L&C Unanimously: Elaine Hirsch
L&C Unanimously is a series of stories featuring Lewis & Clark faculty and staff donors.
What is your role at Lewis & Clark?
As the Associate Director of Watzek Library I work with my colleagues to ensure the library is meeting the research and academic support needs of the College and Graduate School and that the library is a center for intellectual and creative growth and expression on campus. My professional interests include library public services, library outreach and engagement, and children’s and young adult literature. This August I will have worked at Lewis & Clark for 19 years.
What has been your favorite project at Lewis & Clark?
Over the years I have played a role in many interesting projects and it’s difficult to pick a favorite. One of my favorite things about working at Lewis & Clark is collaborating with dedicated faculty and staff across the campus community and supporting projects related to student success and scholarship. I am looking forward to working with Alumni and Parent Programs and Institutional Advancement to celebrate Watzek Library’s 50th Anniversary this fall in conjunction with the College’s Sesquicentennial.
Why do you choose to support Lewis & Clark through the Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture fund?
Johannah Sherrer was the Director of Watzek Library who interviewed and hired me as a Reference Librarian in 1998. She was a strong advocate of public service, and unfortunately passed away shortly after I arrived on campus. Dr. Jim Kopp followed Johannah as Library Director and established the Sherrer Memorial Lecture in Library Service in her honor. Johannah and Jim were mentors to me and it’s meaningful that I have the opportunity to continue their professional influence in libraries by coordinating and contributing to the lecture series. After 15 years it is an anticipated professional event in the region and has attracted students and faculty in recent years with the contemporary, multifaceted topics addressed by the invited speakers. This year’s Sherrer Lecture will be held September 22 and will address the role of libraries and library values in an informed democracy.
What do people not know about you?
I spent two years between college and graduate school traveling and living around the country, reflecting on what I wanted to pursue as a profession and where I wanted to live. This was the first time I was west of the Mississippi River and when I visited Oregon I knew I could happily put down roots here. I also came to realize during this period that librarianship brought together many of my values and interests and would be a good career choice for me. It took several years for these realizations to reach confluence at Lewis & Clark, but things clearly fell into place.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Most of my time away from work is spent with my husband and two daughters. There’s a host of school, athletic, and extracurricular activities, occasional family trips to the coast, etc. I’m a non-competitive runner who participates in running events and I would feel like an inadequate librarian if I didn’t mention my love of reading!
Name something on your bucket list.
Running the Hood to Coast relay race was on my bucket list, which I was able to do last year and will run again in August. The LC Alumni Team pulled in next to our van at one exchange, and it was fun to have a collegial moment before the Pios’ van and runners left us in the dust. In the future a beer tour of Belgium and Germany would be fun and interesting, but that’s likely several years away. In the meantime, Prost!