At the heart of a thriving college is a well-managed machine. This machine is made up of the two libraries of both the Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom campuses, and every machine must have a manager.
Changes have been made to the Pierce College administration, meaning the former district chairs have been changed to the position of deans.
Christie Flynn has been appointed the college’s dean of libraries and learning resources, but she is far from a new face to the college.
Flynn has been working as a library faculty member since 1998, more recently serving as the district director of library operations. While providing Pierce College’s students and faculty with exceptional library services over the years, she has also been an active member in other Pierce initiatives to encourage information competency.
It was a job announcement that drew Flynn to Pierce College. While living in Texas she saw an announcement that advertised a dynamic library that focused on teaching and learning, and not just books and online resources.
“I knew I wanted to work in a library that centered on student success,” Flynn said.
So in 1998 Flynn came to Washington to interview for the position. She found a wonderful faculty and campus. That fall she and her husband moved to the Pacific Northwest.
“I haven’t looked back,” she said.
For many reasons Flynn feels at home in a learning environment. After working professionally in theater after college, an occupation Flynn grew tired of because of working every weekend and on evenings, she pursued a career as a children’s librarian. “I pursued a career as a children’s librarian, so I could blend my love of theater while maintaining a day job. I loved doing story time and events and activities for kids.” After working with children for a few years Flynn took a job at a college library, discovering that it was “the perfect fit for me.”
While she was growing up she always loved school and learning because of the mentors and teachers that aided her though her educational experience.
“In third grade, I even rode my bike to my teacher’s house after dinner sometimes because I thought she was so cool. She would invite me in and serve me lemonade, and we would talk about her life and my dreams.”
It was always through exploration, creativity and innovation that Flynn learned best.
“As a young kid, the only time I ever got in trouble was for talking too much, and that happened a lot”.
Possibly because of her own experiences, Flynn encouraged communication as a way of learning.
“Students are always welcome to have conversations with me. Since I supervise the library, computer labs, and the tutoring center in Puyallup and Ft. Steilacoom, I would encourage students to come talk to me about those areas.”
To Flynn, she is not only the director of a library, but a “class room.” As she told Pierce TV in an interview earlier in 2008, “The people at these two libraries have a tremendous amount of dedication and we are what we call a teaching, learning library. When you walk into the library in Puyallup or Fort Steilacoom, the first desk you might see is the Reference or ASK Desk. The person sitting at that desk is a reference librarian, whose sole purpose at that desk is to help students with their research and information needs. They consider the library to be a classroom: students come there to learn, ask questions, find information, conduct research, create and write papers, and complete projects. The librarian at the ASK Desk is the instructor in that Information Classroom.
As the dean of libraries and learning resources, Flynn views change as a way the college can grow, and as she explained, some of these changes already happened over the summer.
“We made a few changes over the summer and a few more are headed your way in the fall; including technology in the study rooms and iPads that students can check out. We’ve also added Saturdays back into the schedule this year,” she said.
Starting Oct. 13, the library is open Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. While Flynn sees the importance of all of the resources that Pierce College has to offer, it’s when she talks about what the library has to offer that she gets excited.
“I’m definitely a librarian at heart. The library has something for everyone. The library has access to books and articles and films, digital cameras and Kindles: things that are interesting and entertaining as well as things that are crucial to your education. Librarians are available at the Reference or “Ask” Desk to help you get started or to move you along your research path. We spend the library budget each year very carefully, making sure that we have what students need.”
And if there is one piece of information Flynn would give all students, returning and new, it would be “Get connected. Take advantage of the resources that are available to you.”
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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