Librarian promotes information literacy, inclusion
Sarah Hill cares about more than just your research skills
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It took Sarah Hill 14 years to pass high school.
At least, that’s the joke she likes to tell about finally becoming a college librarian after working for over a decade as a high school librarian. She’s been at Lake Land for four years now, and loves the work she does.
“What I like is that there’s a wide range of students, so even though the majority of the people you see are fresh out of high school, I like the students who are coming back for other reasons,” Hill said.
She said that sometimes her job is as simple as showing students the basics, while other times she focuses on more difficult issues.
“Every day is different. I never know what I’m going to get,” Hill said. “[I] help them, show them how to use a mouse, just basic research skills. I get the more advanced questions, too.”
Hill said that a common challenge faced by students is finding reliable information.
“In the world of fake news, that’s kind of hard to do. Some of them aren’t really being taught that. They don’t know how to evaluate information.”
Hill hopes to help students increase their information literacy before they graduate.
“I try to [help] by pushing the databases,” Hill said.
Evaluating sources is also an important part of research.
“When I pull up an article in a class, does the author have the authority to write an article on this topic? What’s their degree in? Who do they work for? Any more, you can google any author and find out all sorts of information about them,” Hill said.
One of the greatest challenges Hill faces is conquering the notion that Google knows all.
“The most challenging thing is students who think that if they can do a google search they know everything about research,” Hill said. “To talk to them and explain, hey, there’s this whole other world of research you don’t know about, and you need to know about.”
Hill’s focus is not only in teaching students, but also in increasing acceptance.
“I serve on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee here on campus. That’s something I volunteered for, just because I find it important,” Hill said. “I’m also the Safe Zone coordinator for LGBT students on campus. We offer training to staff and faculty.”
Including outcasts seems to be a natural part of a librarian’s job. Hill said her interest in inclusion started when she was still the librarian at Paris High School.
“I think it comes from being a high school librarian and being a high school teacher,” Hill said. “The library tends to be the place, if you get bullied in school, the library is usually the safe place to go.”
Hill said she built connections with the kids who ate lunch in the library and through her book club.
“As a high school librarian, I tended to always have my lunch groupies. Even though I wasn’t supposed to supervise students during that time, I always had them,” Hill said. “My book club was always full of interesting people, so I just continued that when I came here.”