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This librarian knows books … and the law

Ellie Swanson 1

About 35 years ago, Ellie Swanson's career path was in law. She went to law school at DePaul University and she practiced law for a few years after graduating.

During that time, she never found it to be a great fit. What did appeal to her was the law library she frequented in college. That, she thought, was a great job.

A career inquiry course affirmed her decision. She would later get her master's in library science from Dominican University and never looked back. She has been employed at ECC since 2002 as an adjunct cataloger and later, a full-time technical services librarian and an associate professor.

We caught up with Swanson to ask some questions about herself and her work at ECC. Here are her answers.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

I am the technical services librarian. Technical services in a library is responsible for acquiring, cataloging, and processing new materials. A lot of what I do in the library has to do with collection development. I choose all the print books and e-books, and audio-visual materials like DVDs for the library's collection.

I also decide when materials are no longer useful and should be removed from the collection. Additionally, I am in charge of the library's unique computer system called Innovative Sierra. This system supports the library's catalog and allows the library to catalog and circulate materials.

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?

I am proud of the way I have worked to grow and improve the library's collection to where it is today.

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

I think our communication systems could be improved. I would especially like to see the college's website become more user-friendly than I find it to be.

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

Maybe Frances McDormand. She brings a lot of insight to her roles. Maybe she could find something interesting in me.

What's on your “bucket list?”

I would love to visit all the national parks. I've never been to Europe-that's on my list too. I also would like to finally master algebra.

What's one fact we should know about you?

Over the years my family has had at least 12 different types of animals as pets, including pug dogs, tropical fish, guinea pigs, rabbits, lizards and degus (a rodent commonly found in Chile). I love animals, but my recommendation is to avoid degus.

What's something about your job that others should know?

People often think that books and other library materials come in some pre-prepared fashion. Actually a lot of effort goes into selecting them, making them accessible, and maintaining them.

What was your favorite class in school?

History. I still love it!

What was your first job out of school?

My first job was as an attorney for a legal aid office working with victims of domestic violence.

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “

I feel like I'm doing something positive for others.



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