Inspire Discovery

In a warm, wood-lined room where centuries-old books fill the walls as if guarding a hallowed space, 15 students use iPads to research topics ranging from climate change to organic foods. The room buzzes with their energy.

Welcome to the Library’s new digital instruction room—an example of how Saint Mary’s is changing with technology and the times.

“I just have a love for information and have a passion for making it fun and easy for students to do research,” said Gina Kessler Lee, the information literacy librarian spearheading the project.

A 2013 graduate of the University of Washington with a master’s degree in library and information science, Lee said it’s exciting to be able to support the process of intellectual discovery. “Now there’s so much online, they can pursue any line of knowledge and we have the resources for it.”

It was a light bulb moment that led Lee to a career in library science. “I was in college at a career networking event and I happened to be in line for cheese,” she recalled, when she asked the woman in front of her what she did for a living.

“She said, ‘Let me tell you. I just went back to school and got my master’s degree in library science, completely changed careers midlife, and I love it.’ It sounded like a wonderful opportunity to both help people, which I love, and also learn about new things all the time and keep up with new technologies,” said Lee, whose youth and enthusiasm have been contagious.

“She is skilled and fearless with technology, passionate about teaching students to be discriminating life-long learners and, best of all, is an irrepressible experimenter who keeps us excited and challenged,” said Pat Kreitz, dean of Library and Academic Resources.

Lee, for her part, remains modest. “When I came in, my fellow librarians had already done so much to make sure students had access to the kind of information they needed—and we were moving along with them into the digital age. I’m just following their lead and trying to contribute new ideas where I can.”

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