ATG Star of the Week: Nancy J. Butkovich, Head, Physical & Mathematical Sciences Library, Pennsylvania State University

Physical Sciences - Math LibraryName: Nancy J. Butkovich
Title: Head, Physical & Mathematical Sciences Library
Email: njb2@psu.edu
Organization: The Pennsylvania State University
Website: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/pams.html

Born and Lived: I’m originally from Oregon, but being an “Army Brat,” I’ve also lived in a lot of other places as well.  I currently live in Pennsylvania.

Professional Career and Activities: Librarianship is my second career. in a prior “life” I worked as an exploration geologist, minerals analyst, and mining safety instructor, among other things.  I earned my MLS at the University of Tennessee (GO VOLS!), and I worked several years as a STEM librarian at Texas A&M before coming to Penn State.  I’m currently a member of the American Library Association, the American Chemical Society, and the Geological Society of America.

Family: My mother lives in North Carolina, and my brother is in Montana.

In My Spare Time: Bird-watching.  It helps clear the mind… and bird behavior is fascinating to observe.  If the weather’s too bad to go out birding, I also transcribe bird migration data for the North American Bird Phenology Program, a Citizen Science project run by the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Favorite Books: Hamlet and Macbeth (Shakespeare), The Illiad (Homer), Night (Elie Wiesel), the Lord of the Rings trilogy (J.R.R. Tolkien), Childhood’s End (Arthur C. Clarke), The Trojan Women (Euripides), Young Men and Fire (Norman Maclean).

Pet Peeves: My current one: people parking on or over the lines in parking lots.

Philosophy: “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”  (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3)

Most Memorable Career Achievement: I have two, actually.  One was serving as a stakeholder representing needs of researchers in the development of our institutional repository.  The other was seeing three former student assistants in the PAMS Library get their MLS degrees.

Goal I Hope to Achieve Five Years from Now: Watching my mentees (formal and informal) celebrate their tenure and promotions to Associate Librarian.  (And it’s not just in five years; it’s every year.)

How/Where Do I See the Industry in Five Years: If by industry you mean the publishing industry, then I think that we’re ultimately going to see a rather messy movement away from the current packages that we call books and journals.  In the online environment, it’s not always easy to tell a book chapter from a conference paper from a journal article, because the packages in which they are contained are becoming abstract concepts rather than tangible things, and in html format, they often look like any other webpage.  I think that secondary sources such as indexes will be the primary discovery tool, although they may not necessarily be the I&A services that we use today.

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