Q & A with Elise Ferer, Librarian for Undergraduate Learning

Q & A with Elise Ferer, Librarian for Undergraduate Learning
Jenny James Lee
March 4, 2015

Elise FererElise Ferer, the Libraries’ librarian for undergraduate learning has a big task ahead of her - partnering with faculty and staff to integrate information literacy into the Drexel undergraduate experience. In a world full of quick Google searches, it can be a challenge to explain the importance of a good source and reliable information.

Elise joined the Libraries in December bringing a strong background in teaching information literacy. Already, she has big plans for working with undergraduates.

Q: What is your role at the Libraries?
I’m the librarian for undergraduate learning, which can mean a lot of different things. Overall, I want to incorporate information literacy and library outreach into the undergraduate experience. Seeing that Drexel is so large and made up of many different colleges this can mean a lot of different things. Right now I’m focusing most on creating or reinforcing partnerships with the Freshman English sequence, Steinbright Career Discovery Center, the Language Writing Center, Orientation, and the Office for Undergraduate Research.

Q: What advice would you give to incoming Drexel Students?
From what I have seen so far, Drexel students are very driven and focused on what they want to do in the real world. Since there is such a focus on co-op and career, I would tell students that it’s ok to change their mind about what they are studying and their career path. Now is the time to explore what they are interested in. When I was in college I had no idea I would become a librarian. I found my way here by exploring careers and assessing what types of work I enjoyed.

Q: What about advice for their parents?
I think being the parent of an incoming student can be more intimidating than actually being an incoming student. So, I would want parents to know how to help their child and what resources were available so parents could have peace of mind as well as ways to advise their child as necessary. There are a lot of resources on Drexel’s campus – students and parents just need to know to use them.

Q: What made you want to become a librarian?
I enjoyed doing research when I was in college and have always been interested in education and finding a way to make a difference. And I’ve found that I really like being able to help students succeed in higher education.

Q: What do you think is the biggest benefit of the Personal Librarian Program?
That it gives a personal face to the library, I’m optimistic and hope that this program can help students better navigate the library and information and make it less intimidating. While every student may not know who the liaison or subject specialist for their program is, they’re introduced to one librarian who can be a point of contact for questions.

Q: What is your favorite Library Resource?
Frankly, I think the people are the best resource in any library. When I’m stumped about something research related I often go to my colleagues for other ideas or input. Everyone who works in a library can often point you in the right direction.

Q: What does an average day look like in your position?
There is no average day, especially in this position! I usually have at least one meeting to either check in with people I’m working with or to discuss specific projects or programs. Some days I’ll be on reference for a set period of time [answering questions via chat and meetings] or have meetings with students or faculty. My day always includes reading and writing in some form, everything from emails to academic papers that I use to inform what I’m doing and writing to share what I’m working on with other librarians. I’m new here, so I’m still learning what I can expect in this position.

Q: You’re new to this position, what are some of your goals for the first year?
My first goal is to get to know people and Drexel at large. A lot of the most interesting work I did in my previous job was because of the connections I made with others on campus. Drexel is a fast paced place, so this can be a challenge. I hope to be able to embed myself further into some programs on campus like the freshman English sequence and find new ways to incorporate information literacy into courses. And I’d like to have an opportunity to connect with others on campus who are working with academic integrity.

Q: What do you think is unique to Drexel and its students/culture?
It’s really interesting to see all the opportunities that are available to students here from the variety of courses and work faculty are doing to all the things that Philadelphia offers. Students here have a lot to explore and there is a pressure to keep up with the fast pace of Drexel and Philadelphia.