Library director Johnathan Wilson traces path to this college

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A students-first library is the goal of the new director.

By Felicia Mora

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Library Director Johnathan Wilson chose his career path when he was 18.

“I stated working as a student assistant at my undergraduate university library, and I really enjoyed the work I was doing so I decided to focus my education on getting a master’s degree and becoming a librarian,” Wilson said Nov. 22 in a phone interview.

Wilson joined this library at this college in May. He worked at Texas Woman’s University in Denton 2007- 2016.

What interested Wilson in becoming a librarian was working with students.

“A lot of the times the questions that you get especially working at the reference desk are unique and so you’re constantly challenged every day to come up with a response and help students with their own assignments while learning something yourself about the work they’re doing,” Wilson said.

The native of Arkansas got his undergraduate degree at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

“It was a small liberal arts college in a very close community of students. There weren’t very many at the time, I think less than 15,000,” Wilson said.

The university was close to where Wilson grew up so he knew the town well. When he moved to Denton to get a master’s degree, it was a new experience because he didn’t know anyone in the area.

“It was kind of a blind shot moving down there to get work. So it was a very difficult time finding work, going to get my master’s degree, but fortunately I ended up getting a job at Texas Woman’s University as a library assistant,” Wilson said

From there, Wilson was able to gain experience and move up in the ranks of the library. He first started off at TWU as a library assistant in 2007.

“Then I became the reference desk librarian and coordinator of access services,” he said.

As coordinator of access services, Wilson said he was responsible for overseeing the circulation department as well as interlibrary loan.

What Wilson likes best about his job here is being able to see how aspects of the library work together.

“So seeing all the aspects work together is really nice because before when I was an access service librarian I only got to see a very segmented portion. So getting more of a macro view of the whole thing and learning how all of that works together and managing that is a good challenge,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s staff has also had some good things to say about him.

“He definitely is a game changer. He is working to improve things in a better way,” library assistant Leticia Alvarado said. “He has a open door policy and hears out suggestions from anyone.”

Celita Avila, reference and instruction librarian, said, “Two words, servant leadership. Mr. Wilson does not hesitate to jump in to help support the library’s role as a students-first department. He works alongside us to answer research questions at or very busy reference desk and responds quickly to students’ concerns.”

“He is a tremendous asset to us, to the college and especially the students,” Avila said.

The library’s roles are also changing with the internet. Wilson said that before there were card catalogs, which had the information about where to find books, but knowing what resources were there was more of the librarians’ role.

“Now its helping students understand what information is viable so information is easy to find but understanding what information to use and what is good information is more the focus of libraries now,” Wilson said.

One of the goals Wilson has for the library here is getting a new library system in place.

“We have staff here working on it that are putting in a lot of time and effort to get it up and running. But having that successfully switched over and adopted by the college is something that I’m really interested in getting done this year,” Wilson said.

The new library system Wilson is talking about is Discovery. This will put all the library’s databases together into a search engine. It will roughly go live august 2017, said Lee LeBlanc, technology services librarian.

As for the state of the library during construction around Moody, Wilson said, the construction has made it difficult for people to know the best way to get to the library. Fortunately, the two main entrances are open now, he said.

The movement of offices from Fletcher Administration Center to library space on the second floor of Moody has not impacted the library much. Wilson said it helped accelerate the library’s time frame in moving materials from the second floor to the fourth floor.

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