"The role of
the librarian as a
facilitator, a teacher, and a guide is even more essential today in our
age of information technology and internet access. One could say that
the rest of society has joined in the work that librarians have been
doing for a very long time, researching, gathering, organizing and
Mother Irene Gill Library
The College of New Rochelle
Ms. Acampora, what is your educational background?
I received my BA in
Studio Art in 1980, and my M.S. in Education in 1986, both from Lehman
College of the City University of New York. At that time, I worked in a
variety of settings, teaching creative arts to the mentally retarded,
the elderly and children. While in graduate school I found myself
intrigued by a course in Research Methodologies, and I also began
working at my college library. My decision to become a librarian was a
short step from there; I graduated from Queens College (CUNY) with an
MLS in 1989. Shortly thereafter, I accepted a position as a reference
librarian at CNR where I provided research assistance and taught
library instruction classes.
When, in 1995 I
became Systems Librarian, I went on to complete a Certificate and
Internship program in Microcomputer Technology at Baruch College
(CUNY), and attended technology "boot camp" for one-year at WAVE
Technologies International in Manhattan for computer networking and
website development. Each year I pursue continuing education
opportunities in systems and librarianship through classes,
professional conferences, workshops, webinars, teleconferences and
On a different note,
this year, I will graduate from CNR with an MS in Studio Art. A
strong believer in lifelong learning, I attend workshops at institutes
such as Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine; Augusta Heritage
Center in West Virginia; Fletcher Farm School for Art and Crafts in
Vermont, The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, and The Clay Arts
Center in Peekskill, New York. This Spring I will take a workshop in
book arts and book-making at Peter's Valley Craft Center in New Jersey.
How long have you been at The College of New Rochelle?
Sixteen years in total. I
began my employment as an adjunct librarian in 1991. I have been a full
time librarian at CNR since 1992.
What is your role here at CNR?
As Systems Librarian, my role
is to prepare, implement, maintain, and evaluate the Library's
automated computer operations, and to manage their administrative
modules. At present, I am responsible for "III" (Innovative Interfaces
Inc.), our Integrated Library System; "Docutek ERes," our electronic
reserves system; "EZ-Proxy", our database authentication system;
"ILLiad," our inter-library loan system; and our general operations
server. I also maintain the health and well-being of the library's
computer equipment and electronic classroom, provide troubleshooting
and support, and coordinate or perform systems repairs and upgrades as
I serve as Chairperson
for the Library's "Automation of Library Services Committee" and the
Library's "Web Committee", and I am the Library webmaster. Providing
staff training is an important part of my work as well. For each
new system we implement, I teach professional development workshops and
individualized staff tutorials. I’ve mentored two assistant
systems librarians for our branches libraries, and a library systems
assistant. Also, I research new library systems, advise on long range
planning, coordinate special Library automation projects, and
participate in programs in conjunction with various Library committees.
CNR offers a strong sense of community and collegiality;
it is a warm,
non-competitive, welcoming environment. Many of my colleagues at CNR,
like myself, have said they “just felt at home” when they first visited
the campus and wanted to stay…and fortunately did. Our faculty and
staff are exceptionally dedicated and talented as well as being very
accessible to students and to each other. There is a sense of caring,
generosity and belonging one feels at The College of New Rochelle that
makes this community a very appealing and effective place in which to
work, study and grow.
Besides Gill Library, how are you involved in the College and the
Besides my work at Gill
Library, I have taught the course “Library as a Research Tool” for
CNR’s School of New Resources and have served on the College's Library
Committee. I now serve on the College's Teaching, Learning and
Technology Roundtable. Being an art student at CNR as well as a
librarian, I am now the library liaison to the Graduate Studio Art
Department which I am very excited about.
In a larger sense of bridging
community, last summer, I had the honor of representing the College at
the American Library Association Convention in New Orleans. I was
fortunate and privileged to be able to participate in ALA's “Libraries
Build Communities” program, an outreach effort to assist in the
rehabilitation and restoration of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane
Katrina. We worked at a local public library helping to clean out
and restore their facility.
Another project I am
proud to be part of is maintaining a memorial book collection for a
beloved alumna, Elizabeth G. Sullivan SAS ‘48. In 1989, Elizabeth’s
sister, Nancy Sullivan Murray SAS ‘50 offered the College a grant for
the establishment of a collection of research materials in her sister’s
memory in the area where “ecology and feminism merge.”
“Ecofeminism” has evolved into a broad field of study encompassing
diverse perspectives on the relationships among environmental studies,
women’s history, nature, cultural studies and spirituality. With
additional donations from many of the Sullivan/Murray family and
friends, ongoing support from the College and Library, and strong
interest among many CNR faculty members, the Elizabeth G. Sullivan
Memorial Ecofeminism Collection continues to grow and provide a
wide-ranging and thought-provoking selection of resources in the field.
I hope to work more closely with interested faculty members in this
area in the future. Interested researchers may learn more about the
collection by visiting the Library website under Collections or go
What do you think makes CNR a special College?
CNR offers a strong sense of
community and collegiality; it is a warm, non-competitive, welcoming
environment. Many of my colleagues at CNR, like myself, have said they
“just felt at home” when they first visited the campus and wanted to
stay…and fortunately did. Our faculty and staff are exceptionally
dedicated and talented as well as being very accessible to students and
to each other. There is a sense of caring, generosity and belonging one
feels at The College of New Rochelle that makes this community a very
appealing and effective place in which to work, study and
What sort of student is successful at CNR?
Because CNR provides not only
quality education but also a nurturing, compassionate environment, our
community has the power to transform lives. The ideal CNR student is
one who is ready to receive the unique qualities CNR has to
offer. One who is motivated by the desire to learn and embrace
the beginning of a journey of lifelong learning within a diverse,
talented, and caring community.
How has the role of a librarian changed with the development of the
The role of the librarian as
a facilitator, a teacher, and a guide is even more essential today in
our age of information technology and internet access. One could say
that the rest of society has joined in the work that librarians have
been doing for a very long time, researching, gathering, organizing and
sharing information. The terrain is much broader and more complex to
traverse than ever before and librarians remain at the heart of the
research process. We continue to aid researchers in maneuvering through
the vast wealth of data, selecting appropriate search aides,
identifying valid research, interpreting results, and assimilating
conceptual foundations of the research process. Librarians also
remain invaluable creators and navigators of what we often refer to as
the "invisible web” (or those areas that are not immediately visible
through search engines).
In addition to traditional
library work, new roles in librarianship have also evolved along with
the internet. Librarians, like me, are now frequently employed in
systems positions, or as electronic resources librarians who are
responsible for managing growing online library collections. Others
work as digitization librarians in archives and special collections
adapting content into digital formats; as metadata librarians who
catalog and organize online resources; as online database indexers,
search engine developers, or as part of sales, training, support or
development teams for integrated library systems companies. I'm
sure that as the Internet continues to evolve, the work of librarians
will as continue to evolve as well.
Because of the Internet do you think students are learning in new ways?
Yes, I believe the Internet
as well other advancements of our technological age have influenced
learning styles. Today's students are exposed from a very young age to
a wealth of information and a myriad of ever-evolving technological
tools to manage it. They have grown up with video and online
interactive computer gaming technology that encourages the development
of strategic and analytic thinking, challenges them to assess and
acquire information rapidly, and to assimilate and respond to it
effectively. They are accustomed to working independently with a high
degree of self-direction and to share and collaborate with each other
in virtual communal environments. Hypertext links, spellcheckers,
language translation programs, citation builders, etc. also make the
learning experience an easier and more autonomous one. Surely, the
lecture model of education no longer serves the needs of today’s
student who seems better served by a model that provides guidance,
encourages independence, interaction and collaboration.
Will the listserve and web replace books?
Certainly the listserv,
web-blogs, wikis, and the infinitely evolving variations of technology
and web-based communication will continue to grow, change, and
transform our lives. There is no question that these technologies
provide an unparalleled level of currency and inclusiveness. However, I
see them all as a different form of the book, another vehicle in the
sharing of knowledge, ideas and creativity, and the recording of human
history. As for the physical book itself, I think technology will
continue to supplement it, just as the book supplements technology.
Pervasive printing of what we find online, and the purchase of software
manuals seem to attest to this.
Books, in my opinion, will
always have a personal and intimate quality that cannot be replaced by
computers. Manual arts such as sculpture and painting (and book arts)
remain an intimate physical signature of the human record and have not
been replaced by digital art. Rather, each form responds to and
enhances the other. At least I hope the book will remain with us,
because, after a long day of working with technology, I would miss the
tactile and simple pleasure of reading a book.
How has technology at the library evolved since the renovation of 2001?
The Library renovation of
January 2001 provided an excellent foundation for future technological
growth. Along with the establishment of the Library Systems Department
and collaborative efforts among all librarians and staff, we have has
been able to greatly enhance library services in our goal to support
the academic mission of the College and to facilitate teaching,
learning, and collaboration.
What new systems has the Library employed since the renovation?
One major project we recently
completed is a migration from a consortia-based library system to our
own independent ILS (Integrated Library System), called III Millennium.
Our III (Innovative Interfaces, Inc) system now coordinates all
Cataloging, Acquisitions and Periodicals services, and provides us with
an autonomous Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) with lots of
potential for growth and the addition of new features.
What new features does the library online public access catalog provide?
One significant advanced feature now available within
our online catalog, is a link to "My Library," a personal virtual
library space that allows CNR library users to renew their loans,
manage their hold requests, construct and save their preferred
searches, and collect their search history from any online computer
anywhere without having to visit the library.
The catalog also provides advanced keyword searching
features, monthly new book acquisition lists, and a link to "WorldCat,"
an international library catalog that researchers can use to locate
materials in their local libraries as well as throughout the world.
Shortly we will be introducing "RightResult Search Technology" that
will prioritize catalog search results to list most relevant resources
first. We are looking into the use of RSS feeds and many other exciting
I see a link to Electronic Reserves on the Library hompage. Is
ERes another new automated library system?
Yes, ERes is also a new
system that we completed last summer and is now accessible through all
five library branches. Similar to Angel, ERes allows us to create
faculty course pages to contain and coordinate course reserve
readings. Documents can be scanned in and retrieved via Adobe
Acrobat Reader, or they can be made available as websites links, or as
links to online full text documents within our subscription databases.
ERes is also accessible online from any computer with internet access,
anywhere, anytime without having to visit the library.
Can CNR researchers access, from off-campus, the wide variety of online
subscription databases and full text resources that the Library now
Yes. We have
been using a program called EZ-Proxy that integrates with the College
network authentication system to provide access to our online
subscription databases from off-campus. One significant feature
of this program is that it routes researchers directly to the site they
were seeking rather than bringing them, after login, to a general
list of databases.
Is the Library working on any new projects?
ILLiad, the "Inter Library
Loan Internet Accessible Database," is a system we are currently
implementing. ILLiad will automate the interlibrary loan process
allowing our researchers to order materials that are not available at
Gill Library, track their orders, and receive electronic copies
delivered directly to their desktops. Links to this service will be
accessible throughout our website, our catalog, and our subscription
databases to make the interlibrary loan process seamless and easy, as
well as accessible from anywhere on or off campus.
What are some of the Library's future plans?
We are looking forward to a
major re-design and integration of our library website to enable
greater interactivity and self directed functionality. A team of
librarians has begun to work on the creation of interactive video
presentations of library literacy classes, and we are developing a
website section devoted to research assistance that will showcase a
variety of help tools. We have incorporated online forms such as
the email service "Ask a Librarian," a "Make a Suggestion" form, and a
“Suggest a Purchase” form. Additional online forms are being
added for submitting reserve materials, registering for library classes
and signing up to use group study rooms. And, as Web 2.0
continues to evolve and change the way we work and communicate with
each other, the library continues to research and incorporate new
features into our automated services.
Another important area the
Library will focus on in the future is Electronic Resources. We have
recently instituted an Electronic Resources Department to coordinate
the growing demands of managing online databases. Article Linker,
a product that points researchers to other sites within and beyond the
library where full text and related resources may be found has already
been implemented. Central Search, a service to be introduced
soon, will bring together a list of all resources available through
Gill Library in one easy search step. Central Search incorporates the
Vivisimo’s Clustering Engine, that organizes results by categories
providing a detailed and comprehensive list of alternative
searches. The library now also publicizes our holdings within
Google. When students search from Google within the Library they are
automatically routed to Gill Library's holdings first, among other
web-resources. Many more exciting developments will be coming in the
area of electronic resources in the future.
As we remain committed to
enhancing library services through technology, visit our website
newsletter for updates.
With all of the new features now available at the Library how would you
describe the Library's role in enhancing the educational mission of CNR?
The Library renovation, the
automation of our major library services, the creation of our
Electronic Resources Department and, a commitment to the on-going
enhancement of library services enable us to offer an effective
physical and virtual space to support the goals of learning,
teaching, community and collaboration.
The Library remains an integral place where researchers can find and
quickly access a growing wealth of print and online resources,
communicate with library professionals, enjoy a welcoming environment,
and do their research within or beyond the Library walls.