May 2004    


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  Meet the Librarian

From left to right are: Surekha Kumar, Charlene Beckstrom, Sean Williams, Jane Scott, Laurie Linsley
Laurie S. Linsley
Head, Technical Services
Seminole Community College LRC/Library

Seminole Community College
Sanford, Florida

Laurie is the Head of Technical Services at Seminole Community College in Sanford, Florida (just north of Orlando). She is responsible for acquisitions, cataloging of print and non-print materials, collection development, interlibrary loan, OCLC union list, repairs, processing, and maintenance of the online catalog. Four staff members perform the technical services function, but only two are full-time employees in the Technical Services area. Additionally, two Technical Services staff members work a few hours each week at the reference desk helping to keep in touch with student and faculty needs.

Laurie has worked at Seminole Community College (SCC) for 17 years. She came to SCC from the University of Central Florida in Orlando where she worked for 16 years. During her last five years at UCF, she was in a split position (half-time in reference and half-time in cataloging). Laurie recalls, "I like to call those my 'split personality' years. That was fun!" Prior to this, she served as a legal secretary and also worked for the Florida Probation & Parole Commission.

Currently, Laurie serves on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Academic Librarianship. She was a founding board member of College & Undergraduate Libraries and currently serves as a reviewer. In May of 2000, Laurie was the lead librarian for SCC's Mexico Studies Project. The students and faculty of SCC created a much-needed community library for the village of Cobá, Yucatán, México. Laurie recalls, "We created the library with 1,200 donated books, all in Spanish, that we took with us from central Florida to the Yucatán. My husband and I visited the library last year on our 25th wedding anniversary. Books are still being donated and the tiny library that SCC started is still going strong!"

It seems that librarianship was a natural path for Laurie. Her undergraduate major was English literature. Laurie explained, "I majored in English because I loved it, but could not imagine what kind of job I could get with that degree. I knew all along that I didn't want to teach. The only thing that I could see myself doing was library work." Prior to graduation, she landed at a job at the University of Central Florida (then Florida Technological University) Library. With undergraduate studies safely behind her and a host of great mentors in her library position, she quickly realized that she could not be an academic librarian unless she earned a Master's degree.

At that time, Florida State University in Tallahassee was the only graduate school in Florida that offered a Master's in Library Science. This was long before distance learning had been invented. "I had a husband, a young child, and a job, so Florida State was my best choice. I transferred the maximum number of graduate hours, and then spent the requisite semesters at Florida State. I took my daughter with me and we lived in campus housing much of the time. What an experience!"

"The people!" Laurie exclaims when asked about the best part of her job. "We have a terrific team at my community college library and we have strong, consistent leadership from our Dean. I really enjoy working with the students when I staff the reference desk." Another area equally rewarding for Laurie is working closely with faculty on collection development issues.

Laurie heads Technical Services in her library and thinks that the Interlibrary Loan is one of the most important functions. This is her favorite part of the job. "We get very excited when, for example, we lend a book to a library in Italy." Seminole Community College is a medium-sized community college library with a collection of 105,000 items. Last fiscal year, they lent almost 3,000 items on interlibrary loan. They also provide students, faculty, and staff great ILL service. "Helping people makes me happy," says Laurie.

When asked to describe how her library motivates and engages patrons, Laurie explains that the SCC library is the action center of the campus. "We conduct hundreds of instruction classes annually and work closely with the faculty to create online subject research guides for students. Faculty, staff, and students can access our Web resources 24/7 on our library website. We also have a computer lab in the library that is available for students working on class assignments."

The SCC library's primary mission is to support the curriculum with library materials. The reserve collection of over 7,000 items selected by the faculty is the most heavily used portion of the entire collection. The leased bestseller books are very popular with the faculty and staff. The collection of over 600 children's books to support the child development curriculum is also heavily used. The library website features an LRC Virtual Library Satisfaction Survey as well as an Ask a Librarian tool. Laurie attests that they have received positive feedback from the survey that has helped to improve the library service to students. The Ask a Librarian tool is a statewide initiative that includes all community college libraries, public libraries, and four of the state university libraries.

SCC is one of a handful of comprehensive community colleges in the state of Florida. In addition to arts and sciences and vocational two-year degrees, SCC has an adult high school, and also offers a wide variety of enrichment classes for adults and youth. According to Laurie, the library materials to support the adult high school curriculum are often the same materials that are selected for the undergraduate curriculum. They also purchase materials targeted for high school students when they are recommended by faculty. The library works closely with the faculty in all areas of the college. "SCC's community education enrichment courses range from cake decorating to fly fishing to yoga! We also offer Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish classes. We purchase materials in all these areas as funds permit."

Laurie echoes the funding challenges faced by many of her colleagues. "We need to continue lobbying our legislators to ensure consistent support of our ever-changing library collections," she says.

To learn more about Seminole Community College, visit them online at or check out the library website at