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Meet the online librarian

The David O. McKay Library has more than books that tell stories. It also holds the stories of the people who work there, including Ina Rodino’s.

Rodino, BYU-Idaho’s online learning librarian, works with the online curriculum designers and makes sure online students have access to the resources they need. This includes being constantly available for students who are looking for online research help.

“My hours are more open than most librarian hours, so I can meet with students when they have time,” Rodino said. “We have chat that’s available 24/6 so that students can always get help when they need it.”

Rodino admitted that communicating with students online can be challenging, but that it’s her favorite part of her job.

“I wish more students would ask to talk to a librarian because that is the best part of our day,” she said. “I think any librarian would say that because that’s what we enjoy. We want students to come talk to us so we can help them. That’s why we’re here.”

Rodino knows students often use things like YouTube and Google to find answers for their research questions but said the library has many free resources someone searching on Google would have to pay for.

“If you break your arm, you’re not going to go YouTube how to fix it,” Rodino said. “You’re going to go to a professional who’s been trained on that, and that’s what librarians are. We’re information professionals.”

Rodino started her library career while a student at BYU. Her friend who worked at the campus library saw her resume on the student board and offered her a job.

Her first job as a shelver involved carrying thick, heavy periodicals from the fourth floor of the library down to the basement.

“My arms were pretty sore after a few days,” she said. “But it was a good experience and I loved shelving with the people that I worked with.”

After graduating and serving a mission, Rodino returned and found work at the Madison Library District in Rexburg. She decided she needed a full-time job, so later applied to BYU-I.

While working as a Library Assistant at the McKay Library, she earned a master’s degree in library science online from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

“At the public library, I worked with the public for several hours a day and had a lot of good interactions there,” she said. “Then, when I came here I wasn’t working with the public as much. I was behind the scenes, and that took a little bit of an adjustment.”

Rodino laughed at the suggestion that anyone could consider her job dull, and went on to debunk other misconceptions about librarians.

“I’ve always loved libraries and reading, which is what you think of when you look at a librarian, but I don’t get to read books as a librarian,” Rodino said. “That’s not what we do.”

She also said library work is expanding to include different fields.

“You have a lot of librarians now who are working with marketing, public outreach, graphic design and different degrees that you wouldn’t think would help you get a job in a library,” she said. “Computer science and web design skills are in high demand in libraries, as well.”

Rodino and her husband are both book lovers and have their own extensive library at home.

“We even have some in boxes because we’ve run out of shelf space,” she said with a laugh. “Our food storage closet is filled with books, not food storage.”

Students looking for research help can find Rodino and the other librarians in their offices in the David O. McKay Library or through the online library.

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