Profile: Emory University’s University Librarian Yolanda Cooper
From the Emory Report:
It was while working in the graduate library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that Yolanda Cooper felt her first stirrings around the idea of building a career within academic libraries.
She was a college student at the time, and though she’d grown up in a family that valued books and reading, there was something about the stately brick building, with its millions of volumes, special collections and cavernous reading rooms, that Cooper found especially inspiring.
She had arrived at a historic moment, as the library — one of the nation’s largest university research libraries at the time — was just beginning to enter the world of automation, among the first university libraries in the U.S. to offer an online catalog.
“Everything libraries do at this point is so closely connected to technological growth and that has continued to explode, especially over the last few years,” she says. “For libraries, the possibilities are endless.”
I was drawn to the diversity of the work,” Cooper explains. “Libraries touch upon any number of disciplines across all areas, and you’re constantly learning and growing, and that was fascinating to me.”
“We’re helping faculty, students, staff and even the public dig out information while teaching them to navigate the digital deluge by building information literacy skills,” she adds. “It just opens the door to so many individuals and audiences.”
Throughout her career, Cooper has been drawn to the rapidly changing role of technology within the field of library science. “I found myself loving the systems that were developed to automate the material and make it more available and discoverable,” she recalls.
“I even did a little programming along the way, and that may have something to do with my fit here at Emory — a lover of the traditional library, but keeping my interest in technology and not being afraid of that piece.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.