Editor’s Note: This is the first in a regular series profiling OhioLINK staff.
OhioLINK’s newest member, collections analyst Joanna Voss, uses her skills from a STEM background.
Joanna took a roundabout way of being involved with library services. She received her bachelor of arts degree in physics from Denison University, and her masters degree in aerospace engineering from The Ohio State University. Afterwards, she worked at the Columbus Metropolitan Library and received her masters in library science from Kent State University in 2011. Before joining the OhioLINK staff on September 2, 2014, she worked for Ohio State University as the electronic resources access coordinator.
Joanna recently sat down with OhioLINK to discuss her career and the importance of STEM in library services.
As a collections analyst what are your job responsibilities?
I assemble analysis projects regarding our e-resources. So for example, I’ll look at usage and at our costs. We then use that information when negotiating our electronic resource contracts. The other piece that I’m working on is with Amy Pawlowski, our deputy director, managing the information surrounding our e-resource contracts.
What led you to this profession?
I love science, but I also love libraries. In science, your research builds upon the research and scholarship of those who came before you. That scholarship is made available through libraries, which are therefore important to science as we know it. Like a lot of librarians, I came to this in a sort of roundabout way. I started working in libraries part-time during my undergraduate and graduate school years. I really enjoy helping people find out what they need to know on an individual level, too.
What’s the best part of your job?
I like finding an answer to a question. The best part is if at the end of gathering all this data I can come to some conclusion that is helpful to the organization.
Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
I think my answer is that I’m not there yet. I’ve only been here a few months, and I’ve only been in academic libraries a couple of years. I’d like to think my best stuff is ahead of me.
What advice do you have for others that might be interested in library services?
My advice is to not discount the STEM fields. There’s definitely a need for that in librarianship. A STEM background is sought after for library liaisons to academic departments in those fields. It helps to understand the processes and specific needs of students, researchers, and instructors in those areas, and for other emerging needs such as research data management. Plus, many libraries are working to become data driven and want to integrate their resources as seamlessly as possible into the online digital world. The skills one acquires as part of a STEM education can be very useful there.
Are there any goals you have set for yourself for the upcoming year?
My goal for the next year is to get past the learning curve and start to work on what we can do better at OhioLINK.
What are some of your hobbies?
My last project was a garden this summer, which wasn’t very successful. I grew one gigantic zucchini and nothing else. When I have the time I enjoy reading books. I like narrative nonfiction and biographies, but I don’t get to read very often these days.
What’s something about yourself that might surprise people?
I was an exchange student for a year. I went to high school in Murcia, Spain, which is in the southeast. It was awesome, and I would recommend being an exchange student to anyone; it broadens your horizons.
If you could be any superhero, who would you be, and why?
I actually would not be a superhero because it kind of feels like cheating. They get a magical power to fix whatever they want, and I really like having the challenge of using your tools at hand to solve a problem. But I will say that I really like Captain America because he’s idealistic and good.