In December, Ramapo welcomed its newest member of the library staff. Hilary Westgate will mainly be focusing on reference instruction and outreach in her new position, offering Ramapo a new perspective on community involvement.
“We want to work with all different groups in our college community to make sure everybody knows they can come here, that they’re welcomed or that we can come to them,” Westgate said.
As a graduate student at Rutgers, Westgate discovered her interest in academic librarianship specifically and went on to work as a librarian at Misericordia University from 2012 to December of last year.
“I started being interested in being a librarian by working with kids in an after-school program — I was interested in general literacy and working with literacy creatively, so not necessarily always in a classroom but outside the classroom as well,” Westgate said.
At Ramapo, Westgate will work at the research help desk, as well as with reference services and instruction services, so students can expect to occasionally see her working with a class to teach them research skills. Westgate will also work to coordinate the library’s existing outreach strategies as well as their communications and marketing.
“I think that the library has a lot to offer — services, resources, people who work here … we want to make sure that’s visible throughout campus. I think we can be involved in a lot of different ways that might not be traditional. We can do more outside the building and make more connections and collaborations with people and with other student groups … there’s a lot of room there to add to.”
The library has recently worked in tandem with the Book Club as a part of the Year of Latin American Programming, which, according to the College’s website, is a strategic plan for comprehensive internationalization on campus. During both the fall and spring semesters of the current academic year, the library has chosen books with a focus on Latin@s and Latin America. This semester, students are invited to read “The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz.
“I would like to work more with student groups. We’re working on some ideas right now, that are in the works, to get involved with student clubs and organizations,” Westgate said. Westgate explained that the library even attended the Student Involvement Fair this semester in order to reach out for ideas.
Placing an emphasis on student involvement, Westgate expressed her hopes to keep students involved with the library.
“I want everyone to know that we’re here to help — and I think we do a good job of getting that out already,” Westgate said. “People seem to know that the librarians are happy to help with anything we can — no question is too small or too silly and it can be tough to work with research resources so that’s part of it. But please come to us with ideas, things that you think the library should be involved with — we’d be happy to do it.”