Please tell us about yourself and your background: My name is Sarah Reando, I’m Webster University Library’s Communications and Outreach Librarian. I work at the home campus in Webster Groves, Missouri. I completed my Master’s Degree in Library Science in 2014, and am currently working on a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership.
How long have you been with Webster? I’ve been with Webster sporadically over the past 10 years. I completed an undergraduate degree in Art History in 2011, and had returned several times to work in the library before beginning my current position in the Spring of 2017. I just can’t seem to leave, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Webster University is my home!
How do you help Webster University online students? Part of my job to make sure that Webster students all over the world know about the resources available to them for research. I also teach research skills and help solve research problems, including those asked by online students through email, chat, and over the phone. All of this is important because it is essential that online students are aware of the resources available to them (as our friends at the OLC will tell you). The library provides information and teaches students how to navigate it, and this gives students control over their own learning. Librarians are information experts. By helping you ask the right questions, decide what kind of information you need to answer them, and apply that information to your argument, we help you realize your potential for growth as a professional and a citizen. Getting the right information can be the difference between turning in your work and turning in your best work.
You answer many questions from students, what are some of our students’ frequently asked questions? Most of the questions we get are about how to find information using the library website or Google. These questions vary, but often the biggest hurdle that students face is picking up the phone or writing us an email. We recommend that if you are doing research for 20 minutes without success, it is time to contact a librarian. A lot of students aren’t used to asking for help, but it is truly essential to academic success, especially for online students. We are here to serve our students, and help everyone from college freshmen to the University President with information issues.
What part of your job is the most satisfying? I absolutely love hanging up the phone at the end of a consultation and hearing the relief and confidence in the voice of a student. Often, students call us at stressful times, or times that they feel alone, helpless, or overwhelmed by an assignment. I have the pleasure of not only answering their questions, but also putting them at ease. I live for that feeling, and that’s very common among librarians. We love the “thrill of the hunt” for information, but also get satisfaction out of caring for people that need our help.
Do you have any advice for students? Stay curious! At the most basic level, you are here to ask questions and search for answers! All universities exist for this purpose, and university libraries especially. The changes that will advance any professional field can only be made by asking questions. Curiosity will drive you to solve problems as a professional and create solutions that will improve lives and change the world!