Gleeson’s Graduates: Where are they now?

Photo by Mark Ramsay

“I earned my current position at Columbia University with the skills I learned at Gleeson Library…”

Commencement’s coming quickly, which means that a great, new group of USF students — including many of the library’s fantastic student assistants — will graduate! Our alums go on to do great things, and we love to hear about their accomplishments and adventures. Recently, we got back in touch with Grace Abanavas, who attended USF from 2005-2009. Grace, who earned a Bachelor’s degree in History at USF, also worked at Gleeson Library from 2005-2009, during which time she also served on the Joint University Library Advisory Committee (JULAC). This December, she earned her Master’s degree in Library Science from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. I interviewed Grace about her time at USF, and what she’s up to today.  Here’s what she had to say…

What did you do at Gleeson?

I was an Access Services Student Assistant at Gleeson. I helped patrons check material in and out, shelved returned items, shifted stacks, searched for lost books, shelf-read, helped process interlibrary loan materials, and completed numerous other tasks appointed to the student assistants by staff members.

What are you doing now?

I currently work at Columbia University’s Arthur W. Diamond Law Library as a Circulation Assistant.

How did you decide to go to library school?

I have worked in various libraries, museums, and archives since I was sixteen. Knowing and liking the atmosphere of libraries, attending library school was the natural and smart progression in my career.

What are you most excited about for your professional future?

I am most excited about learning different aspects of librarianship and helping patrons in a different capacity. Since I have worked in public services for almost ten years, I want to take a look at the other side of curtain and work in technical services. During library school I really enjoyed my cataloging classes and want to gain more cataloging/metadata experience in a professional setting. In addition, I know little about collection development and continuing resources and would like to educate myself in those areas of libraries too.

Is there anything about your work at Gleeson Library that has influenced or helped you in your life post-USF?

I earned my current position at Columbia University with the skills I learned at Gleeson Library. From reading the LC call number system, to learning how to use Millennium ILS (the software the library uses to keep track of our user and holdings data), and handling different types of patrons, my work at Gleeson greatly influenced my post-USF life.

If you were stranded on an island and could have only one library resource, which one would you choose, and why?

If I was stranded on an island and had to choose one library resource, I would choose the ProQuest database. I like ProQuest; it’s easier to use than other popular electronic resources and they have an extensive database which includes the New York Times archives. In addition, it’s a handy tool to show patrons how to find information online.

What is your favorite search strategy and why?

My favorite search strategy starts with Wikipedia. Since Wikipedia is a widely known information source, I like to start by searching the site to gain a general synopsis of my topic. After I read through the articles about my topic, I scroll down to the page’s citations. I search through the citations on the page and see where the editors learned their information. If these resources are from legitimate places, such as a peer-reviewed articles, I further read through the source to gain more information on my topic.

Congrats on earning your master’s degree in Library Science, Grace! We’re so proud of you, and maybe we’ll see you at a professional conference soon! 

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