Question & Answer With Liaison Librarian For Engineering, Jay Bhatt
By: Jenny James Lee
To say that liaison librarian Jay Bhatt is passionate about his work and about Drexel’s students is a drastic understatement. As I’ve come to know Jay, I am constantly amazed by the energy and enthusiasm he devotes to his work. He is a connector – working diligently to connect members of the Drexel community to resources and to each other. I’ve witnessed this myself many times, like when last year he introduced me to a graduate student who was organizing a TEDx event on Drexel’s campus. He didn’t hand the student my business card, email him my contact information or leave me a message, he personally walked with the student to my office to make the introduction.
I don’t know who nominated Jay to receive a 2013 Graduate Student Association Staff Mentor Award, but I would guess that individual witnessed the same personal touch that Jay has provided to hundreds of students and faculty during his tenure at the Libraries.
I recently sat down with Jay to learn a little more about what brought him to Drexel, what motivated him to become a librarian and what he loves most about his work. Below are his responses:
Q: What is your role at the Libraries?
I explore different ways to familiarize faculty and students with relevant library resources and services. In doing this, I collaborate with them, develop insights into their current research initiatives, and inquire about their interests so that I know what their information and research needs are. I also provide individual and small group consultations to students, instructional sessions to classes, online research support for both distance and face-to-face learning programs, and workshops for specialized research areas. Finally, my other activities include: collection development in engineering, developing research guides and blog entries in engineering subject areas, reaching out and teaching information seeking skills, and using social networks to keep users updated with the latest information.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
I love mentoring students and am happy when our students learn and understand the importance of quality information.
Q. How long have you worked at Drexel?
I have been working at Drexel since September 1991. I started at the Circulation Desk after completing my Masters in Library and Information Science. In December of 1997 I became the Engineering Librarian.
Q. What made you want to become a Librarian?
While I was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, in the Masters program within the Graduate School of Education, I worked in various departments of the Penn library system to help support myself. While I was working on my research papers, I needed to learn the ERIC and PsychINFO databases, which were only available on CD-ROM at that time. I asked my professional librarian colleagues for advice on using these databases and they encouraged me to take an instructional workshop offered by the library. During this process I became curious – a librarian teaching a class? At the time I had no idea that to become a librarian, one needed a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. My supervisors suggested I talk to Dr. John Hall from Drexel’s College of Information Science and Technology to see what programs were available. Feeling inspired, I took an appointment with Dr. Hall. Prior to earning my MS in Education at Penn, I had received my academic training in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel. Dr. Hall explained to me the librarians role in a student’s educational process and their responsibilities for developing collections in their libraries. Being a curious person, with an inherent passion for helping students to learn information seeking skills and to become independent lifelong learners, I decided that I should become a librarian. Evolving emerging technologies, and new and exciting developments in science and engineering fields, continued to motivate me even further.
Q. What question do you get the most often?
I often help students find answers to questions, for example: “I am looking to find ethylene production in the last 5 – 10 years comparing with countries outside of the U.S..” Also, I am often asked for help in finding and downloading journal articles.
Q. How did it feel to receive the Mentor award from the Graduate Student Association?
I feel very happy and proud to have received this award. Our graduate students are always eager to learn research and information skills. Being acknowledged by them, I feel, that they have appreciated our Libraries' services and contribution during their journey as graduate students at Drexel. Thank you so much, GSA!