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Bagshaw keeps ECC students book smart


When Maria Bagshaw was seeking a job in the area after relocating to Illinois in 2011, she didn't expect it would be at Elgin Community College. Actually, she didn't even realize a new library was being constructed when she dropped off her son at Kid's College in summer 2011.

“The campus was going through a lot of changes, but it seemed very vibrant and everyone was helpful and friendly,” she said of her experience then.

Bagshaw was later hired in 2012 as a temporary worker for the Renner Academic Library and Learning Resources on the first day it opened. Although she has worked for new libraries in the past, this is the first brand-new college library she's ever worked in.

“It's really beautiful. I love the natural light and the thought that was put into it,” Bagshaw, now an adjunct librarian, said of the building.“

We caught up with Bagshaw and asked some questions about herself and her work at ECC. Here are her answers.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

We help students to be successful in school, work, and life. Librarians teach information literacy, which means teaching students how to access information, evaluate it, and what the differences are between the types of information.

Anyone can type something into Google and get a lot of results. A well-educated student knows how to pick the best resource for their information needs and how to analyze it for their instructor or employer.

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

I manage the library's social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Blog). When I started, our social media wasn't very active, but I have organized it into a more regular and vibrant presence where we offer both informational and fun posts. Follow us!

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

I used to work at a small, private college in Ohio. Each fall, the administration randomly picked a day that the students and faculty didn't know about and closed the whole college. There was free food and games on that day, or you could just take the day off. It was a fun tradition and I would love to do that here.

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

Well, I'd love someone glamorous like Julia Ormond, but I get told all the time that I look like Molly Ringwald or Phoebe Cates (most students won't know either of those 80s throwback names).

What's on your “bucket list?”

I have a plan to move to a foreign country in Europe for a few months after my son graduates (a couple years from now). I haven't decided which country yet.

What's one fact we should know about you?

I have reviewed books for Library Journal since 1999. I do about three to four non-fiction reviews per year, mostly with historical books set around World War I, World War II and the Holocaust.

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

Librarians are very dedicated to combating misinformation and providing relevant and accurate resources. We want students to think for themselves and be discerning consumers of information.

What would be your “theme song?”

“Love is All Around” by Sonny Curtis (“Mary Tyler Moore Show” theme song). It was about being confident!

What was your favorite class in school?

I was a history major in college, and had a class in European history between the World War I and World War II.

What was your first job out of school?

Before I got my library degree, I worked as a municipal court clerk. I inputted speeding tickets, worked as the cashier where I took angry people's money, and sometimes had to do the jail orders for DUI and other offenses.

What quote best describes your philosophy?

“Nevertheless, she persisted.” - Sen. Mitch McConnell

I think this quote perfectly describes the story of women throughout history and resonates in my own life as well. Who knew that Mitch McConnell's quote would be the impetus for such female fierceness?

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

I absolutely love our students. Teaching them how to use great resources and seeing them succeed is so rewarding. Being just a small part of their journey is a privilege.


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