NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Meet the new library director

By Jessica Freeman

“There’s more paperwork now” jokes, Mike Hearn, the recently appointed Director of Library Services. Hearn said his job is now more administrative, and that he misses being able to work with students directly.

Hearn hopes to “rebrand” the library to be a more focus based experience. Hearn wants the school to have libraries that can help to meet the needs of students of NECC, whether they can spend lots of time on campus, or are more distant learners that need help even when they are off campus.

Hearn started as NECC’s Director of library Services over the summer on July 1. Before this, he worked as a librarian on the Lawrence campus for eight and a half years. When the Lawrence library staff was asked about their former colleague, they spoke fondly of working with Hearn and all agreed it was great that he was the director of library services now. The Haverhill Library staff was also enthusiastic about having a new director in charge of the library.

Hearn has a Bachelor of Arts in American/United States Studies from Washington College in Maryland and a Masters of Library and Information Sciences from the University of South Carolina.

Prior to working at NECC, Hearn also worked in college libraries at Daniel Webster College and University of South Carolina.

In his new role, Hearn recognizes the challenges of working at a community college in terms of being able to reach students, and said he “encourages students to stop in and find out everything [the library] has to offer.”

These services include access to books and DVD’s, online resources, access to research assistances to help students and being able to call or text for help, among other services.

Hearn has also helped staff that teach information literacy courses. Information literacy courses are now a requirement for all NECC students. Hearn and the other librarians have done their part to help by creating the Lib Guides that can be found on the library’s website and can help students research and evaluate sources.

As for new technology being introduced to the campus, Hearn said that students “may know that they can borrow books and DVD, but they might not know that they have access to over 3 million items” from other colleges through the NOBLE group, and that the library, “also provides many electronic sources of information, including almost 40,000 eBooks, hundreds of audiobooks, and streaming videos.”

Although, Hearn is proud of the many eBooks the library has collected, he knows there are still students who will always want a tangible, real book they can use.

Hearn is working with the Lawrence Campus to transform the library from a smaller space located in the basement to a library more accessible to students. Hearn says the college hopes to change the Lawrence library by “opening a new Information Literacy Lab on the Lawrence campus this fall, which includes a library instruction classroom and media viewing center for students.”

Hearn hopes this will help students to be able to get more directed, accessible, one on one services from the library. Hearn also said that, the library would offer the same academic technology assistance to students as in the other library.

In Hearn’s work with the library, he sees that his responsibilities are not only to his typical patrons of both students and teachers, but also that of the greater community. Hearn recognizes that the NECC libraries, play a unique role in the area by being somewhat of a public library to some residents in the communities in which the campuses are located.

It is clear that Hearn is passionate about his job of being the Director of Library Services at NECC, and despite his new projects and paperwork, Hearn is still all about wanting to help students learn and access information in the easiest way possible for them.

Interviews were conducted with Mike Hearn over email, and during an in person interview.

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