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Staff Spotlight - Jerry Yarnetsky

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?

Growing up in Buffalo, New York, I’ll forever be a Sabres and Bills fan, but I’ve also lived here in Butler County, southern Indiana and suburban Philadelphia. I finished my B.A. in English/journalism here at Miami University. After a decade in newspaper journalism, I discovered librarianship and earned a Master of Library Science from Indiana University.

How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?

Our team develops the University Libraries’ online services including developing a new library website. Stay tuned! Your input can help make it great!

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?

For me, it’s all about service. As a journalist, I was serving my community, but oft-times you never find out if your work helps make change. While I found librarianship sheerly by chance, I quickly fell in love with how libraries can directly serve the specific needs of every person who walks in the door and truly help them improve their lives. Having experienced Miami firsthand, the opportunity to help more students thrive here was one I had to snag.

What's the best part of working in a library?

Learning something new every day. I’ve learned so much from the people I have helped. Everyone is researching something unique.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?

This doesn’t apply just to libraries, I use it in every facet of life – ask questions. Ask lots of questions because the answers give you power to up your game and truly enjoy life. Sometimes asking can feel like a risk, but you’ll learn so much more about research, your coursework, and even fun stuff like places to eat amazing food.

What are you most excited about tackling in your new role?

Much of research today is conducted online, which makes the library website one of the most important experiences the University Libraries have to get right. One of the fascinating challenges of this will be making this experience accessible using any technology, from phones to screen reading software.

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?

With too many to count, I’ll go with my favorite series as a kid – “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators.” The middle school detectives solved the craziest mysteries through brains, research, and bravery. As a kid, I would have done anything to be the fourth detective on the team. I rediscovered the books as a librarian and was surprised with how well they hold up.

Any hobbies?

I’ve been drawing comics and studying comic history since I was a kid. I can’t say I was ever great at cartooning, but I still enjoy doodling when I get the chance. I also enjoy road tripping, design, architecture, history and leveraging technology to tell stories.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?

The fact I’d do about anything to help in the library might not surprise, but here is what might. My first library where I worked was hosting a huge kids program. The librarian’s husband usually helped with these programs, but he fell ill. As a result, the next thing I knew, I was dressed up in a head-to-toe Cat in the Hat costume entertaining the kids. Other than a trio of boys who insisted on pulling my tail I actually had a blast. Over the next few years, they had me appearing as Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and a few other characters whose names I’ve since forgotten. Yes, those costumes are freaking hot.

 

Staff Spotlight - Melissa Cherry

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?

I am from Columbus, Ohio. I lived most recently in the German Village neighborhood (strategically close to the Jeni's Ice Cream). I graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio (conveniently nearby to Whit's Frozen Custard) where I majored in Philosophy and Spanish. I completed my MLIS from Kent State with a concentration in Academic Libraries in 2014.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?

I am a Web Services Librarian so I develop the website for the University Libraries. My main responsibility is to make the website usable and accessible for students, faculty members, and librarians but I hope to make it beautiful too.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?

The most simple answer is that I just love books. The real reason, though, is my colleagues. Working with bright, collaborative, and creative people makes me happy to come to work every day and strive to be my best. I chose to come to Miami because the libraries have an aura of creativity and resoundingly support innovation in our field.

What's the best part of working in a library?

The best part of working in the library is the free books, of course. I love being constantly surrounded by the opportunity to learn new things.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?

I wish students knew of all of the awesome citation managers that can facilitate research by keeping things organized. They are such a time saver.

What are you most excited about tackling in your new role?

I am very excited to create a new library website for everyone, but I think that I'm looking forward most to contributing to Project Blacklight, an open source discovery service.

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?

That's probably the most difficult question anyone has ever asked me. Right now it is “The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. LeGuin, but my answer changes constantly. I'm a huge fan of anything written by J. K. Rowling or Jane Austen.

Any hobbies?

I spend most of my free time reading, exercising and sleeping, but I try to do a little bit of baking and rock climbing here and there as well. I also love eating good food, particularly ice cream and sushi.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?

I have always been a baseball fan. I learned to keep score and sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" before I could read.

Staff Spotlight: Stefanie Hilles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?

I am originally from Northeastern Ohio, specifically the Akron/Cleveland area. I have a B.A. in art history from Kent State University, an M.A. in art history from Case Western Reserve University, and an M.L.I.S. from Kent State University.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?

I’m the Arts and Humanities Librarian, and my office is in the Wertz Art and Architecture Library in Alumni Hall. I am the subject librarian for studio art, art history, art education, arts management, architecture, interior design, graphic design, and fashion. I work closely with both students and faculty in these areas to meet their information needs. This includes individual research consultations as well as classroom instruction. I am also in charge of collection management and development for my subject areas.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?

Like many librarians, I have always loved both books and libraries. After receiving my M.A., the M.L.I.S. was a logical next step. It allows me to combine my love of art with my love of books and research. What drew me to the Miami Libraries in particular was the people and the culture of innovation and creativity in the library. I wanted to be part of that.

What's the best part of working in a library?

Definitely the students. I love helping them find answers to their research questions.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?

When I was in college, I had no idea that librarians were available to help. So, if you need help on a research assignment, ask a librarian!

What's your favorite book? 

I could never choose one favorite book, just like I could never choose a single favorite artist or artwork. Some of my favorite books from this year include Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, American War by Omar El Akkad, and Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven.

Any hobbies?

Besides reading, I enjoy ballet and visiting museums.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?

I was captain of the cheerleading squad in high school. 

Staff Spotlight: Ginny Boehme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?
I grew up near Pensacola, Florida, but I moved to Birmingham, Alabama, for college and ended up sticking around there for a while. I earned a bachelor's in biology from Birmingham-Southern College and then a master's in library and information studies from the University of Alabama. ​


What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries? (roles/responsibilities as you know them so far)
I'm the science librarian, and my subject areas are biology, microbiology and environmental science. I'll be working closely with faculty in those areas (primarily) to instruct their students on library resources & research and to help make sure they have all the tools they need to succeed in their classes. I also have some other general library responsibilities, like reference work and collection development.


What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?
I was a library student assistant during my undergraduate years, and, after I got my bachelor's, I realized that I wouldn't get the same sense of job satisfaction in any other environment. I went back to school for my MLIS, and it was the best decision I've ever made. I continued to work at BSC's library as a student supervisor while I earned my master's. While I was there, I realized what it was that I found so wonderful, and it’s what I learned Miami does just as well (if not better)—it cares about its students.


What's the best part of working in a library?
The people. Librarians and library staff are some of the best and coolest people you'll ever meet.​


What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?
Don't be afraid to ask us for help! We know that first step into an academic library can be daunting, but we have so many great things behind our doors (both physical and virtual), and we are here to help you utilize them. We live for questions. Ask us!​


What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?
Oh geez. Asking me to narrow down the books I like to one favorite is like asking most little kids what they want to be when they grow up: the answer is going to change from day to day.​ Currently, my favorite author is Terry Pratchett, and his Discworld universe is one I'd be happy to inhabit. Tomorrow, who knows?


Any hobbies?
It's very cliché for a librarian, but I really like to crochet. I also built my own PC a year or so ago and have been slowly working through my Steam library in my spare time (VERY slowly). I also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking. One of my favorite things to do back in Birmingham was to sit out by a pond or lake and just listen to the frogs. Peaceful and chaotic all at once.


What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?
I was on the drumline in high school and college. I primarily played marimba, and I'm itching to pick up some mallets again.​

Staff Spotlight: Abi Morgan

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Spotlight: Abi Morgan

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?
I'm originally from Athens, Ohio, but after college I lived in the Washington, D.C. area for almost eight years. I have a BA in history and anthropology, an MEd from Ohio University, and an MLIS from the University of Maryland, College Park. I've been both a librarian in the federal government and a middle/high school social studies teacher.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries? I am the senior library technician at Wertz Art & Architecture Library, where I supervise the 1-10 p.m. shift and help patrons, especially with printing and scanning.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?
I've always been a huge reader who loves helping and teaching people, so libraries seemed like a natural fit. Since I grew up in a college town, I've always wanted to work in an academic library environment, and, as soon as I met all the warm and welcoming people at Miami, I knew it would be a great place to work.

What's the best part of working in a library?
Assisting people with their research and all of the interesting books!

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?
Google results are fine to start, but not where your research should end.

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?
Pride and Prejudice has been my favorite book since I was 12, and so I'd have to choose Elizabeth Bennet as the book character I'd most like to be. She is smart and confident, but willing to learn and change.  

Any hobbies?
Reading, drawing, interior design, and playing table-top board games.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?
I follow college football with a passion (but not the NFL).

Staff Spotlight: Craig Boman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Boman, discovery services librarian, joined the University Libraries during the summer. He finds great satisfaction in using technology to connect library patrons to needed resources through technology.

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?
I am originally from Vandalia, Ohio. My educational background is in music composition, and most recently higher education leadership.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?
I am the Discovery Services Librarian. My role at Miami libraries is to provide the least amount of technical hurdles between library users and the information they need to be successful. This includes working closely with our library staff to collaboratively improve the ways we deliver and gather information.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?
I was drawn to working in libraries after working in one as a student in college. For a moment, I explored combining my music and library interests as an orchestra librarian. I have much respect for them, but it was not for me. I chose Miami Libraries because I want to be a part of something bigger. I look forward to exploring my research and service interests here.

What's the best part of working in a library?
For me, the best part of working in a library is building a library catalog website, and then seeing in Google analytics how many people are using that website to find library resources.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?
I wish college students knew how important being able to effectively gather the right information is to their lifelong learning and lifelong success as an informed citizen

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?
My favorite book is Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I am fond of the narrator. Her take on the world (by way of the author) is fascinating.

Any hobbies?
Most of my hobbies, when not musical, include travelling. I've played and sang in lots of ensembles. Most recently this includes bagpipe lessons.

 

Staff Spotlight: Ariel Shirley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ariel Shirley is a Miami University alumna and former Miami University Libraries student worker who has returned to King Library as a library technician and overnight supervisor while working toward her master's degree.

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?
I was born and raised in Oxford, Ohio. After finishing high school, I decided to continue my studies in Oxford and attend Miami University. While there, I obtained a B.A. in psychology with a minor in child studies. I am currently working on a master’s in instructional design and technology at Miami.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?
I am a library technician and one of the overnight supervisors for the main circulation desk. I make sure that students feel safe and welcome while connecting them to the many resources King Library has to offer.

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?
While attending MU as an undergrad, I actually worked all four years at King Library. I held student positions within the IMC, Tech Services and Special Collections. This experience helped me better understand the wide range of services libraries provide, while offering me the opportunity to better understand my academic and career goals. After graduating from Miami and working full-time in a different city, I decided to return to the Miami as a library technician. The welcoming atmosphere, as well as Miami's amazing academic offerings and career benefits drew me back to Oxford.

What's the best part of working in a library?
The opportunity to discover new books, the wonderful co-workers, and the ability to help someone finish a project or learn a new skill.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?
The library is a welcoming and supportive environment, and the library staff is here to help with projects and questions – all they need to do is ask.

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?
Right now, it is "The Last Days of Jack Sparks" by Jason Arnopp. If I could be any book character, it would be Sabriel from the Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix. She's a cool, smart and compassionate necromancer/charter mage – something I can totally get behind.

Any hobbies?
I enjoy creative writing, horseback riding, hiking, going to the movies, and spending time with my family.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?
I am a huge comic book nerd! I enjoy reading DC/Vertigo comics, as well as indie comics (sorry, Marvel fans). Some of my favorite titles include:  Hellblazer, Batman:  Under the Red Hood, and the Umbrella Academy.

Investigating How Chinese Students Conduct Research

The Miami University Libraries are seeking volunteer Chinese students to participate in a study exploring how Chinese students perform research in relation to classroom assignments.

The study seeks to explore and better understand the information needs of Chinese patrons, so Libraries’ services can be enhanced to better meet those needs.

Participation is strictly voluntary, and those interested must be at least 18 years old. The study involves a 30-minute one-on-one interview, and participants have the freedom to stop the interview at any time or skip any question(s) they do not wish to answer. Anonymity is guaranteed, and only the research team will have access to participant responses.

If you would like to participate in this study or have any questions about the study, please contact one of the following librarians:

In addition, you may contact the Research Ethics and Integrity Office at Miami University, 513-529-3600 or humansubjects@MiamiOH.edu, if you have questions about the rights of research subjects.

Staff Spotlight: Gabriel Neff

Gabriel Neff joined the Miami University Libraries in November 2016 as a library technician and the evening circulation desk supervisor at King Library. He grew up in Cincinnati, graduated from Northern Kentucky University and began working in the library environment as a student worker during his college days.

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?

I grew up in Mason, Ohio. After attending Archbishop Moeller High School, I was a student-athlete (football) at Seton Hill University for two years. I hold a B.A. in organizational leadership from Northern Kentucky University.

What's your title? How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries? 

I am a library technician as well as the evening Circulation desk supervisor. I help ensure that everyone who comes to the circulation desk has a positive experience as well as connecting students to the resources they need. 

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?

I first started working in libraries as a student employee at NKU. I found that I liked helping my fellow students and enjoyed the benefits of working on campus. I ended up completing my internship at NKU's Steely Library, working primarily in circulation and stack maintenance. A couple years later I moved to Morgantown, West Virginia, with a former college roommate and started working at West Virginia University. I was at WVU for two years, working in facilities management and residential education. Miami's excellent reputation as an academic institution, competitive pay and benefits, as well as the opportunity to come back home to Southwestern Ohio were all major factors in choosing the Miami University Libraries.

What's the best part of working in a library?
Being involved in the Miami community, helping students, patrons and guests. 

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?
That library staff is always there to support them in any way. Never hesitate to ask for help.

What's your favorite book? 
"The Mind's Eye" by Oliver Sacks

Any hobbies?
Spending time with my fiancée. Hanging out with family around Oxford. Playing on the Libraries' broom ball team. Watching Bengals, Reds, Blue Jackets, Miami and WVU games. 

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?
I played the clarinet and viola as a kid.

Faculty stipend and workshop offered for exploring open textbooks

By Vince Frieden, strategic communications coordinator, University Libraries

REGISTER HERE

As the cost of textbooks attracts increasing state and national attention within the broader issue of college affordability, Miami University’s Office of the Provost and University Libraries seek to engage faculty in exploring open textbooks as an alternative to traditional textbooks.

Open textbooks are full, real textbooks already in use by many faculty across the country. They are licensed to be freely used, edited and distributed, and they provide faculty with content that can be customized to their courses. They are an emerging option for helping alleviate the burden of textbook costs for students.

To engage Miami’s faculty in learning more about open textbooks and exploring existing open textbook options in their course areas, the Provost’s Office and University Libraries are offering a $200 stipend through Miami’s Open Educational Resource Grant Program to faculty who will participate in a two-hour workshop and submit a review of an open textbook in their field.

The Open Textbook Workshop takes place from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28, in King Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship (King 303). Afterward, faculty will submit a written review of an open textbook from within the Open Textbook Library (OTL). 

Both steps must be completed to receive the stipend. Interested faculty can apply for the workshop online by Friday, April 21. Capacity for the program is limited, and preference will be given based on OTL textbook subject area availability. Faculty who have participated in previous Tier 1 OER Grant Workshops are not eligible to participate in this cycle.

Questions about the workshop or open textbooks in general can be directed to Carla Myers, scholarly communications coordinator within the University Libraries, at 513-529-3935 or myersc2@MiamiOH.edu. Faculty can learn more about the emerging field of Open Educational Resources (OER) online via the University Libraries’ website.