RUSA - STARGazing: Meet Jessica Bower Relevo



RUSA - STARGazing: Meet Jessica Bower Relevo

1. What is your institutional affiliation?

Yale University

2. What’s your OCLC / Docline symbol?


3. What would be the title of your autobiography?

If I Didn’t Want to Show Horses, I Would Have Adopted a Dog; a nod to my time and money consuming equestrian lifestyle, and my love for all animals.

4. How did you get involved in resource sharing (or access services, etc.)?

As an undergraduate, my goal was to become a high school history teacher. I completed by bachelor’s degree in History and went straight into a teaching credential program. I started completing all the requirements you must go through to teach in K-12 public schools in California (where I am from originally). I even took special classes in my BA program, so that I could waive the CSET standardized test. Additionally, I had to do a boat load of observation hours for my teaching credential program and that’s when I ultimately decided teaching in the K-12 was not for me.

So, I started looking into alternative careers and one suggested to me was librarian. I always loved the library. When I was growing up, I used to play “library” in my backyard playhouse with my sisters. I had a date stamp that I had gotten from going to “Take your Daughter to Work Day” at the phone company my Aunt worked at, and I used that to create due date slips to check books out to the neighbor kids. We ruined many books by leaving them out in our playhouse (water damage mostly)! So, I guess you could say I had an interest in access services at a young age.

I started looking around for library jobs since I had never worked in one and wanted to make sure I liked it before starting an MLIS program. I ended up getting hired as an Interlibrary Loan Library Assistant at Chapman University (shout out to CCX). I really liked working in resource sharing, especially trying to find the things users were asking for and exploring our own stacks retrieving items for lending. After working at Chapman for about a year, I decided to get my MLIS. After I graduated, I was promoted into the Coordinator of Interlibrary Loan Librarian position at Chapman University (due to a timely vacancy) and retained that position until I left for an opportunity at Yale University. I still love working in resource sharing, especially with all the awesome people who work in our field!

5. What are you passionate about? How does that passion inform your work?

Outside of work, I am an avid equestrian. I ride and show horses: mostly hunter, jumpers, and equitation. I think working with animals can be very helpful for developing leadership and management skills. Think about how you might have to change your mindset or communication skills to be able to influence and change how an animal works and reacts to you. I think these same strategies can be applied to leadership and management in the workforce as well.

6. What do you feel are the benefits of your STARS membership, and why would you encourage others to get involved?

I believe I have made a lot of valuable connections with peers through my participation and membership in STARS. There are lots of opportunities to get involved like serving on committees or even running for an elected position. STARS has done some awesome work over the years. I really value the fact that we are the keepers of the ILL Code and other important resource sharing documentation, and that we are always engaging the resource sharing community in discussions about our work. I would encourage others to jump in and join a committee that interests you!

7. What do you wish you’d known when you started out in resource sharing (access services, etc.)?

I wish there was more emphasis on leadership and management development in library science programs. I feel like access services is a very leadership and management heavy field of librarianship and I feel I could have benefited from learning about these topics in more detail and learning about my own leadership style and preferences before I started working in libraries.

8. How has your STARS membership helped you do your job?

Again, I think the networking aspect has been super valuable. People who work in ILL are all about sharing, and that isn’t limited to books and articles! I always have someone to bounce ideas off or just ask questions about how they might do x or y at their library. Being part of STARS is more than just a section, it’s a community.

9. What are you reading?

Rivals by Katherine McGee

It’s the third book in the American Royals series. It’s an alternative reality YA fiction series about the House of Washington: the ancestors of George Washington, who became the King of America after the Revolutionary War.

10. Share your favorite fun fact about yourself

In addition to my regular size horse (Gigi), I also have a miniature horse (Classy) and a cat (Petals).