Meet the Experts: Answering New Questions Every Day
Although I have been the Director of the CASE Library for nine years, I have been in libraries for what seems like forever, in many different roles. It all started with a work study job at my alma mater, Kenyon College in Ohio, U.S. I worked all four years as a student at Kenyon, opening the library in the early hours of the day, helping students and faculty find what they needed, and shooing out the occasional bat.
You would think I would have known then that libraries were where I belonged, but it took a few years and a few more library jobs for me to take the hint. I had a former boss and now good friend tell me, “If you ever want to get further in this profession, you need to get that master’s degree.” So I did, graduating from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., U.S., with a Master’s of Science in Library and Information Science degree.
I am what you call a “special librarian”—though yes, we are all special in certain ways. For our CASE librarians and me, it just means that we’re not a university, school, or public librarian. So, while I can’t tell you about the latest bestsellers (though, OK, maybe each librarian has some favorite genres), I can tell you all about advancement. My key tip about librarians: Don’t play trivia with us. We are a dangerous bunch.
At CASE, the library team (all advanced degreed librarians) connects members to the resources they need to be successful. We don’t do primary research (like surveys), but we do stay on top of industry news for CASE staff and members. Every day brings different questions; this is what I like best about my job.
We curate and maintain 150 online collections on topics from alumni engagement and advancement in schools and historically Black colleges and universities to gift agreements and presidential transitions. We have subject guides, which are more like a reading list, and sample collections, which include online examples from CASE member institutions as well as highlighting Circle of Excellence award winners. These collections are all available on the website, ready when you are.
One of the projects of which I am most proud was the launch of the Advancement Resource Catalog in 2018. Previously it had been a tool for just staff, but now it’s a CASE member benefit. It includes 16,000 items, many in full text and some in Spanish, inclusive of all areas of advancement. It’s available online when you need it; I like to say, “the ARC is always on.”
I am also the subject matter expert for the CASE Global Reporting Standards. You might ask, “How did a librarian get caught up in gift accounting?” When I came to CASE, I offered to take point on answering questions from members on the then CASE Global Reporting Standards and Management Guidelines (2009). I had been doing similar work in my previous position, so I was comfortable with the content. When the update for a new edition started in 2017, it seemed like a natural extension. Working with our volunteers around the globe to produce a more global version of the CASE standards has been a truly rewarding experience.
The CASE Global Reporting Standards are so important to the advancement profession because they reflect the global nature of advancement, guidance on ethical fundraising , what counts and what does not count in reporting, and transparency in working through a campaign cycle. The CASE Standards lay the foundation for the trust donors have in the work you and advancement professionals around the world do. Just this year, CASE launched a self-paced online course to learn about the CASE Standards and how to make your data work for you.
Also be sure to check out all of the resources through the CASE Library. And remember, if you have trouble finding a resource, you can always reach out to the library team for assistance. We’re here to help.
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