Noella Merchant – Class of 2019 Communication / Theatre (double major)
Library Specialist II at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota
What you do:
As a Library Specialist, I work in the Mayo Clinic Libraries in Rochester, Minnesota. In my unique position, I spend my mornings and afternoons in different departments within the library. The three main areas that I work in are Technical Services, Access Services, and Archives, but I also work in specialized areas within each of those departments as well.
Currently, I spend some time each week working at the circulation desk in one of our many libraries assisting patrons, whether it is doctors, nurses, or medical students. I’m also working on several projects, including sorting and archiving old photo negatives of physicians from the 1930s, ensuring that serial holding records are up to date for Technical Services, and compiling and reviewing feedback from Heritage Days (a week-long celebration of Mayo Clinic’s history held every autumn).
My days are usually pretty busy, but I love the variety! It is a fantastic way to get experience throughout the wide variety of areas that all contribute to ensuring that libraries run smoothly and that patrons have what they need.
I plan to begin working towards a master’s in library and information science (MLIS) next fall, with the career goal to become a full librarian. I have the fantastic opportunity in my current position to discover what sort of library specialties I love (since I’m working in so many areas), which will help me to narrow down my area of emphasis once I’m in the MLIS program. I’m not sure if I’ll stay specifically in medical libraries for the rest of my career, but I’m looking forward to wherever God leads me.
What inspires you:
I have worked in libraries since I was 16 years old, first at the North Mankato Taylor Library for several years, and then at Memorial Library during my time at Bethany. However, I never considered working in libraries as a career until my Junior year at BLC, when I realized that it encompassed several things that I’m passionate about — helping people and connecting them to the resources they need, and research and education.
How you want to make a difference:
While it’s wonderful to have found a field that I love to work in, I also believe that it’s important to give back to the community. I’m currently working on finding some long-term volunteer opportunities that I can commit to in Rochester, and I’m hoping to get involved with the humane society/animal shelters.
I also love being able to brighten the days of the patients that I see on Mayo’s campus. Taking the time to smile, say hello, and ask how someone is doing may seem like such a small thing, but it’s given me the opportunity to interact with some incredible people that I might have otherwise just passed by.
How Bethany has prepared you:
One of the best parts of my time at Bethany was the faculty. Having professors who would push me to do my best while also giving me the freedom to explore topics that I loved gave me confidence in myself that I never had before college.
Prof. Angie Johnson is one of my favorite people in the world. Her guidance both as a professor and as my boss in the Ada Stokes Writing Center were invaluable to me, and her willingness to be honest with me and also willing to lend an ear will be forever appreciated.
Prof. Jon Loging was an amazing coach during my time on the Speech Team (and also a great Academic Adviser), and he always pushed me to give 100%. His “Debate Rules” were fantastic advice not only for parliamentary debate, but also for the “real world”, and he helped me see my potential in speech and in life.
Dr. Steve Reagles gave me the tools to always think critically, and his support, encouragement, and wisdom regarding research and rhetoric are things that I recall frequently.
Dr. Brian Klebig’s classes dug into communication topics in a way that other classes I took didn’t, and his flexibility with assignment topics (and his excitement for research and learning) made my senior year a wonderful experience. I also had the incredible opportunity to work on a research project with him, which I never even imagined getting to do as an undergrad.
The liberal arts education at BLC is phenomenal in crafting a basis for life-long learning, and I got something out of every course I took, whether it was for one of my majors or for my general education requirements.
What you remember most about Bethany:
The Speech Team was a fundamental part of my time at BLC. I made some of my closest friends on the team, people who I probably never would have gotten to know if it hadn’t been for all the debate practices and long drives to far away tournaments.
I’ll also always remember doing homework late at night in The Lab, laughing with coworkers in the Writing Center, and enjoying being a backstage part of the theatre productions. There are little moments that I will forever treasure.
Advice for current students:
Relish your time at BLC and take in as much as you can, but don’t try to do everything. With that, here are some little things that are important for making the most of this time in your life:
Take time to sit on the green when the weather is nice, go to chapel, get sleep (Please!), and treasure living so close to your friends for these short years. Ask your professors for help even if you’re nervous, find a secret place on campus where you can hide away if you need a quiet moment, and go to a Student Senate meeting or two to voice your opinion. Try new things, and be bold with your beliefs.
These years really fly by, so also take the time to just sit and take it all in.