RUSA - STARGazing - Nora Dethloff


RUSA - STARGazing: Meet Nora DethloffNora Dethloff image

1. What are your job title & institutional affiliation?

Assistant Head of Information & Access Services at the

University of Houston’s M.D. Anderson Library

2. What’s your OCLC / Docline symbol?


3. What would the title of your autobiography be?

Insert Title Here. (That’s really my title, I didn’t just forget.)

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

My first professional job was as the sole reference librarian at a small branch of a public library. Part of my job was managing ILL requests for our branch. Although the volume was small, I found that ILLs were usually the most interesting “reference” transactions I had. We had patrons looking for everything from books on excavating sunken treasure to repair manuals for antique lawn tractors. The patrons were always so pleased when I was able to get them what they needed. When I saw a posting for a position focused exclusively on ILL, I knew I was interested.

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

I’m passionate about connecting patrons with what they need. Libraries have become very complex systems, and navigating those systems isn’t always straightforward or even logical. The job of Access Services is to “smooth over” the rough spots for patrons, and to make the system work for them. This can take the form of traditional ILL, document delivery, citation verification or any number of services. It means putting the patron’s needs first, and finding a way to make the system work for them.

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

I’ve met so many people through my involvement with STARS, and those people have become my mentors, collaborators, and at times my tech support. The sharing of ideas and tips has been invaluable to me as I’ve learned about resource sharing. The resource sharing landscape is changing so rapidly, having a network of peers working with the same issues and systems is key to anyone involved in this area of librarianship.

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

Everything will be changing, all the time. Get hooked up with the right resources, hold on tight, and try to enjoy the ride.

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

STARS really helped me to build my network of colleagues, and in turn they’ve helped me with everything from fixing ILLiad issues, to writing articles, to finding roommates for conference.