Librarian merges digital and physical resources

A new position in the University’s Jerome Library showcases a growing area of library science and a librarian with the energy and passion to show it off.

Electronic Resources Coordinator Amy Fry started working at the University in May 2009 with students and online databases.

“We’ve been trying to figure out how I can help people best,” Fry said. “It has been fun and chaotic.”

As an Ohio native, Fry has since moved all over the country working for different libraries since 2003.

Her childhood and interests left no surprises for her family once she decided to study library science at the University of Illinois. Older sister Wendy Willmer of Westlake, Ohio, knew her sister would always succeed.

“She has always been the person in our family that does the exceptional things,” Willmer said.

Willmer also described Fry as always being passionate about reading, spending late nights in both middle school and high school reading heavy literature.

“She had piles and piles of books in her room and she read them all,” Willmer said.

Willmer also described her sister as always doing crazy jobs; Fry once worked as a DJ for a radio station and she also performed as a singer in a band for coffee houses.

“You never know what she’s going to do next,” she said.

Fry’s accomplishments in the fields of library science and electronic resources were rewarded in January by the online database EBSCO. She was given a scholarship to attend the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Boston for writing an essay about the biggest challenges facing libraries in managing electronic resources.

“Libraries collect physical materials and it’s all very important,” Fry said. “But a lot is being digitized.”

Fry said she hopes to bring the two focuses of physical materials and digitized materials together. Her experiences in school allowed her the opportunity to work with databases and online resources.

“I never had a job where I had to catalogue,” Fry said.

The new position of Electronic Resources Coordinator evolved out of the move to more electronic material.

Colleen Boff, Chair of Department of Library Teaching and Learning, said she sees Fry as a breath of fresh air.

The department provides instruction and reference for students.

“The purpose is to improve the experience of the user in terms of how they interact with our electronic resources,” Boff said. “When [Fry] does her job she always has the user in mind.”

Boff sees Fry’s abilities to think outside of the box and her energy and creativity as a great addition to the library staff.

“She’s just been a real power house here,” she said.

Reference Coordinator Linda Rich worked with Fry on a study to improve the library Web site to further improve student experiences.

“It was her design of the study and her energy that got it all started,” Rich said. “When she first came in I had a list of changes I wanted to get done and she just jumped right in.”

Fry said she hopes to continue to improve the electronic resources and students experience in the library. “We feel like students really care about the library,” she said.