information have changed drastically over the last decades, and we have no real idea how things will change going forward! Will we be all virtual? I doubt it. Will we still be using computer terminals in twenty years? Will my watch answer questions for me? We can only wait and see. What I do know is that librarians, as the experts in navigating the incredible amount of information out there, will be an essential part of how that information is used, evaluated, and accessed.

Rosenstein: The university library is even more crucial in our crowded information landscape. It is more important than ever that students know how to evaluate information resources and understand how to determine what information is truly reliable and what is false or misleading. The library also helps create a sense of intellectual curiosity and offers both a physical and virtual space for exploration and lifelong learning. Over the next few decades the library will continue to serve the information needs of the Pace Community, with an increased focus on teaching information literacy, supporting digital scholarship, and protecting Pace's institutional memory.

For more information about the Birnbaum and Mortola Libraries, visit the Library website. If you’d like to browse the Library Catalog or reserve a book, visit the Library Catalog.