Subject area librarians support both teaching and research missions

Author: Carol C. Bradley

Aedin Clements

Many Hesburgh Libraries librarians are involved with collection development, says Aedin Clements, Irish studies librarian and head of collection development.

Librarians in the collection development department have the luxury of being devoted to their subject, principally humanities, she says.

“We take very seriously our liaison position with the departments and institutes that we serve. We support all teaching needs of the department, and research needs of the faculty.”

Traditionally, collection development librarians are bibliographers for subjects where the University has an emphasis or high aspirations—theology, philosophy, medieval studies, Catholic studies or English literature, for example. The music and film, television and theatre librarians have recently joined the department, and a new subject area librarian in East Asian studies will join the library faculty in March.

The needs of the subject areas vary, Clements notes. Notre Dame has one of the country’s top theology libraries, and Alan Krieger, theology and philosophy librarian, keeps up with current publications as well as developing the rare books collection to support faculty research and teaching.

Collections managed by Latin American and Iberian studies librarian David Dressing include a large number of manuscripts, such as the complete archives of a Mexican textile factory.

In Irish studies, Clements’ area, the modern Irish language collection is among the top in the U.S. “Harvard and Boston College are the only places with collections of similar quality,” she says.

Librarian Laura Fuderer, Clements notes, deals with sizable subscription databases of all kinds. “She teaches students to, for example, locate a certain volume of Jonathan Swift that has illustrations by a particular artist.

“We support the teaching mission of the University by ensuring that all reading, viewing and research resources needed to support classes at Notre Dame are provided. But we also consult with both professors and students,” says Clements. “We teach the students how to use the resources—either by bringing them here or going to classes. And we produce online course resources guides to enable students to help themselves.”

Doug Archer

Doug Archer: Peace Studies

Doug Archer’s area of research and professional interest is human rights, particularly the areas of free expression and censorship. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Indiana Library Federation’s Danny Gunnells Intellectual Freedom Award. As subject area specialist, he assists those connected with the Kroc Institute with their work—from buying library materials to preparing Web pages of support material for courses.

“Peace studies is a very new discipline, and it’s still defining itself,” says Archer. “It includes methodologies from the humanities and social sciences. The information sources needed vary widely.”

It’s an interesting way, toward the end of his career, to “bring it all together,” although, he adds, he’s not planning to retire anytime soon.

“I see the Peace Studies program as the epitome of the University’s commitment to international justice and intercultural studies. It couldn’t fit with the University’s mission—and Father Hesburgh’s vision—any better.”

Parker Ladwig

Parker Ladwig: Biological sciences

“I’m always looking for opportunities to help with the University’s research mission, primarily by focusing on departmental faculty and what I can do to help them in their work,” says Parker Ladwig, subject area specialist in biological sciences, mathematics and pre-professional studies. In addition, he makes himself available to assist students with their research, either one-on-one or in the classroom.

His job, he notes, goes beyond ordering books and journals. “I keep up with trends not only in library science, but in the academy as well,” he says. “We keep in mind the University’s goals and strategic plan, not just for the library but for the department and the college.”

Ladwig is working on a project with biology professor Frank Collins and VECNet to build a digital library for the project, which aims to eliminate malaria through mosquito control. The plan is to make the library available to the world.

“What I would like to let people know is that we can help. Don’t hesitate to ask.”