This weekend at the American Library Association Annual Conference, Susan Davis will receive the 2018 Ulrich’s Serials Librarianship Award, presented by the Continuing Resources Section (CRS) of The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS). The award consists of a citation and $1,500 donated by Ex Libris, a ProQuest Company and is given for distinguished contributions to serials librarianship.
The Ulrich’s Serials Librarianship Award is given annually to a single recipient who exhibited leadership in serials-related activities through participation in professional associations and/or library education programs, contributions to the body of serials literature, conduct of research in serials, development of tools or methods to enhance access to or management of serials, and other advances leading to a better understanding of the field of serials.
“Susan Davis, head of acquisitions and associate librarian at the University at Buffalo Libraries, is a name that is synonymous with ‘serials.’ Davis has a deep and sustained record of professional accomplishments and contributions in the field of serials librarianship. Over her 37-year career, she has accomplished it all with an infectious enthusiasm and energy well-known among her peers.” See the full article at http://www.ala.org/news/member-news/2018/02/susan-davis-recipient-ulrich-s-serials-librarianship-award
A career in serials and electronic resources is the most fun you’ll ever have. Every day is different and your to-do list is usually hijacked after the first hour at work.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Susan to discuss her career, influencers, perspective on serials librarianship, and more!
Congratulations on receiving the Ulrich’s Serials Librarianship Award! How do you feel about receiving this honor?
[Susan Davis] As I told the jury chair, Mira Greene, I thought you were calling to tell me sorry, you weren’t selected, so I was over the moon! The hard part was that I couldn’t tell the world because I needed to wait for the official press release. I joined an illustrious group of librarians, many of whom I’ve known and worked with in one capacity or another. Several were mentors or played significant roles in shaping my career—such as Marcia Tuttle, Marjorie Bloss, John Merriman, Tina Feick, Dan Tonkery and my longtime colleague Cindy Hepfer. It really is a list of giants and it means so much to join the group.
In your opinion, what is one of the most significant contributions you have made to serials librarianship?
[Susan Davis] That is a very hard question to answer because it’s hard to see the body of your own work through the eyes of another. I guess I would say that making connections with others—in some cases ad hoc mentoring, in others just introducing people, inviting them to join me on a panel, or including them in a social activity. I also pride myself on working very collaboratively with our vendor and publisher colleagues who play a key role in the life of a serials librarian. Marcia Tuttle wrote an article “The Serials Manager’s Obligation” in Library Resources & Technical Services (p. 135-147, v.31, no.4 April 1987) that became a personal favorite and on which I tried to model my career. Marcia identified three basic areas which I adopted as my core values of serials librarianship—education, communication and informed action.
What do you see as the main issues facing librarians and library staff today?
[Susan Davis] Libraries and librarians have to manage two different worlds and the processes to maintain both. I’m talking about print and electronic. Libraries cannot give up their roles as keepers of the flame—the collective memories of society, nor can we not embrace the information speedway. Each of those worlds requires an investment of time and careful attention to ensure today’s patrons have access to yesterday as well as today, and that we capture today’s information for our patrons of the future. Another aspect in my own work is the lack of understanding about how complicated making seamless access to billions of bits of information is. It’s not just pushing a button. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes that is too often not understood, valued or properly compensated. I am not talking about myself or necessarily where I work, but in general.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being an online instructor of ALCTS’ Fundaments of Electronic Resource Acquisitions?
[Susan Davis] Many things come to mind. We all learn from each other, including the instructors. I’ve also met some really terrific colleagues—other instructors and students that I connect with afterwards. You learn a lot about how other organizations work and since we have an international grant winner each session we hear firsthand about problems that we simply do not face in the west, such as reliable electricity.
What career advice would you give to an LIS student interested in your career?
[Susan Davis] A career in serials and electronic resources is the most fun you’ll ever have. Every day is different and your to-do list is usually hijacked after the first hour at work. If you like reading mysteries and solving puzzles, can deal with major ambiguity and weird stuff, then give it a try! I started my career checking in periodicals for the library school library at SUNY Geneseo and never looked back.
What is the best piece of career advice you ever received?
[Susan Davis] I cannot recall any specific advice, but I’ve made some fortunate choices along the way—becoming involved in ALCTS, NASIG, local and regional associations and making and nurturing contacts along the way. However, advice I would give newer librarians, or any librarians, is to remember that ours is a small community. Remember the golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated. If you don’t everyone will know.
Finally, what can you tell us about yourself that we might never guess?
[Susan Davis] Some know that I am a sports nut—my husband quips that he’s the sports widower! I taught him to love hockey. If I had had the chance, I would have wanted to be a professional hockey player or sports announcer of some kind (perhaps doing many sports like Dick Enberg or Al Michaels). Lastly, it is probably pretty obvious from my other answers that I love what I do and am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to keep doing it for so many years.
In closing we would like to thank Susan Davis for her time for this interview. Ex Libris congratulates Susan on her immense amount of dedication to the passion and lead by example initiative for her outstanding influence on the serials library community and beyond.
The award will be presented at the ALCTS Awards Ceremony on June 23, 2018, 5:30 – 7:30PM at the Hilton Riverside (Jefferson room) in New Orleans.
To learn more, visit http://www.ala.org/alcts/awards/profrecognition/serialslib
June 21, 2018