By Jennifer Fogarty, communications content manager
Working in the library is more than recommending books to read.
Growing up, Conor Foley’s bedroom was a mess, except for his books and CD/DVD collection. Those were spotless and meticulously arranged. When he began working in libraries as an undergraduate student at San Diego State University, a family friend encouraged Mr. Foley to look into library science.
Soon after graduation, he joined the Special Collections Department at SDSU. “I love manuscripts and old documents and books published in the 1500s,” he shares. And thereafter, Mr. Foley transitioned to the NewSchool of Architecture & Design Library, so he could work with more students.
Organization is key when working in the library. At LJCDS, Mr. Foley helps streamline the system for receiving and processing new materials. “We’re always acquiring new books and resources,” he says. “I want to make sure that the materials get out as quickly as possible so that students can see an ever-changing array of new books on display or in the catalog. I want them to know it’s a dynamic place where they should check in often to see what’s changed.”
Mr. Foley maintains a high standard of consistency across catalog records so that students can effectively and efficiently access relevant library materials. He initiated a tagging system in the online library catalog to group books by informal collections. For example, patrons can see a list of books that may feature an LGBT protagonist or be part of the LJCDS faculty's published works. He also coordinates author visits and teaches classes that visit the library. Mr. Foley is excited to meet Newbery-award winning author Erin Entrada Kelly when she visits in 2020.
“I help students with their reference queries,” shares Mr. Foley. “If they have a question about where to begin a research paper, or if we have any books with strong female leads or Latin American poets, or if they're looking for a specific topic, I show them how to use our catalog and our online databases. I'll model that for them so that they can become independent lifelong learners that way.”
At the moment Mr. Foley is reading Red Rising by Pierce Brown. “I have been reading a lot of science fiction lately," he shares. "I love books that offer escapism, but that I could also imagine actually happening one day.”