Behind the Stacks: Meet the Library with Erin

In archives and libraries “the stacks” refers to the many resources held by a repository for students and researchers to use. Librarians, archivists, academic tutors, 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 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 our library work behind the stacks!

We’re excited to introduce Erin Toepfner, who connects patrons with the resources they need in her work in Access Services of the RLB Library! We hope you enjoy learning about Erin in her own words in her new blog post:

Name: Erin Toepfner

Erin Toepfner

Role in the Library: Library Specialist. I work in Access Services processing faculty course reserves and daily Interlibrary Loan requests. I also coordinate student assistant and contingent staff employment contracts.

Educational Background: I got my Bachelor’s at Notre Dame of Maryland University (or College of Notre Dame of Maryland as it was called when I was a student—now I feel old). I started off as an Elementary Ed major, then switched to English after enjoying all the books in my elementary reading materials course. Eventually I’d like the get my Master’s in Library Science…That ever golden “someday” way in the future when I feel I have time.

Previous Experience: Maya Angelou said, “I always felt, in any town, if I can get to a library, I’ll be OK.” I think about this quote a lot because I spent many hours in a variety of libraries as a kid. It was a safe haven for me, so I thought a library would be a great place to work as an adult. I was a student assistant in the Loyola/Notre Dame Library, and worked at the Johns Hopkins’ Eisenhower Library as a reserve assistant after I graduated. I continued with the academic library theme when I joined Langsdale Library (now the RLB Library) in 2007. I’ve spent nearly my entire life in libraries.

Favorite Activities in the Library: I’ve always enjoyed working at the Information Desk, and answering the wide variety of questions that come in on a daily basis. I also really enjoy hunting down articles while filling Interlibrary Loan requests.

Current Project: My current efforts are directed toward making as much material available to the UB community as possible. Submit your ILL requests—articles and chapter requests especially welcome. Faculty, submit your course reserve requests so we can make materials available for your students. Let us know what you need and we can try to make it happen. We are absolutely open to suggestions. Email us at: 

Favorite Experience in the Library: It sounds funny given I’m very much an introvert, but some of my favorite experiences in the library have been interacting with students, student assistants, and my coworkers. Patrons come to the desk ready to check out books and share an anecdote. Student assistants breeze into work each day, eager to tell you (or vent) about their day. Coworkers come by your office with new little pieces of information throughout the day, sharing smiles or needing someone just to listen. A library can still be a quiet place, but it’s always full of stories.

What have you learned while working here: I’ve worked in libraries since I started as a student assistant at Loyola/Notre Dame Library in 2003, and I’ve learned that working in a library is anything but boring. It can be quiet at times, and even repetitious, but a lot of people come through a library in Baltimore City, even an academic library, and things can get interesting and definitely weird fast. The RLB Library has hosted bodybuilding competitions, John Waters film screenings, and has had a few memorable moments in its history. But as hectic as that all sounds, our library remains a comfortable place to study and collaborate with a staff absolutely committed to student and faculty success. Everyday brings a new question, a new challenge, and a new experience. And that’s pretty cool.


This post was contributed by Erin Toepfner. We hope you enjoyed learning about Erin and her work in the library helping patrons to access valuable course reserves and other resources on or off-campus or online through her blog post! Thank you, Erin!

If you are looking for course reserves, Interlibrary Loan, articles, book chapters, or information about fall 2020 and curbside pick-up and delivery, check out the guide to Access Services 

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