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Managing Library Reserves, Q & A With Katherine Fischer, Access Services Librarian For Reserves

By: Jenny Lee, marketing & events associate

Katherine and her team are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief, albeit a quick one, as we move past the first week of classes. This team of three people are responsible for helping all of Drexel’s faculty members seamlessly provide access to their course reserve materials online through Blackboard Learn or physically at the nearest library location. While doing this they have to ensure that the Drexel abides by copyright laws.

I recently sat down with Katherine to learn a little more about the reserves process at Drexel.

Q: What is your position at the Libraries?
A: I am the Access Services Librarian for Reserves – which means that I manage the reserves program at the Libraries. Reserves are information resources selected by Drexel faculty members for use in coursework. My team works directly with faculty to make materials accessible to students through the Libraries or through Blackboard Learn while ensuring that they are within licensing and Fair Use limitations. Last year alone we had over 275,000 reserves transactions and it is exciting to manage such a popular library service.

Q: What do you like most about your position?
I like interacting with people – helping to connect students and faculty to library reserve materials, letting instructors know that our reserves team can scan and post or stream their course reserve materials, and collaborating with my library colleagues.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in dealing with Reserves?
My biggest challenge is reaching faculty and students. This includes providing information about our services to letting students know that we have their book available for checkout or explaining the fine points of respecting intellectual property rights to a faculty member.

Q: How do you keep up-to-date with Copyright issues?
A: Clearly communicating the limitations of copyright can be a challenge and a frustration point for some of our faculty. It is important that I keep up to date with the latest copyright issues so I subscribe to several mailing lists and blogs. My favorite one right now is the Scholarly Communications blog at Duke University.

Q: What made you want to become a Librarian?
A: While working towards my B.A., I worked as a student assistant in my college library. The librarians there were truly passionate about their profession and helping students and faculty find the academic resources they need. It inspired me to want to do the same with my career.

Q: What does your typical day look like?
A: One of the greatest things about my position is that having a typical day is atypical: there is never a dull moment. In between troubleshooting reserves issues, I work with my reserves team of Laura Chance and Sophie Miles to process reserves requests and communicate about library reserves services. As a part of the library services staff, I also help the Circulation Desk staff checkout books and answer patron questions.

Q: What question are you asked most often?
A: By students: Can I take this (reserves) book out for 28 days? By faculty: Why can’t I have a larger percentage of this book available as electronic course reserves material, or, why don’t my reserves materials automatically appear in my course shell when I request them?

Provide feedback about your reserves experience through our online Counting Opinions survey.

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