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Science and Technology Section (STS): 2020 Elections

STS Member-at-Large Candidate: Greg Nelson

STS Member-at-Large Candidate: Greg Nelson

Photo of Greg Nelson

Greg Nelson
Science & Engineering Department Chair, Chemical and Life Sciences Librarian

Brigham Young University

Tell us more about yourself and how you became a librarian.

I like dogs and I tolerate cats, but I really like both dog and cat people. I like just about everything written by Brandon Sanderson (science fiction/fanstasy). I am a science librarian at Brigham Young University with liaison responsibility for the areas of microbiology, molecular biology, physiology, developmental biology, neuroscience, chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical engineering. I became a librarian after 8 months of unemployment, which can really broaden your perspective, and found science librarianship at BYU. It is one of the best decisions my wife and I have made. I go to work happy, and I come home happy.

How long have you been involved in STS and what attracted you to the section?

I have been a member of STS since 2008 and getting to know other science librarians attracted me to the section. I have stayed in the section because of its active nature, networking opportunities, and committee service.

In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in science & technology libraries?

One fascinating trend in science and technology libraries and libraries in general is the constantly evolving ebook business models. At times it feels like the Wild West with everyone staking their own ground and playing by their own rules.

What goals for the section would you have if elected to this position? How do you envision committees and members helping the section achieve those goals?

I always wondered what the responsibilities of the STS Member-at-Large were. Here they are (http://tiny.cc/STSOfficerDuties):

  • Serves as an officer of the section and assists in advancing the goals and objectives of the section in accordance with ACRL strategic directions and priorities.
  • As a member of the Executive Committee, attends meetings of the committee at Annual and Midwinter Conferences, including those at the Annual Conference immediately preceding the taking of office.
  • Attends meetings of the STS Council.
  • Assists the chair with preparations for the STS All Membership Meeting & Breakfast, as needed, at the Annual Conference.
  • Helps Chair, upon request, organize food and beverage offerings for all STS events that have food and beverages, for both the Midwinter and Annual conferences.
  • Organizes, in consultation with the STS chair, the STS Dinner for Midwinter and Annual Conferences.
  • At the request of the chair, coordinates responses to ACRL activities, such as the Environmental Scan.
  • At the request of the Chair or Vice-chair, represents STS leadership at meetings when the Chair and Vice-chair are unable to attend.
  • At the request of the Chair, assists with fundraising for STS programs and events for both Midwinter and Annual conferences.
  • Assumes duties as delegated by the Chair or Vice-chair of STS.

In relation to the stated duties, my goals for the section are to provide occasions where members feel welcome, needed, and able to contribute to the larger science library community. The breakfast and dinners provide excellent venues for establishing and maintaining relationships in an informal, welcoming environment. Committees and members will contribute by extending personal invitations to new and long-time members to these and other activities.

Where do you see STS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to science & technology librarians?

To stay relevant, STS needs to engage personally with its members during conference season and in the off season. People are at the heart of this organization. We deal with systems, processes, costs, etc., but people and how they handle those areas should drive STS.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.

I can wiggle my ears simultaneously or one at a time at will.

STS Member-at-Large Candidate: Rebecca Renirie

STS Member-at-Large Candidate: Rebecca Renirie

Photo of Rebecca Renirie

Rebecca Renirie
Medical Librarian, Research and Instruction Librarian
Central Michigan University

Tell us more about yourself and how you became a librarian.

My name is Rebecca Renirie, and I am the medical librarian as well as a STEM research and instruction librarian at Central Michigan University Libraries. The areas I cover are biology, engineering, mathematics, statistics, actuarial and data science, and the College of Medicine. After getting my bachelor's degree in biological sciences I realized that while I loved biology, I didn't want to work in a lab. When looking for available jobs online I came across a description for a librarian and I knew that was the job for me. I researched the education needed for the position, applied and was accepted to the graduate program at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. My advisor encouraged me to make the most of my science background and I focused my work in academic libraries. In my final semester I was placed in a science library as a practicum student and at the end of my academic work I was offered a contract position at the same institution. I've been working as an academic librarian ever since.

How long have you been involved in STS and what attracted you to the section?

I have been involved in STS since 2009, though I wasn't active for several years when my position focused more on adult and distance learners. I was attracted to the section at first because as a new STEM librarian I was very interested in learning all I could about supporting faculty and students in that area. I met many awesome STEM librarians through the section that I've very much enjoyed working with over the years, and I remain active today to continue learning from and with my peers.

In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting topics or trends we’re seeing in science & technology libraries?

Some of the most interesting topics and trends I've seen recently have been the increase in data information literacy and research data management services provided by librarians, as an extension of the scholarly communication services we've traditionally provided. Open access datasets (such as those found in Dryad) are invaluable to biodiversity research, and helping students to find and use these datasets ethically is an exciting area for STEM librarians.

This also relates to the larger movement toward open access (OA) resources and open educational resources (OERs). While some faculty members remain leery of the quality of such resources, the library of available OER textbooks and OA journals and their acceptance continues to grow.

Finally, while traditionally common in medicine and the health sciences, more science researchers are conducting systematic reviews as a research output. This increase allows librarians the opportunity to work more closely with faculty members in intensive roles such as research partner and co-author.

What goals for the section would you have if elected to this position? How do you envision committees and members helping the section achieve those goals?

If elected to this position I hope to help work on several key projects that are in STS's future in the next 2-3 years, specifically the migration of the web presence to a more user-friendly platform and the transition to a virtual Midwinter event. Each of these projects will require guidance and input from STS committees and members, and I hope to help gather that feedback at all stages of the projects from planning to assessment.

Where do you see STS going in the future? How does it need to change and evolve to stay relevant to science & technology librarians?

To stay relevant STS will need to acknowledge the growing segment of the academic librarian population who work in the sciences but also in other areas, such as health/medicine or social sciences. As research areas become more interdisciplinary, as higher education and its resources become more expensive, as library staff gets smaller, STEM librarians will need to be able to switch into other hats as needed and take a team approach to helping faculty and students.

STS will need to remain flexible and willing to embrace these new non-traditional liaisons and provide resources and services that meet their needs. This challenge will give us the opportunity to grow our membership if we can be more inclusive as a section.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that not very many people know.

Though my background is in the sciences I also played the viola, mallet percussion, and the piano, and as an undergrad I worked as both a math tutor and a marching band instructor.