Nussbaumer brings new perspective
Nussbaumer brings new perspective

September 19, 2008

By TREVOR KENNEY

Alison Nussbaumer intends to put her stamp on the University of Lethbridge Library and she’s got the shoes to get it done.

Seeking to make the library the place to be on campus, the Edmonton native and self-described shoe connoisseur has jumped into her role as the University’s new librarian with both feet.

“My personal vision for the library is that we will be the best place to work and the best place to be, both physically and virtually, on campus in five years,” Nussbaumer says.

The career librarian is making the fourth educational stop in her career, having previously worked at Edmonton’s Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) campus, as well as the University of Saskatchewan and most recently, Prince George’s University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

“I love the people aspect. I love students. I’ve always been in an academic environment,” says Nussbaumer. “I just like it when students get excited and I find it so interesting what faculty are doing — I like the whole atmosphere.”
Today’s library offers a dynamic and interactive environment, as Nussbaumer explains.

“The profession is incredibly interesting right now because there is so much change going on,” she says. “The technology is really influencing everything from our information content, to how we deliver it, and how we meet people’s expectations.”

Our instantaneous society has placed new demands on libraries as more people want information at their convenience. It has forced libraries to meet that demand, a challenge Nussbaumer relishes.

“I personally think there will always be room for the book but people have changed the way they work, how they think and their expectations. People like everything to come to them and not so much to come here,” she says.

The library must therefore respond.

“I think we need to be where the students are. If they’re in Starbucks or at home, if that’s where they want to do their paper or do some research, that’s where we need to be able to push our resources.”

She’s still a people-person at heart though, and Nussbaumer isn’t about to let the library turn into a strictly virtual world. She thinks that students feel that way as well and is looking to capitalize on that ideal.

“As the world has become more digital, people are still looking for places to connect face-to-face and on campuses they’re coming to the library,” she says.

“The library is one of the few places we’ve really kind of given over to students. There isn’t very much that’s sort of sacred to the students anymore and I think that the library, as a place, is still that.”

As for that shoe fetish, she comes by it honestly, having been dubbed Imelda Dewey (a combination of famous shoe hog Imelda Marcos and the Dewey Decimal System) in library school.

“I admit it, I love my shoes.”


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