By Brenna Mackay

On April 30, Amber Lannon began her appointment as Carleton’s University Librarian after serving in the interim position since Jan. 1, 2020. The University Librarian leads the MacOdrum Library in staffing, programs and services. Reporting to the Provost, the University Librarian is a member of Carleton’s senior administration. Externally, she represents Carleton on the Ontario Council of University Libraries and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.

Lannon first joined Carleton in July 2016 as Associate University Librarian (Academic Services). In this role, she was responsible for a significant portfolio that included Research Support Services, Access Services, and Archives and Research Collections departments.

Recently, Amber took time to discuss the valuable work being done by MacOdrum Library staff, opportunities ahead and the most rewarding aspects of her role.

Amber Lannon

Amber Lannon

Why did you choose to pursue a career as a librarian?

My very first paying position was working in a public library when I was 14 years old.  Although I had other jobs over time, I loved the environment, particularly the people who both work at and use libraries, and when it was time to choose a career there was no question that I would become a librarian.

Academic librarianship is something I became interested in during my time in university while working as a student employee at Dalhousie’s Killam Library. it was clear to me that being a librarian was the best work on campus. Librarians are integral to the teaching, learning, and research missions of the university across all the disciplines.  My library career has taken me from Dalhousie to the University of British Columbia, McGill and now Carleton -some of the best and most beautiful universities and campuses in Canada.

How has the library team continued to support students, faculty and staff at the end of the winter term?

Students and faculty can access more than 870,000 e books, 78,000 e journals, as well as streaming video and more through our website from anywhere in the world. Many of our services, like library research assistance are also available online. This means we were we have been able to meet the needs of numerous students and faculty at a distance and with our team working from home.

What are the short-term plans to support the Carleton community during the summer term?

Our Course Reserves team has been working for several weeks on the summer term, preparing course readings and obtaining any new materials needed for spring and summer teaching. In addition, our Research Support team has expanded our hours for online assistance into the evening and weekends.  We have also been growing our online collection and services as it seems likely that social distancing and reopening will happen in phases.  We have also become members of HathiTrust and are looking into participation in their Emergency Temporary Access program (ETAS).  This would give researchers greater access to our print materials.  We hope to have this in place very soon.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities for the library as we adjust to the new normal in the months ahead?

Although we already had a broad range of online services and resources, we have expanded both considerably. In the months ahead, this will serve our faculty and students well as its likely that even when the library building reopens, some people will need to continue work and study at a distance.

Overall, I think the library has been able to demonstrate that our team of dedicated staff have the expertise to serve students and faculty under any circumstance.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your role?

The library is integral to both the teaching and research missions of the university with a broad range of services and collections.  At the same time, it is also a gathering and learning space for the university, particularly students —and we welcome the community.

To be successful on so many fronts requires a team of talented and dedicated people – it is my job to support our team so that they can provide excellent service to our students and faculty.  A rewarding aspect of my role is that I frequently receive messages about our exceptional team and the outstanding support they have provided.

Are there services or initiatives you would like to highlight?

The library has so many services and initiatives that are worthy of highlighting however there are two that support research at Carleton that I think not many people are aware of.

Patricia Moore, a member of Academic Services team helps Carleton researchers and authors make their work available, findable and acknowledged.  She can assist with open access repositories, author rights and agreements, publishing, as well as researcher profiles and metrics.

Jane Fry, a member our Research Support Services can support you with the Tri-Agency Research Data Management policy. As well, she will help you to find a repository and DOI for your research data and/or your replicate dataset, another requirement of many of the granting agencies and top academic journals.

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