Jason Ertz, Reference Librarian, comments to the BOT | Aug 15, 2019

Good evening, my name is Jason Ertz and I have been a librarian and full time faculty member here at COD for 13 years so far. As a librarian, I spend many hours with students and community members assisting and teaching them about information. Its power. How to find it. How and why to evaluate it. And of course why it matters. My work and research here at COD, with the students, the community, and my faculty, staff and administrative colleagues is one of the most fulfilling I have had in my life.

I was raised in district 502 — I am a Downers Grove Mustang. After a tour in the Marine Corps and a couple of universities, it gave me great pleasure to come back to work for this community. The diversity of the student body is why I enjoy my work so much. From the students who are still figuring out their education goals, to the students starting a second career, every one of them makes my work life interesting and engaging. The students who come through the Library desperately wanting to ask questions but unsure how, keep me inspired to teach them how to think about and use information to answer their own questions and ask more sophisticated ones. I love assisting aspiring community members with their business research or their interest in history, poetry or a religion which they are unfamiliar, bringing a cultural foundation to our community. I know myself and my librarian colleagues work tirelessly to help our students become information literate – a key to student success.

As evidence of my commitment to our institution, I am a faculty leader on the Pathways project. I helped research Pathways and how it could best be implemented to our institution, educating faculty on how to make the Pathways process work best for our students, their education, and their educational goals. Even if some of the faculty want to choke me for it. We are on the front lines of our students’ education, helping them transfer to a 4 year school, enter the workforce or apprenticeship programs, and ultimately succeeding. Faculty are making Pathways run and leading it.

In the library scholarship, library anxiety and uncertainty are important concerns for helping students develop the habits and thinking skills of an information literate person. The affective domain, dealing with feelings, emotions, and motivation has a significant impact on learning at large, not just in research and library work. We faculty help students find their passions and education goals, building their internal motivation and positive direction. And we try our hardest to inspire the students in the classroom to WANT to know and the work necessary to create that knowledge that will help them begin to build their careers. We are a kind of leader, or mentor, to our students within the disciplines. It is no mistake that these same affective principles of motivation and emotional development are part of the work of leadership.

Leaders should inspire and motivate in order to help develop exceptional performance and fulfillment within the people from their organization. Actions on behalf of one’s organization speak louder than hollow praise. Fear, disrespect, and division rarely work to motivate or inspire a group of people except for maybe survival. History has shown us, they are used by the worst of rulers. I do everything possible to keep fear, disrespect, and division out of my classrooms and the Library, but my working conditions are students learning conditions. And as I came back from a vacation to a new school year, actions have me feeling terribly disheartened and demotivated. We can do better. Thank you.