Member Spotlight:

Getting to know:

Hilary Westgate

Hilary Westgate
Reference, Instruction, and Outreach Librarian
George T. Potter Library
Ramapo College of New Jersey

  1. I grew up in Hillsborough, New Jersey

  2. My first job ever was…  Working at a fruit and vegetable farm stand with a nursery! I watered plants and sold corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, apples, and other produce.

  3. How long have you been a Librarian? I graduated from Rutgers with my MLIS in May of 2012 and started my first full-time professional job in August of 2012. During my MLIS program, I worked as a graduate assistant in the Rutgers Libraries in reference and instruction, and I also interned and worked at two different public libraries in NJ! I’ve been very lucky to work at several wonderful libraries.

  4. What drew you to Librarianship or your particular area of specialization in Libraries? I was initially interested in school librarianship after working with afterschool programs through AmeriCorps after college. I had not even realized that academic librarianship was an option for me until I was a graduate assistant at Rutgers, and I found another passion and career path in that area.

  5. What has been your most rewarding experience as a professional so far? It’s been the most rewarding to see students arrive as freshmen, meet and teach them in their FYE or FYS information literacy sessions, and then see their progress and continue to help them with their research through the years!

  6. What are your favorite ways to stay on top of Library trends? Twitter has always been very helpful to follow along with conference tweeting, be directed to new and important links and resources for our profession, and engage in conversations. I also like to keep up with ACRL and NJLA email updates; they both send out great newsletters that make it easy. I’m also in the Facebook group for the ACRL Library Marketing & Outreach Interest Group, which is a fun group for new outreach ideas.

  7. What are you most excited about or interested in currently (either at your institution or in the Library profession in general)? Our library has been focused on planning for renovations, which is a great opportunity for us to see what positive changes libraries can make in their physical spaces. I’m also excited about the role of libraries in scholarly communication in general, such as showcasing student and faculty research, creating institutional repositories, and the work that some academic libraries are doing in collecting and promoting open access resources.

  8. Complete the phrase: People would be surprised to know that I… lift weights and do yoga!

  9. What do you find most valuable about your NJLA CUS / ACRL-NJ membership? The members of NJLA-CUS/ACRL-NJ are so passionate about sharing information and about learning together, such as with webinars, workshops, conferences, and also more informal collaboration and sharing. I’m so excited to be able to participate in and even to help plan these opportunities.

  10. The best part of my day is when… I get to meet and help students in all disciplines with their unique research questions at the Research Help Desk, and I love when I learn something completely new because of it! I also love to collaborate with faculty and staff all across campus to work on interesting and valuable programming for our students.

  11. List your top five “Desert Island Books” (the five books you’d have to have if you were stranded on a desert island).The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, any one of the Harry Potter books, a book of Mary Oliver’s poetry, Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, and a handbook of plants and wildlife -- hopefully one applicable to that island!