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Library & Information Science Success Stories

Adam Williams '08LS

Title: Reference Librarian, Springfield Technical Community College Library

Adam Williams was the recipient of the 2009 GSLIS West Leadership Award. The award is given to an outstanding GSLIS West student who best exemplifies the leadership values of academic excellence, community building, service, and commitment to the success of other students and the program.

Adam began at GSLIS West in Fall 2006, and served as the LISSA West President for 2007-2008. During that year, he and the LISSA West team brought students together into an active community by providing leadership and initiating new and creative ways to build relationships. In addition to organizing public speaking events on public, school, and academic libraries, and on archives, he helped arranged a number of well attended student social events.

While at GSLIS West, Adam focused his coursework on management, reference and technology. He also worked as a Thrive Circuit Rider as part of a grant received by the Western Massachussetts Library System (WMRLS). He and his colleagues assisted libraries serving populations under 2,000 to update their collections. In addition to weeding, the grant enabled WMRLS to build websites for a handful of small libraries. He is now working as a reference librarian at the Springfield (MA) Technical Community College Library.

What were you doing before library school?

I worked in retail, starting out in bookstores, then progressed into online sales and product photography. Online sales interested me the most in that I could work with technology and people. In all, I probably spent 6-8 years in retail before entering Library school.

Why did you choose library school?

I jumped into the GSLIS West program feet first and did not know what I was getting into. In part, I needed a career change from retail, I enjoyed customer service but disliked selling products. From all the information I could gather, and my interview with Terry Plum, library science and the GSLIS West program seemed a perfect fit. At the time, I understood library science as an intersection of people, technology and information. What was a vague sense of library science turned out to be true and kept me motivated throughout my course of study. That intersection of people, technology and information continues to motivate me in my professional career.

What did you do while you were at GSLIS (particular projects)?

I found my involvement as the LISSA-West president invaluable and rewarding. Aside from planning speaking events for students, my legacy is bowling. The previous student body government had started bowling occasionally. I took advantage of the trend and expanded on their work. Setting up events at the bowling alley proved to be a good way to connect with fellow students and faculty at GSLIS West as well as area librarians outside the program. LISSA-West also collaborated with the student body leaders in Boston to bring together both sides of the state in a grand bowling match.

What was your favorite class and/or the most valuable experience you had?

I enjoyed most, if not all, of the courses I took while at Simmons. I found GSLIS West faculty open to experimentation and many of my class projects allowed students to experience real-life situations. For example, my digital library class built a digital library from the server up. We commandeered a desktop in the GSLIS West lab and dedicated the computer to house our digital artifacts. Even more excitingly the class took on an open source platform, Omeka, to build our repository of GSLIS West artifacts. We also designed the site and wrote the copy, digitized the objects, applied metadata, and more. With the support of our professor a class of 8 people accomplished a great deal.

What are you doing now?

I currently work for Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) Library as a reference librarian. However, my job at STCC Library is varied; I teach classes, update the website, weed the collection, trouble shoot computer issues, answer reference questions, etc. The STCC Library position is a jack of all trades job, which I enjoy a great deal. I also recently finished work on the LSTA Thrive grant project for the Western Massachussetts Library System. As Thrive Circuit Riders my colleagues and I assisted libraries serving populations under 2,000 to update their collections, mostly through the process of weeding. In addition to weeding, the grant enabled WMRLS to build websites for a handful of small libraries, of which I was a part.