27 June 2022
photo of man at a desk with computer

The Founders’ Memorial Library at Northern Illinois University has been exceedingly fortunate to employ a highly competent and skilled support staff dedicated to serving its students and faculty. They play a major role in everyone’s success by supporting their studies, teaching, and research with their tireless work. Ron Barshinger has served the Northern Illinois University Library for 33 years. He began as Library clerk II in billing and is currently the Access Services Manager. A graduate of Monmouth University in music education, Ron is an accomplished organist who has served the First United Methodist Church in DeKalb for 32 years. I asked Ron to share his experiences through the years as libraries and library services have gone through many changes.

Thank you for sharing your experiences working for the NIU library with us, Ron. What attracted you to working in libraries and what was your first job?

I worked at the Monmouth College Library during my undergraduate years and a position became available at the University. I started working with Gordon Rasmussen and Sharon Wentz back in 1989. Monmouth was my first job and I worked in circulation and technical services. Their library had only one librarian.

What have you enjoyed most in your work?

Meeting and working with patrons and helping them find answers to their questions and fulfill their research needs.

What has been the most challenging part of your work?

Doing more work with fewer people but still providing a high standard of customer service.

What technological innovation has had the biggest impact on your work?

I have participated in several upgrades in the library circulation modules: LCS (card catalog), FBR, DRA, Endeavor Voyager, and Alma. They all have been an experience.

How did the pandemic change your daily routine?

During the pandemic, I was here at the library along with Cliff Benson, our Facility Operations Coordinator, and Bill Hertzner who is in charge of Library Security. One of my main tasks was checking out laptops for our students.

What are some of your most memorable experiences?

All of the variety in my work. I have worked in billing, IDS, circulation, collection maintenance, and reserves.

Also, many students have come back to campus and have thanked the library for its wonderful service

Our guest blog post today is by Mary Burns, Special Collections Catalog Librarian at NIU. Many thanks to Ron for sharing about his work throughout the years at the NIU Library.