Derek Moser, Adult Programming Librarian
Joplin Public Library
“I’m always looking for ways to partner with community organizations to make our programs robust and relevant for community members.”
1. What’s the most intriguing part of your job? Developing programmatic content that is both relevant (meets patron needs) and engaging.
2. What challenges do you face in this role? Any time one is a “department of one,” there are definite challenges to think through. That said, I am surrounded by an amazing staff that is willing to help as much as possible, even when it means venturing outside of their own responsibilities.
3. What’s something you appreciate most about your fellow staffers at JPL? The JPL staff is amazing. The people here really care about the community they serve, and they love their job. It’s great to work with people who seem to be here for all the right reasons.
4. What’s one thing you wish the public was more aware of when it comes to all that JPL offers? Adult PROGRAMS (lol). We’re not there yet, but we want to create programs that will be relevant and beneficial for the community. One of my goals is to help “broaden the semantic range” of the term “library resource” for the community. We don’t just deal in books and articles (even though those things are great).
5. What’s coming up for the spring that you feel will be a big hit with library patrons? We’re very excited about an upcoming book swap program that will take us through most of the year. We are partnering with local restaurants and offering these off-site programs for our community. We’re encouraging participants to bring a book they really appreciate and then to swap that book with another participant. We will have some spare books of our own on hand in case participants forget to bring a book or they want a little variety when choosing one to take home.
6. Are you interested in partnering with patrons and organizations for events and learning opportunities? Does Covid get in the way of that still? Yes, I am very excited about that part of the job. Like the program listed above, I’m always looking for ways to partner with community organizations to make our programs robust and relevant for community members. Due to the challenges COVID presents, we are always going to carefully think about how we design and implement programs while being safe and responsible. It’s a challenge, but we have a lot of great minds around here–both at the library and out in the community. So, I’m confident we’ll be able to navigate this terrain responsibly.
No stranger to JPL, Moser worked as children’s assistant and then as the assistant circulation supervisor while he completed his coursework for the University of Kentucky’s MS in Library Science. Upon completion of that degree, he became the library director at Ozark Christian College and recently returned to JPL. In addition to this role, he also teaches information science courses at the University of Buffalo (SUNY). Moser is a Southwest Missouri native.
Jason Sullivan, Electronic Resources Librarian
Joplin Public Library
“Libraries are excellent at helping to manage the choices. If you’re curious about a topic, so are we.”
What is the main purpose of your job?
There are two main components to my position: 1 ) I manage the Library’s databases. This entails not only selecting which databases to incorporate, but also ensuring their accessibility. 2) I manage the Library’s interlibrary loan services. For instance, if there’s a book the Library doesn’t own, we can most likely borrow it from another library. The only stipulation is it must be at least a year past its publication date.
2) What challenges do you face in this role?
When selecting databases, it can be challenging to find resources that will result in patron engagement. While it feels like a misnomer to say online content is a competitor to libraries, the reality is that Google is often the beginning and the end of so many people’s searches. Any search that yields results that range in the hundreds of thousands will often leave users feeling even more scattershot than they did before the search. And we all have experienced the letdown of finding, say, that perfect article for a report only to realize there’s a paywall to access it. Not only does the library seek to provide an array of databases that removes all paywalls, but in a manageable way.
3. What’s one thing you wish the public was more aware of at JPL?
I would encourage the public to explore the library’s databases. There’s a lot of quality content that would otherwise cost the user to access. For example, with a library card, you have remote, full-text access to not only today’s The New York Times, but also every edition going back to 1980. Within the last year, we also added Weiss Financial Ratings, thus giving investors access to unbiased stock and mutual fund ratings. Maybe you want to learn a foreign language. Use your library card to access Mango Languages. If you have a suggestion or a resource to add, never hesitate in passing it along to us.
5. Technology is changing so rapidly. How can patrons stay current?
Economists have a great phrase: the paradox of choice. It reasons that when we are presented with an abundance of choices, we are less likely to make a choice at all for fear of making the wrong choice. Libraries are excellent for helping to manage the choices. Libraries can help navigate the many information choices. If you’re curious about a topic, so are we. A good lesson can be gleaned from some of the retirees that visit our library. Quite a few have made it a daily routine. Some probably don’t even have a library card. And that’s fine, because anyone can drop in, read the many newspaper and magazine offerings, and pose a question or two to our staff. Maybe they have a current events question. Maybe they now have the time to start researching their genealogy. Regardless, they all have one thing in common: They’re staying curious.
Sullivan holds a master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, a master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Denver.