Meredith Levin -2011

Western European Humanities Librarian at Columbia University
Member of the 2011 Dual Degree Cohort

mlselfie“Completing the Dual Degree Program was a truly enriching learning opportunity. Not only did I gain invaluable hands-on experience in reference, instruction, and collection development, I was also able to explore emerging trends in scholarly communication through an internship with JSTOR’s Content Development Unit. During my time at JSTOR, I worked specifically on a Publisher Social Media project in which I researched the social media presence of all publishers whose content is accessible on JSTOR. I tracked and analyzed website, Facebook and Twitter data, including retweets and comment threads on Facebook, to measure the level of engagement between publishers and users. I learned that larger publishers had many websites/Twitter feeds/Facebook pages but they often did not respond to users’ comments or tweets. Conversely, many smaller publishers seemed to be more engaged with their users, utilizing Facebook and Twitter as a forum for discussion/scholarly conversation rather than as just another means to promote new publications or simply link to their catalogs. I consider myself very fortunate to have gained insight into the role of social media in scholarly communication and a deeper understanding of how libraries and content providers might harness these tools to engage with library users.

“For me, the best parts of the Dual Degree program were the Core Learning Modules, which balanced the theoretical with the practical and were an indispensable supplement to my coursework and internship. Meeting several times a semester helped foster community among members of my cohort but also provided a forum for us to ask questions, engage in thoughtful discussions, and analyze the day-to-day work of academic librarianship that is rarely covered in a classroom setting.  The Professional Development modules, led by Jerry Heverly and Evelyn Ehrlich, and the Collection Development modules, led by Angela Carreno and Evelyn Ehrlich, stand out as particularly helpful sessions. Being able to workshop sample CVs and cover letters, to go over the complicated interview process, and to analyze what a successful job talk should encompass were constructive exercises that enabled me to improve my own CV and prepared me for the often overwhelming job hunt. Learning about the evolving e-book landscape and its effects on academic libraries’ policies and budgets from Angela and Evelyn really clarified the ongoing challenges that libraries are dealing with in the face of new technologies and shrinking budgets. These Collection Development modules were completed during the same semester in which I was enrolled in Michael Stoller’s excellent Collection Development course, which helped me contextualize many of the course’s readings and assignments with real-world examples we were exploring in the modules.
“What initially convinced me to join the Dual Degree Program was its stated mission of educating scholar librarians who can help academic libraries successfully transition into the 21st century. I can honestly say that the reflective and comprehensive training I received, both in the classroom and through the Core Learning Modules, gave me the foundation and skill set to successfully support the research needs of students and faculty in my role as the Western European Humanities Librarian at Columbia University, and to collaborate with colleagues on a range of initiatives that advance scholarship here at Columbia and around the world. I am grateful for the many learning opportunities I had as a Dual Degree student and for the lasting relationships I formed with my cohort and with many of the librarians who mentored me. I would wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone considering a career as an academic librarian!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s