Sheila Campbell, Columbus Zoo Librarian

This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions

by Dawn Thompson, former Head Editor, INALJ Ohio

Sheila Campbell, Columbus Zoo Librarian

Sheila1. How did you find your job as the librarian at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium?

Oddly enough, in the want ads in the local newspaper!!  Nowadays this would probably not happen because the zoo posts job openings on the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium website and we might also place it in the job listings at the Ohio Library Council (OLC) or Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA) websites.
2. Tell us a little bit more about what a zoo librarian does.
The primary purpose of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Library  is to meet the information and research needs of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds employees and docents and to promote the exchange of scientific information.  This library also serves as a resource center for teachers of central Ohio, offering loan kits and curriculum guides, and providing consulting services in environmental education.  While not open to the public, the Library does provide phone, e-mail and mail reference service.
3. Favorite library you have been to?
I love libraries.  But Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh holds a special place in my heart.  I grew up in that area and often drove down to the library to browse the shelves and visit the natural history museum next door.
4. What is your favorite book? 
 At the moment it is Bug Music:  How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise by David Rothenberg.  David Rothenberg is a professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, with a special interest in animal sounds as music. He examines the rhythm and noise of insects and their influence on human music.  I am also reading “Wild Ones:  A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America by Jon Mooallem.  Next week it will be something different, I’m sure! But science/nature authors are some of the best writers on the planet.
5. Any interesting, unique, or odd items in the zoo’s library? 
Not only do we have the usual books, DVDs, etc., but I also curate a biofact collection that includes animal pelts, skulls, skeletons, snake sheds, bird eggs, feathers, etc.  We also have a prop collection that includes puppets, display boards, games, etc.
6. Any websites/feeds/ or blogs we should be following?
Some websites:
  • calls itself  “the ultimate multimedia guide to the world’s endangered species.”   It is a great place for  species videos, photos, audio files, facts & education resources.
  • You Tube:  Search “Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.”  I love to go there to see videos of our animals and hear our staff talk about things like brushing the rhino’s teeth.
Favorite Blog:

7. Best piece of job hunting advice?  

dawnthompsonBe flexible; be sure that your internet profile is professional so that potential employers don’t find anything embarrassing about you;  be prepared for a job interview and dress and act professionally—first impressions mean everything.

Sheila Campbell is a Library/Media Specialist at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium in Powell, OH. Her bio is below.

I have been the Library/Media Specialist at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium since January 1, 1997, when I was hired to develop & maintain a library and to set up an on-line catalog of items owned by the Columbus Zoo.  With a B.A. in English Literature and 15 years of public library experience, this sounded like a great adventure and it has been.  I enjoy connecting our zookeepers, administrative staff, docents, volunteers, researchers, students, and the general public to information about the natural world.  As a solo librarian, I am responsible for all aspects of zoo librarianship.  While the Zoo Library is only open to the public by appointment,  we do provide reference services to all, via e-mail, snail mail, or phone.  Zoo libraries are a great resource for information about wildlife, habitats, endangered species and conservation!

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