Question and Answer with Nancy Bellafante, Librarian for Undergraduate Learning

Question and Answer with Nancy Bellafante, Librarian for Undergraduate Learning
Jenny James Lee
September 4, 2013

In the year and a half since she joined the Libraries’ staff, Nancy Bellafante has been busy. As the Libraries first librarian dedicated specifically to undergraduate learning, she is tasked with developing programs to strengthen information literacy skills in undergraduates while promoting lifelong learning. Already, she has developed numerous new initiatives to promote the Libraries services and programs. She’s partnered with faculty and staff from multiple disciplines, hosted successful workshops, tours and events, and continues to strengthen the Personal Librarian Program.

As fall term rapidly approaches and Drexel prepares to welcome a new group of students, I sat down with Nancy to hear about how she’s preparing for the upcoming year.

Q: What is your role at the Libraries?
As the librarian for undergraduate learning, I most often collaborate with colleagues at the Libraries and across campus to develop programs that promote information literacy and lifelong learning. This includes working with the Center for Academic Success, the Writing Center, the Office of Undergraduate Research, the First Year Writing Program and many others.

What is your advice to incoming students?
First, focus on time management and develop a system to stay organized in week 1. Our terms move quickly and it is important to stay on track. Second, it is important to get involved on campus and to step out of your comfort zone. There are so many wonderful opportunities at Drexel. And, of course, attend Thursday's lunchtime workshops this fall in the Library Learning Terrace!

What made you want to become a librarian?
I have worked in education for many years, first as a language arts teacher and later an information technology instructor. My work as a librarian, in many ways, has blended my interests in research, writing, and technology.

What do you think is the biggest benefit of the Personal Librarian Program?
Academic libraries can be much larger and more complex than high school or public libraries. This program offers a personal approach to helping students become familiar with our resources and services. The Personal Librarian Program is a unique addition to the collection of opportunities for freshman to become acclimated to Drexel.

What is your favorite Library Resource? Why?
Interlibrary loan is an amazing resource. I use the service – through ILLiad or EZ-Borrow – almost once a month. This provides us access to the journals and books of 70 other libraries! It’s very easy to make a request and the service is fast and free.

What do you like most about your job?
My favorite part of the job is working directly with a student or faculty member. It feels great to help someone and to make that personal connection. And our patrons are the best. They are always so grateful.

What does an average day look like for you?
My average day can vary drastically depending on the term and the projects I am currently working on. However, the constant is writing. I spend much of my time writing in all manners and forms – website content, tutorials, handouts, reports, surveys, workshop plans … the list is very long. I also provide reference assistance, conduct research, develop lessons, teach classes, plan events, and attend meetings. I routinely scan higher education news for inspiration and fresh ideas for using educational technology to promote information literacy.