RUSA - STARGazing - Kurt Munson



RUSA - STARGazing: Meet Kurt Munson


1. What is your institutional affiliation?
Northwestern University


2. What’s your OCLC / Docline symbol?


3. What would be the title of your autobiography?
Snark: the Kurt Munson story.


4. How did you get involved in resource sharing (or access services, etc.)?
My first job out of library school was an ILL and reference position. I’d worked in special collections and circulation as an undergraduate and made extensive use of resource sharing when writing my senior thesis. That taught the value of resource sharing because all the discovery in the world isn’t any good unless you can actually get the item.


5. What are you passionate about? How does that passion inform your work?
Lots of things- efficiency, providing consistent quality customer service, data-driven decision making, and constantly reminding people that the patron has a use for those library items and that use should be paramount rather than our typical approach of arguing our policies. It really becomes a situation of how can we best serve our patrons and their needs? And how can we engage patrons in an environment of shared stewardship of library resources where we have clearly defined expectations for both the library staff and the patrons. Libraries without patrons are warehouses.


6. What do you feel are the benefits of your STARS membership, and why would you encourage others to get involved?
STARS provides lots of opportunities to learn, gain a more holistic understanding of how resource sharing services can be provided and gives faces attached to the people behind those OCLC codes. I always say that resource sharing people must be the nosiest folks at a conference because we talk to each other so much but then we also depend on each other so much.


7. What do you wish you’d known when you started out in resource sharing (access services, etc.)?
That when the patron cannot navigate the complexities of the disparate library systems and services, they will turn to that ILL request form because it’s constant and we will help them get the information source they need or redirect them to somebody who can help. It’s amazing how many areas of library services and systems resource sharing touches upon or interacts with.


8. How has your STARS membership helped you do your job?
My job is to get patrons the information they need. STARS helps me do that though all of the connections I’ve made and also though the trusting resource sharing environment STARS has contributed so much to building. I can email a colleague to ask for an exception, like the loan of a normally non-circulating item, or Northwestern can send a request to some utterly unknown library and ask to borrow something.


9. What are you reading?
The Economist is my commuting reading; NCIP or ISO 18626 or some equally dreadfully dull documentation for work; some form of mystery or crime novel, likely Scandinavian, for fun.


10. Share your favorite fun fact about yourself
My bushes with fame are minimal and lame. I once met Robby Knievel, Evil’s son. It was really underwhelming since all he did was lay on a couch. Another time, Anderson Cooper was in front of me in a TSA pre security line. Silly man took his shoes off even though you don’t have to in pre. He wears boring socks by the way.