North Dakota State has recently hired a new Government Information Librarian, Susanne Caro, who has been fascinated with libraries since elementary school, leading her to a master’s degree in library and information science from Texas Woman’s University.
Caro previously worked at the University of Montana as the Government Information Librarian for over six years as well as the New Mexico State Library where she focused on state and federal documents/information for a little over four years.
During her online master’s program, she also worked full-time at a library. For the program, she had to complete a practicum in a different library, which led her to practically live at a library from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Caro started volunteering at a library in elementary school and into high school. She then became a student worker at the library. After graduating, they hired her.
After contemplating what she wanted to do for graduate school, she realized that “apparently this is an area that’s drawn me for years, so I should probably pursue my passion in that,” Caro said.
Caro explained her favorite part of the library is that “every single day you continue to learn more, and I have such a backlog of trivia in my head now.”
Caro reads constantly, whether it is daily news articles or an average of a book a week, she sometimes ends up reading three to four books a week. She mostly enjoys science fiction and fantasy, with her favorite authors being Terry Pratchett and Connie Willis. She also reads non-fiction, especially medical non-fiction because as she explained, “that’s one of those areas where truth is stranger than fiction.”
Many see libraries as boring or uneventful, but Caro believes otherwise. “I’ve never known a boring librarian. There’s always some interesting hobby or area of interest that you might never imagine,” Caro shared. For example, Caro’s quirk is cosplay. She enjoys cosplaying mostly steampunk and characters from the “Fallout” video game franchise.
Caro thinks people do not realize what happens behind the desk. They often hear about stereotypes like a woman with a bun and glasses shushing students to be quite while they shelve books all day. “I absolutely hate shushing.” Caro said. “I like it kind of when people are a little bit louder in the library sometimes because often that means that they are engaged and their enjoying themselves.”
She explained that librarians want people to come in and use the space because that is their purpose of being there as a resource.
To help NDSU students further their knowledge within the library, Caro said, “Since my focus is on government and its state, federal and then also intergovernmental organization, what I tend to do is I help students locate that type of content. So if someone comes in and they’re looking for any type of statistics, I can usually help them locate those statistics.”
There are still a lot of sources that have not been digitized within government documents, so she has the ability and knowledge to go about and find those sources for students to use.
Caro is also looking forward to promoting government information. She is working on an exhibit right now called, “Duck and Cover: Exploring the Cold War and Fears of Nuclear Annihilation.” Caro explained that many do not know that there was also a fallout shelter in the library and continued to say how there is still a sign up for it where it leads to an old boiler room. She explained that she wouldn’t be surprised if there are more fallout shelters on campus and supplies. Caro wants to bring back some of that history and “absurdity” of that time.