How did you get your start at LCC? What do you remember most from your first day/week/month?
I began my LCC Library employment after my second adjunct librarian position interview in October 1988. My first interview was two years earlier when I was offered the adjunct librarian position believing that when the job description indicated that one must be available to work evenings & weekends I could still keep my full time day job and work some evenings & weekends. Since the adjunct librarian position was part time it also required that I had to be available during some daytime librarian work shifts Monday-Friday. At that time my former spouse was in law school and unemployed, and my Lansing School District full time job required me to work weekdays 7:30am – 4pm. In the fall of 1988 as I was completing my MLIS library degree I was able to accept the offered LCC adjunct librarian position.
What I remember most about my first week at the LCC Library was that I was scheduled to work 10 hours as a work trial. By the end of my week I was scheduled for 39.5 hours for the next week and then on. It not until the early 1990's when adjunct librarians were limited to work a maximum of 35 hours per week.
I enjoyed working so much in all the LCC Library locations and being part of an innovated team environment that I made the choice to stay here for 34.5 years. And will cherish my LCC friendships and precious memories as I move on to the next chapter of my life.
Have you held different positions at LCC? How would you describe your career path and the role that LCC played in it?
The different positions I held in the LCC Library Department were: Adjunct Reference Librarian (7 years); the inaugural Electronic Resources Librarian (20 years); Reference Lead & Liaison Librarian (7.5 years).
The role that LCC played in my career path is that I was fortunate to be part of a team-oriented Library group of people who supported a wide variety of innovations and activities. Under the Library Director, Elenka Raschkow, a Library department team continued to embraced technological changes as well as challenges and always kept curriculum support and student success in the forefront of our mission. The Library continues that mission today.
What's your favorite memory from your time at LCC? Who are the people who made working here great?
Of all the wonderful LCC memories I will cherish, the one that will always stand out the most is when the current Technology Learning Center building was still a pipe-dream. There was a need to house all 3 of the Library locations collections & staff, plus the Media Services Department and the Computer Information Technology Department into one efficient campus location. I was part of the early 1990's task force to determine the need to bring to LCC the infant technology of "The Internet" as a TLC building was being talked about. Computer consultants were hired to determine what kind of intranet / internet connectivity was needed for the LCC campus. When the computer consultants came to the Library and asked what were we going to do with "The Internet." I was the spokesperson for the library team. Keep in mind that by 1981 the LCC Library was the first in Michigan to provide a computer catalog for the entire collection separated in three locations. (See LCC Library History) As I began the Library presentation to the computer consultants about all the ways major universities of the 1990's were beginning to think of ways of print sources were going to be electronically accessed in the future, within less than 10 minutes I was told to stop talking! The memorable statement I heard was, "Lady, you're talking crazy! Do you know how much bandwidth it will take to transmit the data of a magazine article or a book through the internet? You are describing science fiction. That won't happen for a very long time. It will never be feasible." Ah! As hindsight allows us to look back, it was actually less than 10 years, before the 21st century, that the digitization of print sources drastically changed how information is gathered.
My former LCC Library colleagues and I laugh and giggle about being called crazy! I personally have been called worst. However, the LCC Library team has always quietly, without a lot of fan-fair, always kept aware of library technological innovations and found ways to implement those that can benefit students and college curriculum programs. The LCC Library has a solid foundation and currently has a great team of people to even further strengthen the Library's value to the campus community.
The people who made working at the LCC Library satisfying and memorable were / are actually every Library Department employee & student assistant I've had and have the pleasure to work with for almost 35 years!
I would like to thank Ellen Person, the Library Director who enthusiastically hired me. Plus a big shout out to the mentors of my early years: Elenka Raschkow (Library Director 32 years); Matt Rademacher, Mark Zussman, Kathleen DeForest, Shawn Anderson, Roxie Feldpausch, Terri Westmoreland, Judy Thompson, Bill Kemper, Barb Lytle, Cindy Droste, Tori Meadows, Barb Shipman, Trixi Smith, Susan Merkle, and Maggie Cooper. My endearing gratitude goes out to my LCC work forever friends / mentors: Elenka & Shawn (worth mentioning twice), Debby Harris, Michele Holmberg, Robin Moore, Anne Rau, Fran Krempasky, John Hendzel, Renee Mickelson, Jeff & Penny Huber and especially Kim Farley, who passed away much too young. It's been a pleasure to work alongside John Szilagyi (current Library Director), and all the current Research Help Librarians: Suzanne Bernsten, Ami Ewald, Chuck Page, Jordan McIntyre, Julie Ruark, and Caitlyn Stypa. To all other previous & current library staff along with the wonderful Learning Commons team members – thanks for the memories, you are ALL special to me.
I have been delighted to be part of so many LCC campus-wide committees, including the inaugural Academic Senate, to meet wonderful dedicated and caring people from all campus locations. LCC is truly unforgettable. It is imprinted on my heart and will always have several chapters in my life's story as I go on to my next chapter. Yes, it is part of my profession to be "punny!"
What were your greatest accomplishments or successes while working at LCC?
While looking back at all the Library successes I've been part of, I am proud to have represented LCC in several national and international online publishers' academic advisory boards. Early in the online explosion I was able to share instrumental feedback to advocate customization of library online subscriptions due to the uniqueness of community college needs versus large universities.
The most satisfying accomplishment while working in the LCC Library is with the Library Liaison relationships with many campus programs such as History & BCI. However my collaboration with the terrific Technical Careers Division began long before the West Campus location was created with the Fire Science Program. The new FIRE lead faculty Jeff Huber in the late 1990's took me up on my offer to have the Library work with the NFPA Codes producer to obtain those codes online. The LCC Library was the National Fire Protection Association's first college library online subscription. That successful collaboration led to the creation of the online LCC Fire Portal webpage, which became a highly acclaimed by the International Fire Service Training Association be an accreditation standard. I then had the privilege to work with the LCC Auto Technology program's lead faculty Jim Ripley and Marv Argersinger to create the LCC Auto Portal. Over the years of being welcomed by all LCC Tech Careers programs, I am proud to have been able to help the West Campus students & employees be able to locate pertinent harvested informational resources with the help of many library colleagues, especially Anne Rau and Fran Krempasky. As Anne Rau and myself, the current Technical Careers Division Library Liaisons, both retire this Spring 2022 we are proud to have strengthened the Library & Technical Careers foundation collaboration by creating numerous customized web pages in the Technical Careers Library Resources online guides.
To try to summarize numerous LCC accomplishments, I am proud to be part of the Library Reference & Instruction team and all campus faculty to help teach information literacy skills. Very recently I was recently awestricken to receive kind words from many who learned of my soon departure. The most heartening message I received was a wonderful "thank you" note from an employee who I spent time sharing advanced research skills with. The note included "you make doing research fun!" Such rewarding feedback is truly appreciated.
What are you looking forward to in your retirement? What plans are you most excited for?
I have a list of "someday" projects as tall as I am. It is time for me to begin some of those! I look forward to getting back to doing many of the arts & crafts, such as needlework and acrylic painting, I did before raising two wonderful children and dealing with life challenges and unexpected turn of events.
As an empty nester, several home reorganization projects beacon me. I am most excited to try to fit into the busy schedules of several retired friends to spend time in each other's presence without being rushed. I'll continue to do much of my community volunteerism, especially in the Lansing School District's Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program that I've enjoyed for the last 25 years.
Plus, I want to try to do some traveling with family and friends. I long to visit & see with my own eyes many places that I have always read about; maybe some dreams can come true. However, the major goal of my "golden years" is to work more closely with my brother, John P. Sawyer, to organize and digitize all our family's known 400 year history in the North America and family memorabilia. This project will hopefully be appreciated by our future generations.
Is there any additional information that you would like to share related to your time at LCC?
Lastly, I'll share that I am blessed to have stood on the "shoulders of giants" by working alongside many great LCC associates. To all whom I have shared smiles with during our LCC encounters I wish much success in all your endeavors.
I will leave LCC with my heart full. I've done what I could to find ways to contribute the best way I can in the 34.5 years as LCC, while learning so much along the way.
Sincerely, Suzanne Sawyer