New CALL member, Heather Hummons, is the Head of Access Services at DePaul University College of Law. Fellow Call Bulletin Committee member, Jill Meyer, recently interviewed her so we could get to know her.
JM: How did you get your start working in libraries?
HH: I actually started working in libraries back in 2000 as a part-time circulation clerk. As the years progressed, I received several promotions within that department beginning with a transition to the part-time weekend circulation supervisor to a full-time position as a Library Assistant I, functioning as the primary circulation desk attendant and in charge of library billing. When the position for Circulation Manager opened in 2004, I applied and was hired. I remained in that role until last year (2014) when I was promoted to my current position as the Head of Access Services.
JM: What brought you to your current position?
HH: Recently, several positions opened due to retirements. I was already serving as the Circulation Manager (having been in this position for ten years) and about to start school at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science. As a result of some restructuring by the Law Library Director, I was promoted to the Access Services Head position. I’ve worked every aspect of Circulation throughout the years including supervising and managing personnel, as well as providing back-up support for other positions in the circulation department including interlibrary loan and handling print reserves. I am also highly vested in providing quality customer service, which is one of my favorite parts of the job. There’s something wholly rewarding about helping someone answer an information need. I thrive off providing service and couldn’t imagine working in an environment that didn’t allow me the collaboration with people that libraries provide.
JM: What is your favorite part about your current job?
HH: It’s hard to choose. I really enjoy working with people, so the direct service and management of people are both equally rewarding. Although, if you had asked me this question ten years ago, I would have never imagined I would be in a position managing people. As I mentioned before, there’s something wholly gratifying about helping people fulfill their information need as well as collaborating with others towards a common goal. I also enjoy space planning. Since taking this role, I’ve worked on several renovation/reconfiguration projects that have utilized my skills in a different way while addressing library facility and patron needs.
JM: Since you are currently in school, what is your favorite class so far, and why?
HH: My favorite class thus far was one I just took this summer—LIS 885: Cultural Heritage Resources and Services. Although I have to admit that the class I took this Spring, LIS 796: Special Topics Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, Italy, was pretty awesome too. LIS 885 invoked critical discussion about who owns culture and explored themes such as representation, ethics and stewardship as they relate to community, cultural memory, curation and preservation of cultural records, as well as questions of cultural integrity. Matters regarding the protection of cultural heritage are extremely important to me, as I feel this plays an integral part in identity and community. Loss of cultural heritage can have devastating and irreversible consequences for a community and the world.
JM: Where did you grow up?
HH: I’m a native of Chicago, growing up predominantly on the West side of the city.
JM: Why did you decide to join CALL?
HH: I joined CALL mainly for the networking opportunities and community aspects it offers. CALL is the first organization I’ve joined since I began pursuing my MLIS. I’m looking forward to being actively engaged in a library professional community where I can share my experiences, gain experiences that will expand my knowledge in law librarianship, and meet new people in the field. Working in a law school library for 15 years, I believe I have a wealth of experiences dealing with the legal community that will make my membership with CALL very rewarding.
JM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
HH: I enjoy spending time with my family when I’m away from work, as they are my support network. I’m also an avid fan of Japanese popular culture and videogames. I watch a lot of anime, read lots of manga, play videogames, listen to video game and anime soundtrack music and occasionally cosplay. I enjoy going to anime conventions and concert performances featuring the music by the famous composer Nobuo Uematsu for the Final Fantasy Soundtracks. I also enjoy when I can incorporate what I love to do with my work. We host a Halloween event every year for the law students, and the library staff members dress up and pass out treats. One year I dressed up as the executioner from the videogame “Resident Evil 5” (I built the hammer as well). The law students loved it! One of them knew right away what character I was dressed up as which sparked a conversation about our common hobby—playing videogames. The added bonus was I got to meet a student I had not talked to before. Overall the event was great for providing the students a momentary break from studying as well for library promotion and community outreach.
JM: Anything else that you would like to share?
HH: I have a BA in Multimedia Arts and Japanese Studies and an MS in Cinema Production with an Animation Concentration from DePaul University. Additionally, I was recently named a 2015-2016 Spectrum (ProQuest) Scholar by ALA’s Office of Diversity.