Her library: Heather Lewin | news

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Heather Lewin is originally from Vermillion, SD.




Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of the Iowa State Daily Your Library series.

The university library serves every student in the state of Iowa, and the way the library serves its students is extensive and varied.

This Iowa State Daily Your Library series is a collaboration with the University Library. It is designed to introduce librarians from across the library to college students and the Iowa State and Ames community. This series is designed to show students that the library is not just a place to study, but has other aspects as well, including a wide range of student collaboration opportunities.

Let’s find ways to connect and explore “your library”.

The librarian

This week’s librarian is Heather Lewin, originally from Vermillion, SD.

How would you introduce yourself?

Professionally, I am a scientific librarian. I have a BA in Biochemistry with a minor in Mathematics and a Masters in Library and Information Science. I am a nerd. Personally, I am a wife and mother of two teenage girls. In my spare time, I like to attend courses on various topics that interest me, grow vegetables in my garden, work on projects in my garage, and play board games with friends. My kids and husband would say I’m borderline obsessed with K-Pop and K-Drama. I am an introvert who likes people.

How many years have you worked in the state of Iowa?

Almost 15 years.

Why did you choose the state of Iowa?

After graduation, I saw this position advertised and it was my dream position. The library here is big enough that I could specialize in science, but not so big that I lose touch with the rest of the library. Ames fit everything I wanted in a hometown for my children. I was offered the position even though I had no experience at the time. I accept.

How would you explain your job to someone who doesn’t know what it is?

My main tasks are divided into these categories:

  • Rate books, magazines, and materials to be added or removed from the library (especially in the science, engineering, and nutrition / nursing areas).
  • Answer research questions that range from simple / general to very deep / complex.
  • Teaching library 160.
  • Teach classes / groups how to use library resources for their specific class assignments or research projects.
  • Communicate with departments to understand their needs and keep them updated on library news.
  • Manage the international nest of the library (room 34): organize game nights, plan events and make the room inviting.
  • Go to meetings, lots of meetings.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite parts are the moments when you know you’ve made a difference: answering a question that baffled the questioner, or the flash of understanding when someone comes up with a new concept.

The funniest moments are game evenings in the international nest.

How can students collaborate with the library?

The library wants you to take advantage of the resources we’ve invested in. This includes the library materials (books, magazines, etc.), rooms and staff skills.

Give us feedback. Let us know what is good and what could be better.

Help us increase the longevity of 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 to ask. You can ask in person, by chat or by email.

Get to know the specialist in your department. 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 good place to start. Develop these skills further.

Favorite place to eat, hang out or work on campus?

I’m very biased, but I think the library in general and the International Nest (room 34) specifically are the best place on campus to just hang out and relax. Since I helped design the room, it feels a bit like my home. Everyone is welcome in the room as long as they are kind and considerate of their surroundings.


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