Posts filed under ‘People’
PSU Librarians Receive Honors
Four OLA members recently received a big award and deserve a big shout out for their work.
Meredith Farkas, Amy Hofer, Lisa Molinelli and Kimberly Wilson-St. Clair, all of Portland State University, have received the 2014 Association of College and Research Libraries Instruction Section Innovation Award for their work on the softwareLibrary DIY, which helps students find the information they need at their point of need. Rumor has it that the software is now open source. Librarians everywhere can benefit from the brain-power of these remarkable librarians.
An extra loud, glass shattering, gazillion decibel, shout it from the rooftops congratulations go to Meredith and Lisa. In addition to their work on Library DIY, they are both active in OLA’s Membership Committee. Their contributions to OLA include management of OLA’s Mentoring Program. We are so lucky to have these colleagues! – Emily Papagni, Multnomah County Library
OLA New Member Profile: Holly Mercer
Hello, I’m Holly Mercer. Since I was born, libraries have been an important part of my life. As a young child I experienced the wonder of libraries during story times and reading programs at my local library. As a teenager, I worked at my hometown library and assisted at the circulation desk, shelved library material, helped with programs; and really enjoyed it.
Early on, I decided that working in libraries was more than a job to me. Libraries provide services which I believe in. My enjoyment of libraries has increased during my 17 years of library service. During my career, I have worked for public libraries, library systems, and academic libraries. I recently moved to Oregon to be the Library Director at the West Linn Public Library.
In Michigan, I was the Service Coordinator for a library cooperative which provides services to all types of libraries in 17 counties. In that position I published a weekly newsletter for librarians, provided consulting assistance, and planned continuing education opportunities for librarians. From 2009 to spring of 2013, I was the Director of the East Central Arkansas Regional Library System, a two county regional library system in Eastern Arkansas where I opened a new library branch and increased circulation by 150%. In May, I started as the Director of the West Linn Public Library and have strengthened and enhanced the library’s already outstanding library services.
In Arkansas, I was active in the Arkansas Library Association and was the Chair of the Annual Conference in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, I was Vice-President/President-Elect of the Association. I am a current candidate of the American Library Association Certified Public Library Administrators Program with a target completion date of 2014. I am a Rotarian, graduate of the Cross County Arkansas Visionaries/Leadership course, previous Trustee on the Crossroads Coalition Board ( An eight county economic development organization), and previous Trustee on the Cross County Chamber of Commerce Board.
My educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baker College in Flint Michigan and a Master of Science in Library Science degree from Drexel University.
My family and I (husband and two children) are appreciating the temperate climate of Oregon and are exploring the numerous recreational opportunities here. I am grateful to be a part of the Oregon library community and look forward to networking and building relationships with Librarians in the State and region.
Answerland recognizes Lisa Elliott
Answerland, Oregon’s Statewide Virtual Reference service, recognizes Lisa Elliott of Tigard Public Library for her excellent virtual reference work while staffing the service in May 2013. Read Lisa’s transcript is online.
Lisa picked up a chat call with a somewhat complex statistical question about childhood diseases. The patron asked for information about the top 15-20 childhood illnesses and the top 15-20 childhood surgeries, both in the U.S. and globally.
Lisa was immediately friendly and welcoming. Her first thought of a resource was the CDC. A search of CDC.gov led Lisa to a report on children’s health, including a great deal of data, but not the specific statistics for which the patron was searching.
Lisa was undeterred. She moved on to searching for World Health Organization data. When the data continued to be elusive, Lisa offered to have other librarians continue the research and send an answer to the patron via email. Librarians at OHSU Library did send an email answer to the patron with additional resources.
The Quality Team is impressed with Lisa’s friendly tone, knowledge of authoritative resources, and clear determination to answer the question.
As an expression of our appreciation, Lisa was presented with flowers and a certificate. Please join us in congratulating her! -The Answerland Quality Team – Stephanie Debner, Mt. Hood Community College , Joanna Milner, Multnomah County Library, Hillary Ostlund, Hillsboro Public Library, Emily Papagni, Multnomah County Library.
New Member Profile – Julie Bramman
Hi! I’m Julie Bramman and I’m the librarian for NCTI/AMR, a network of paramedic colleges operating around the country. I provide reference service by email and train students to use the electronic resources provided through our subscription to LIRN. I completed my MLS from Emporia in December 2008. Additionally, I work full time as a school secretary at Cascade Locks Elementary.
Prior to this, I worked as librarian at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow. Being a federal librarian was a fantastic experience, one I highly recommend! I worked with people of all ages and rank–I even helped the Base Colonel sign up for a Transparent Languages account on his iPad. Military families live a mobile lifestyle, so I emphasized electronic resources provided through the Marine Corps Library Program and Navy Knowledge Online and became a convert myself–I now prefer to read on a Kindle rather than hold a heavy book.
Last spring I volunteered for Battle of the Books–I was so impressed by the dedication of the high school teams! Because I had a long list of books to read in preparation, I used the experience to teach myself how to obtain resources through apps from Blio, OverDrive, OneClick, and 3M Cloud Library from Multnomah, Hood River, and Ft. Vancouver library systems. In August I began studying Spanish using the Pimsleur language program, LiveMocha, podcasts, and games. As a child I used the library to explore the world and I love that I can still find so much content that inspires and challenges me as an adult.
In my spare time I take discards and create new items from the contents–whether it’s a journal, or gift tags, greeting cards, or gift bows using the beautiful, funny, or quirky illustrations inside. I have taught two sessions on gift tag construction at Holgate and Rockwood libraries and volunteered at Rockwood for nearly two years prior to attending grad school.
I joined OLA because I wanted to support an organization whose information I value and trust. I am connected to and inspired by what’s happening in libraries around the state through information provided by the OLA Hotline and website.
Christy Davis Chosen as Klamath County Library Director
Christy Davis was recently selected to be the Director of the Klamath County Library Service District. The District serves 65,000 residents in a 6,000 square mile county by providing library services through 12 branches. Christy appreciates the service foundation built by Andy Swanson, who retired in February of this year. She is most grateful for inheriting an outstanding team of library staff who are dedicated to providing excellent library services. Christy has held six progressively responsible positions in her 17+ years of serving at the library, beginning in February of 1996 when she was hired to administer the LSCA (now LSTA) grant-funded story van project, a program that brought story times and early literacy training into home and institutional daycares in the Basin.
Christy grew up in the university town of Bloomington, Indiana. The youngest of four children, she spent many, many of the Saturdays of her formative years at her local public library in Bloomington. She attended Indiana University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a minor in Art History, and recently completed her Master of Library Science degree from Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management, where she graduated with honors among 35 students in the school’s Oregon cohort program. is married to Kevin O’Neil, a licensed clinical acupuncturist and internet entrepreneur. Together, they share a love of animals and live music, healthy gourmet cooking, and of course, reading. She thinks the three best things about living in Klamath are the library, the people, and the sunshine.
New Member Profile – Meet Linda Annable
When I was quite young my grandfather would take me to his extremely small town’s extremely small library. He had a key and we could go at any time of day. I truly believed that he owned the library. When he shared A is for Annabelle with me, (our last name is Annable – pronounced a bit differently, but I didn’t know the difference), I was even more convinced that he owned the library. Thus began my long-running relationship with libraries.
So…after a 27 year long teaching career working with preschoolers through college students, (primarily with primary students), I began my work at the Newport Public Library on Valentine’s Day 2011. An auspicious beginning! A love of learning and a love of reading; what could be better.
I serve our 0 through 18 year old patrons. My position involves a lot of programming preparation and outreach to 13 different classrooms each month. I am happy to have the kids refer to me as “Library Linda”. We have a super staff here and there is a lot of collaboration; in designing displays, choosing themes for storytimes, putting together handouts and sharing ideas. I especially enjoy my monthly teen programs and the creativity of the preschoolers when we present our weekly craft projects after storytime. I work the circulation and reference desks regularly too and welcome serving the adult patrons as well. Every day dishes out something challenging, new and different.
I like to incorporate music and sign language into my storytimes. I was a voice major in college and my first job out of college was at the Delaware School for the Deaf. Combining both of these skills allows me to communicate with children and their families in multiple ways. I have recently made a commitment to include science in our storytimes on a monthly basis. The children and their parents love it. An opportunity to make a mess at the library instead of at home – Yippee!
I am currently reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, I highly recommend it. I very much enjoy books by Ezra Jack Keats, Lois Lowry, Agatha Christie and Penelope Lively. My hobbies include organic gardening, ultimate frisbee, travel (I’m looking forward to another trip to Corsica someday) and community theater.
I have an adventurous spouse, Jody, and a brilliant daughter, Morgan, who is off to college this fall. She will be sorely missed. I guess I will just have to read a few more books to fill the gap!
Answerland Honors Laura Baca
Answerland, Oregon’s Statewide Virtual Reference service, recognizes Laura Baca at Cedar Mill Community Library for her excellent virtual reference work while staffing the service in March 2013.
Laura’s transcript is online at www.answerland.org/awards.
In this transcript, an out-of-state patron was looking for a local newspaper that might have an obituary for a family member who had died more than 10 years prior. The patron did not know where it was published, but knew the name of the deceased, the date of death, and the date the obituary ran. The patron also offered that the purpose of finding the obituary was to confirm birth siblings, as the patron was adopted. Laura asked if the patron had time to wait while she searched; within a few minutes, she had located the full obituary and pasted the text into the chat. This information was a genealogical discovery for the patron: three half-siblings and lots of nieces and nephews. The patron responded: “This is wonderful information, thank you so much… You have made my upcoming holiday.”
Lynne Erlandson, Head of Adult Services at Cedar Mill Community Library, brought this transcript to the Quality Team’s attention, partly because Laura received a follow-up card from the patron. On the outside, the card said: “You make my world a better place.” On the inside, the patron said that this information had led her to connecting with her biological mother and ended her message by saying: “I am very thankful for your kindness and willingness to assist me. This new journey will be exciting and very unique, not many people get this opportunity. Your random act of kindness has impacted my life in such a positive way, I cannot thank you enough!”
The Quality Team is impressed with Laura’s excellent use of reference interview questions in this chat, which helped her move from the initial inquiry (“Do the local libraries keep local newspapers on file so if I was looking for a family obituary that was 10 years old I can find it in my local library?”) to providing the full text of the specific obituary within a matter of minutes. When the patron offered some personal information, including the plans to use this new information, Laura responded warmly, but professionally, bringing the chat to a close with wishes for a good holiday and thanking the patron for the question.
As an expression of our appreciation, Laura was presented with flowers and a certificate. Please join us in congratulating her!
The Answerland Quality Team – Stephanie Debner, Mt. Hood Community College Library; Barbara O’Neill, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, (Retired); Emily Papagni, Multnomah County Library
What Do Retired State Librarians Do?
Jim Scheppke is eating his way through Salem’s taquerias. If you always wondered where to eat in Salem, here is your chance to get inside tips from two diners. Jim and his colleague, Arturo Guillen, are featured in the July 25 – August 7 edition of Salem Weekly. A Guin Library staff member (part of Oregon State University) happened to pick up the free newspaper and recognized the guy in the sombrero. It’s an entertaining review of the twelve best locally-owned Mexican restaurants with recommended dishes. It’s nice to know that Jim is keeping busy.
In addition to providing restaurant advice to the greater Salem area, Jim has also occupied his time raising chickens, traveling, becoming involved in local political issues, and serving on OLA’s Oregon Reads 2014 Committee -Janet Webster, OSU
New Member Profile – Amy Taramasso
I currently work at Alliance High School at Meek, which is one of the alternative options within Portland Public Schools. I am both a CTE teacher in Arts & Communication as well as a Language Arts teacher.
I grew up in Napa and came to Portland from the Bay Area, where I got my first credential at San Francisco State University. I worked at Berkeley High School before coming to Portland with my husband. We have a daughter who will be four this August. We travel to France often to see my husband’s family, and I am slowly working on my French—very slowly. Right now I am reading That is All by John Hodgman. I am currently working on my Master’s in Education in Library Media at Portland State University.
If you want any other details, you can check out my LinkedIn profile.
Answerland Honors Sue Ludington
Answerland, Oregon’s Statewide Virtual Reference Service, recognizes Sue Ludington at Washington County Law Library for her excellent virtual reference work while staffing Answerland in March 2013. Sue’s transcript is online at www.answerland.org/awards.
In this transcript Sue answers an email question from a student who is researching a wrongful death suit for a term paper assignment.
Sue provides information from PACER, the federal government’s public access service to court documents. She found the case number, date, and the outcome (the case was ultimately dismissed) and sent the full judgment to the student. The student sent a reply asking if there was a way to access all the court documents of the case. The student also asked if there were any subsequent lawsuits.
Sue replied with information on how to access the documents for free and an explanation of how to download documents. She also gave an explanation of how to search PACER for any lawsuits that might still be pending. In addition, OJIN (Oregon Judicial Information Network) might have additional information and Sue provided information on how to search that resource.
Sue encouraged the student to reply if additional help was needed and even gave her phone number in case the student wanted to speak with her.
The student did reply with one last email saying: “You have been a huge help. Thank God for people like you willing to go that extra mile for students like me! Thanks so much once again. I really appreciate you.”
The Quality Team appreciates Sue too! We’re impressed with Sue’s friendly tone, her knowledge of legal resources and her teaching skills.
We’re grateful to all the law librarians who answer questions for Answerland, providing information that most Oregon libraries cannot easily access.
As an expression of our appreciation, Sue was presented with flowers and a certificate. Please join us in congratulating her! -The L-net Quality Team, Stephanie Debner, Mt. Hood Community College Library; Barbara O’Neill, Washington County Cooperative Library Services; Emily Papagni, Multnomah County Library
New Member Profile – Introducing Amy Mihelich
I am a lifetime Oregonian, with family history in Washington County going back four generations. I live in Hillsboro now and I grew up in Cedar Mill. My library career started in 4th grade, when my friends Angela, Joan and I would spend our lunch periods helping out in our elementary school library; shelving books and filing catalog cards. In high school I volunteered after school at the Cedar Mill Library, where I would return 10 years later as an on-call youth services and reference librarian after getting a BA in Anthropology from Whitman College and my MLIS from UW in Seattle.
At UW my focus was on cataloging, but my graduate
assistantship was doing reference in the Government Publications department of the UW libraries. This background helped me get on-call reference positions in several libraries in the Washington County library system (WCCLS) and at Woodburn Public Library (part of CCRLS). After two years of working on adult, children’s, and teen desks in 6 different public libraries, a full-time position opened up in the technical services department at Cedar Mill Library. I started in acquisitions and then transitioned to being the cataloger for all youth materials, which I very much enjoyed because I never did leave my love for picture books and Encyclopedia Brown behind me. I served on the Safety Committee and was one of the founding members of the Dress-Up Day Committee, starting an annual tradition of library staff wearing black tie to work on New Year’s Eve. Over five years in that cataloging position I picked up the cataloging of other collections (video games, graphic novels, blu-rays) and began to grow more and more curious about the bigger picture of library data and the changes going on right now in the cataloging world at large.
So I am very excited to be starting my new job as Cataloging Librarian in WCCLS Automation, where I will provide cataloging services to all the member libraries in Washington County and where I get to work “behind the scenes”.
Currently, I am reading Instead of a Letter: a Memoir, by Diana Athill. I am not normally a fan of memoirs, but I find her an incredibly charming and fascinating woman to spend time with. Getting the most plays in my music library recently are Lindi Ortega, Jonathan Coulton and Townes Van Zandt. Outside of work I enjoy shopping, reading, trips to the beach, walking in the park, seeing live theater, spending a shameful amount of time analyzing and critiquing television shows with friends, and coveting designer handbags on Pinterest.
Newport Librarians Rule!
Something is in the air (or water) in Newport. Ted Smith, director of the Newport Public Library has been appointed the Interim City Manager and Janet Webster, head of the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Guin Library, continues (for a couple more months) as the Interim Director of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. It’s great to see librarians recognized by their communities as leaders.
Answerland Salutes Alison Kastner and Thea Evenstad
The Answerland Quality Team presented two notable transcript awards at the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit, held at the Oregon Garden on Friday, May 3, 2013. We were delighted to celebrate the excellent work of Alison Kastner and Thea Evenstad in front of an in-person gathering of their virtual reference colleagues. Alison and Thea received flowers, a certificate signed by the State Librarian and Caleb Tucker-Raymond, and a letter acknowledging the excellence of their work.
You can read the full announcement for both Alison’s and Thea’s work, as well as their award-winning transcripts, at http://www.answerland.org/awards.
It is also worth mentioning that Answerland staffers recommended these transcripts to the Quality Team. See a chat, email or text transcript that you think is an outstanding example of virtual reference work? Feel free to bring it to the attention of a member of the Quality Team. -Stephanie Debner, Mt. Hood Community College Library (firstname.lastname@example.org),Barbara O’Neill, Washington County Cooperative Library Services (email@example.com) Emily Papagni, Multnomah County Library (firstname.lastname@example.org)
New Member Profile–Meet Barratt Miller
I was born and raised outside of Sacramento, California, but fell in love with Oregon when I moved north to study at Willamette University. After graduating in 2010 with a BA in English and a minor in music, I headed directly to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to get my master’s degree in LIS. I graduated in May 2012 with an emphasis in youth services librarianship.
At U of I, I had an assistantship at the Education & Social Science Library, where I answered reference questions in every social science discipline you can imagine–including occult studies. I spent my first year at ESSL cataloging the library’s test collection and my second year working with the School Collection, the second-largest collection of children’s literature in North America.
As a volunteer and two-time practicum student at The Urbana Free Library, I spent plenty of time in the adult, teen, and children’s departments. In addition to answering questions at all of the library’s reference desks, I co-founded the teen manga club, selected manga for the library’s collection, and transferred a collection of historical children’s books to the U of I Library.
I’ve been the Youth Services Librarian at the Crook County Library since July 2012, fulfilling my post-grad dream of returning to Oregon. I love that I get to do a little bit of everything in my current position: circulation, reference, collection development, children’s programs, teen programs, and outreach. I’m a member of OLA’s Children’s Services Division (CSD) and Oregon Young Adult Network (OYAN).
As a freelance book reviewer for The Horn Book Guide, I read and review plenty of juvenile science fiction and fantasy novels. When left to my own devices, I read mostly romance, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, young adult, and children’s books. My other hobbies include cooking, knitting, yoga, and hanging out with my dog.