A Look Behind the Stacks: Meet the Library with Debbie Li

In archives and libraries “the stacks” refers to the many resources held by a repository for students and researchers to use. Librarians, archivists, and others work hard to preserve and make these resources and collections accessible and to create a welcoming environment for students and researchers. As the school year progresses, A Look Behind the Stacks continues highlighting the people and work behind the UB RLB Library and the Special Collections & Archives. Follow our blog to Meet the Library and to learn more about what we all do behind the stacks!

This month, we’re excited to introduce Debbie Li, Digital Resources Librarian

Name: Debbie Li

Title/Role:  I am the Digital Resources Librarian at the RLB Library. I manage the library’s electronic resources, such as databases, online journals, ebooks, and electronic submissions of student theses and dissertations. Along with the Library’s Integrated Digital Services (IDS) staff, I ensure these resources are accessible to UB students, faculty, and staff (and in some cases, alumni), 24/7, off-campus as well as on-campus. If there are problems accessing these resources I troubleshoot to resolve these issues. In addition, I assist in the renewal of many of these resources on an annual basis via subscriptions. I also work in the cataloging and acquisition of books and other materials for the Library collections. Most of my work is behind-the-scenes, but occasionally I will help out in the Think Tank and behind the Information Desk. I am also the point person for accepting theses and dissertations, so if you are working on your master’s degree or doctorate you can contact me with questions on submitting your final manuscript and electronic copy.

Educational Background:  I earned a Bachelor of Science in horticulture, specializing in pomology and olericulture (the science of fruit and vegetable growing, in case you didn’t know) at the University of Maryland, College Park. After graduating, I landed a biological technician job with the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, but after a year decided to return to the University of Maryland for a master’s degree in library science. I was interested in too many subjects to focus on one specialization which is what one needs to do in biological research, and I figured a library science degree would satisfy my desire to make people aware of all types of information.

Previous Experience:  After earning my MLS, I landed a position as a librarian at the National Geographic Society, cataloging maps and books. When the opportunity to work with photographs arose, I moved to the Image Collection—National Geographic’s archives for its amazing photographs and artwork, where I was an indexer, inputting metadata for photographs in the digital archive. I later became a picture editor/researcher–researching client requests for images and sending the images all over the world via electronic workboxes. I left National Geographic when 20th Century Fox bought a majority stake in the organization. In 2017, I came to UB as I was interested in working in an academic library. My previous experience helped prepare me for my current work.

Favorite Database:  Currently my favorite database is Newspapers.com. You can discover tons of fascinating information on past events and people through newspaper articles dating back to the 1700’s. It’s a great tool if you are doing genealogy research on your family or historical research for a class. To learn more about this resource, please check out my blog post.

Current Project:  I’m working on a couple of projects right now. I’m helping implement an electronic resource project management tool, which will help centralize database and online journal subscription data and thus streamline renewals. I’m also creating and updating records in the library’s catalog for collections of archival materials in the Special Collections & Archives when finding aids are created and updated in their archives database. This will allow patrons to easily find materials in the archives through the library catalog.

What have you learned while working here:  I’ve learned that UB is very community-oriented, and I enjoy working with the students, who are motivated to better themselves, and who are very appreciative of the services and assistance the library provides them. It gives me a real sense of satisfaction to help them succeed.

On a larger scale, I’ve learned quite a bit about the city of Baltimore since starting this job, as I had always been DC-centric. There are tons of good inexpensive eating places, and the traffic is definitely not as bad as in and around DC.

However, though I’ve been a long-time O’s fan, I root for the Nats also. Luckily there is not a hockey team in Baltimore, as I am a huge Capitals fan … GO CAPS!!! 

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