Staff Spotlight - Introducing Susan Koenig, Evening Reference Specialist
Learn more about Himmelfarb Library staff members. In this issue we learn more about Susan Koenig, Evening Reference Specialist.
Where are you from and what brought you to Himmelfarb Library?
I’m originally from Tucson, Arizona. I moved to DC four years ago to attend GW, and graduated two years ago with my Master’s in English. I was subsequently hired as an adjunct professor in GW’s University Writing program. I started looking for a part time job that would work with the schedule of my UW classes, and would give me a complementary skill set. During my search I came across the evening/weekend reference specialist position here at Himmelfarb, and the rest is history!
Tell us about your current position and what you do?
I am the evening/weekend reference specialist. If you contact Himmelfarb Reference via chat or phone Monday-Thursday after 4PM or Saturday from 12-4PM, that’s me! I assist our patrons in accessing the library’s resources, conducting research, properly formatting their papers, using their iPads, and pretty much anything else you could think of that falls under the umbrella of “reference.” I also maintain the Consumer Health Resources LibGuide. I’m trying to add resources that would make it more helpful to non-medical students, so if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!
What about your job do you enjoy most?
I don’t have much of a background in the health sciences, so I end up learning quite a bit while helping our patrons do research. And that knowledge spills over into my UW class as well. I’ve had students write about medical and public health issues for their final research paper, and it’s great being able to understand a lot of the field-specific knowledge they’re relying on.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Like I said above, I don’t have much of a background in the health sciences. Sometimes patrons will use acronyms or terms that are clearly common to their field, but I have no idea what they’re talking about! Luckily everyone is very understanding, and after a year I’ve (mostly) caught up.
Working evenings and weekends you get a different perspective on life at Himmelfarb. Do you have any interesting or unusual stories about your time here?
Evenings are fairly quiet, but sometimes the weekends can get hectic! Usually that has more to do with non-GW activities, like protests on the Mall. One of the things I really enjoy about evenings and weekends is how many of our online students I get to know. Working at the brick-and-mortar university, we sometimes forget just how many people use Himmelfarb’s resources.
What do you like to do in your time away from work?
I will admit I’m a bit of a homebody. I like curling up with a good book, finding a new television show to watch on Netflix, and cooking (especially Mexican food). But I’m also a big fan of hiking, and I enjoy taking advantage of all the perks DC has to offer. I frequent the museums, and DC has a surprisingly vibrant theatre scene. I’m a big fan of Woolly Mammoth. One of my favorite things to do is sit in Lafayette Square with a cup of tea and a new podcast. The people-watching across the street at the White House is top-notch!