When a door opens, at times it is best to walk in and explore the opportunities within.
For Michelle Franklin, director, library and academic resources at State Fair Community College it was a job opening at the college that lead her to her current job and back home.
“I was born and raised in Sedalia,” Franklin said. “When the job became available at SFCC I knew it was time for my family to move home.”
In her first year as librarian at SFCC, Franklin has worked in libraries since 1999.
“My first job was as a circulation clerk at the Sedalia Public Library,” Franklin said. “I went to college at SFCC because I originally wanted to be a librarian.
“Life happened though, and I got married and my husband Chris and I moved to Kansas City for his work,” Franklin added. “I worked for a period of time at the Kansas City Public Library before I eventually worked for 8 years in the archives department at Emporia State University.”
Throughout the past decades, Franklin has seen many changes in the role of college libraries.
“One of our biggest jobs is to help students find and evaluate information, especially when they are working on a paper or a deadline,” Franklin said. “Helping them evaluate sources has become a big part of our job.
“We also do a lot of work helping students in the writing lab and tutoring lab,” she added. “We look over the students work and offer advice and suggestions to help them on their assignments.”
Franklin said that throughout much of her time in a library setting she found them to be very “sterile” places, something that she is working to change.
“I want to see students interact here,” Franklin said. “We have done little things like moving furniture around to foster collaboration; we do still have areas that we have designated as quiet spaces, but we want the students to work together.
“A lot of this comes from the makerspace concept,” Franklin added. “We want to see students be the makers of information.”
To help with that focus one of the library’s study rooms is being converted to a digital media lab.
“Students need to learn how to use that technology as it is becoming a focus for their futures,” Franklin said.
“That is something else that has changed based on budgetary factors; so many of our books and resources are on line now,” Franklin added. “So many of our books are technical in their content and it makes it easier to get updates at a lower cost and in a more timely manner.”
Franklin said that students still prefer hard copies rather than digital copies when it comes to reading for pleasure.
“We have so many non-traditional students, and many of them still come in for books to read for pleasure,” Franklin said. “We can get just about any book for our students through the inner library loan program if we don’t have a copy ourselves.
“That truly is my greatest pleasure, to work with the students and help them,” Franklin said. “I learn a lot of things from the students that I didn’t know especially about technology and apps; I think we are all learning in this together which is a wonderful thing.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484