The new director of library and information services, Rachel Rubin, says that her focus in her new position is to make sure the library is a valuable resource to both students and faculty.
“My goal isn’t to come in and suddenly make a whole bunch of changes,” Rubin said. “It’s really to have conversations with students and faculty and the library staff who are here to really find out what is working, and what we can do better.”
Rubin said she’d like to work on making the libraries at Trinity Lutheran, the law school, and Capital’s main campus more like a “library unit.” She wants to see where each library’s strengths are and utilize those strengths to help students at all three campuses.
Rubin is also hopeful that the library hours can be extended to better fit the needs of students. Although the first floor of the library is open 24 hours, students can only get reference help and check out materials during their normal hours.
“If you’re writing a research paper, when is that happening?” Rubin said. “Because right now we have some pretty limited hours in the evenings and on the weekends … when students need help from the librarians, are they able to get that help?”
The library is currently collecting data about the most heavily used hours of the space, which will be used along with student input to determine what changes should be made to library hours.
The design and layout of the physical library space is another thing Rubin would like to look at. She wants to make sure the library is set up in an inviting and useful way that “makes you want to be here and makes you want to use it.”
If students have ideas on how to make the library a more useful space, Rubin says students can send her emails or visit her office, which is on the first floor of the library. Eventually, she wants to set up office hours so students can speak with her directly.
Although Rubin is new to the position, she isn’t new to the Capital community. Both of her parents were faculty members, and her husband is a current faculty member. She also served as the director of Bexley library for the last seven years.
“I have loved, over the past seven years, getting to know Cap students and faculty and getting to work with the university in a lot of different ways,” Rubin said. “So, when the position opened up, I applied. It was really just a good fit for me in terms of the kind of service you do here.”
Rubin is no stranger to an academic environment and has attended three colleges in her academic career. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Carleston College, a Masters of Library and Information Services from Kent State, and a Ph.D. in Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions from Simmons College. Rubin says she feels comfortable in an academic environment and feels like she can really focus on students and faculty.
“One of the cool things about the public library is you serve everybody birth to death, you get this whole range of people. But it also doesn’t allow you to really focus,” Rubin said. “One of the cool things about being in a place like Capital is you really get to focus on the students and the faculty.”
Although it may seem like the library is a pretty serious and straightforward place, Rubin wants to make it a more fun environment. She’s started this by creating an Instagram page (@blackmorelibrary) where students can see what the library’s new mascot, Blackmore the cat, is up to and stay up-to-date with library news.
Rubin wants students to know that the library is there when they run into roadblocks in their research, as well as when they just want a quiet place to study or hang out.
“There’s just so much possibility,” Rubin said. “The way education is changing and the way students are interacting online with each other, but also the data that’s out there…there’s just so much cool stuff that the library can help support.”