August 2003    


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  Meet the Librarian

Christine Godin

Northwest Vista College Library

Christine Godin, Director of Learning Resources

Northwest Vista College
San Antonio, Texas

Christine serves as the Director of Learning Resources and coordinates and supervises five librarians plus a secretary and students.  The staff provides comprehensive library services to a community college with approximately 7,000 students.

Christine received her Bachelor's degree in English with a minor in Theater from the University of Massachusetts.  She earned her Master of Arts in Library Science from the University of Iowa. 

As a senior in college, Christine took her first library job as a clerk.  While the pay wasn't much at that time, she stayed on at the library and worked her way through the rest of college.  After moving to Iowa City, she began working at the University library there.  With a sense of interest in the field and determination to learn more, she applied to the University of Iowa which at the time had just received accreditation for a new library school.

Christine began her first job as director of a small public library in Iowa.  After some time, she moved on to Kansas City and was the first Public Services Librarian at Kansas Community College.  She also worked in the same role at Johnson Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.

Christine describes herself as a hands-on director.  She can be found taking some time at the reference desk and occasionally teaching an orientation class.  Northwest Vista College is new and Christine had the unique privilege of being the first director when she was hired in the fall of 1997. 

When asked about the best part of her job, Christine notes that it is, "When a faculty member or student says, 'This is just what I need!'" 

According to Christine, her library is very user-friendly.  "I don't like lots of rules.  We don't charge fines and we don't go crazy if someone brings in a bottle of water."

Christine promotes the library's services by maintaining a high profile on campus.  "Through e-mail and face-to-face communication, we manage to let people know where we are and what we have.  I also encourage the staff to participate in campus activities, serve on college committees, and engage in professional development."  She and her staff have given presentations for the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and have also authored articles. 

Student patrons at the college are particularly keen on the audio-visual collection.  They check out everything from tapes to popular movies.  The library boasts a deep video collection and buys most of its books and audio/visual material from Baker & Taylor.  The college newsletter has just started printing reviews of the movies it loans.  "The newsletter reviews come from employees," says Christine.  The Wildcat is the official mascot of Northwest Vista College and she comments that, "We use the wildcat's paw prints to rate our reviews."  If a review gets five paw prints, you can bet that it is a good movie.

The library is well utilized by the students and Christine estimates that use has doubled almost every year.  "Our school has grown from a population of 2,500 to almost 7,000 and we need more of everything."  The school is experiencing major growing pains as is evident by the 14 portable buildings that can be seen on campus.  "We're bursting at the seams," she laughs.  Even with these pains, the library still enjoys some pleasures.  It offers students two patios that feature picnic tables, shade, and even ports for their computers.

On the subject of challenges facing community college libraries, Christine remarks that funding is always a challenge.  "Although much of our material is available on the internet now, many administrators don't realize how costly it is to maintain those licenses."  Her library spends about one-third of their budget on online material.  Thankfully, much of this is subsidized by the state of Texas.  Some of their online resources include databases, journals, image collections, and encyclopedias.

She goes on to say that the current model requires that the library lease the information.  How would she meet this challenge?  "I hope we start to see more products that we can actually purchase and then own permanent access." 

Christine has been involved with the community college section of the Association of College & Research Libraries, where she served as secretary, and more recently, became the Chair of the Standards Committee.  She also has involvement with the Texas Library Association.

You can visit Northwest Vista College online at and the library website at