Editor's Note: This is part 1 in the Iowa State Daily’s “Your Library” series.
The University Library exists to serve every student at Iowa State, and the way that the library serves students is vast and varied.
This Iowa State Daily series, “Your Library,” is a collaboration with the University Library. It is meant to introduce librarians from across the spectrum of the library to students and the greater Iowa State and Ames community. This series is meant to show students that the library is more than just a place to study, it has other aspects to it, including a wide range of collaboration opportunities for students.
Let's find ways to connect and explore "Your Library."
This week's librarian is Heather Lewin, she/her/hers, who is originally from Vermillion, SD.
How would you introduce yourself?
Professionally, I am a science librarian. I have a BA in biochemistry with a minor in math and a Masters in Library and Information Science. I am a nerd. Personally, I am a wife and mom of two teenage girls. In my free time, I like to take classes on various subjects that catch my interest, grow vegetables in my garden, work on projects in my garage and play board games with friends. My kids and husband would say that I am borderline obsessed with k-pop and k-dramas. I am an introvert that likes people.
How many years have you worked at Iowa State?
Almost 15 years.
Why did you choose Iowa State?
After graduate school, I saw this job advertised and it was my dream position. The library here is big enough that I could focus on specializing in science but not so big that I’d lose touch with the rest of the library. Ames fit everything I wanted in a hometown for my kids. I was offered the position despite not having any experience at that point. I accepted.
How would you explain your job to someone who doesn’t know what it is?
My main responsibilities break into these categories:
- Evaluate books, journals and materials to be added or removed from the library (specifically in science, engineering and nutrition/nursing).
- Answer research questions ranging from simple/general and to very in-depth/complex.
- Teach Library 160.
- Provide instruction to classes/groups about how to use library resources for their specific class assignments or research projects.
- Communicate with departments to understand their needs and let them know about library news.
- Manage the library’s International Nest (Room 34): host game nights, schedule events and make the space welcoming.
- Go to meetings, lots of meetings.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite parts are those moments where you know you’ve made a difference: answering a question that had the asker stumped or the flash of understanding when someone gets a new concept.
The most fun moments are game nights in the international nest.
In what ways can students collaborate with the library?
The library wants you to make use of the resources that we have invested in providing. This includes the library materials (books, journals, etc.), spaces and skills of the staff.
Provide us with feedback. Let us know both what is good and what could be better.
Help us increase the longevity of the library materials and spaces by treating them well.
What tips and tricks do you have for students to interact with or use the library?
If you have a question, ask. The people in the library love questions. You can ask in person, via chat or by email.
Get to know your department’s subject librarian. Find your librarian here: https://instr.iastate.libguides.com/findyourlibrarian.
Knowing how to find and evaluate information is a life skill. Library 160 is a great start. Continue to develop this skill set.
Favorite location to eat, hangout, or work on campus?
I am highly biased but I think that the library in general and the international nest (room 34) specifically is the best place on campus to just hang out and relax. Since I helped to design the space, it feels a little bit like my home. Anyone is welcome in the space as long as they are kind and considerate of those around them.