November 24, 2017

Sharon Morris | Movers & Shakers 2005

Total Immersion

2005_Sharon_Morris

It’s been an unconventional career path. Sharon Morris has been a children’s librarian, a collection development librarian, a product manager for CARL, and an academic advisor in a graduate library science program. Today she’s coordinator for AskColorado, the 24/7 online reference service recognized as 2004 Project of the Year by the Colorado Association of Libraries.

What connects these disparate jobs is Morris’s belief that “librarianship is a profession filled with learning, fun projects, and meaningful interactions. I choose jobs based on these three criteria.”

AskColorado, jointly sponsored by the Colorado Department of Education and Colorado State Library, was launched in 2003, with over 200 staff members from Colorado libraries sharing responsibilities. It already answers over 2000 questions a month and has produced much favorable comment: “Fantastic use of my taxpayer dollars!”

While she doesn’t claim credit for AskColorado’s launch, which occurred the first month she was on the job, Morris does take credit for using statistics, user comments, sample transactions, meeting presentations, and email updates both to continue librarians’ buy-in for the project and expand support.

Dodie Ownes, an independent information consultant, thinks Morris underrates her contribution: “Keeping a collaborative virtual reference service going requires tenacity and imagination. Imagine trying to get over 50 public, academic, school, and special libraries to agree on an equitable way to divide staff time and expenses on the AskColorado project. This is a major accomplishment.”

Morris says she’s always chosen jobs that allow her to stretch and develop new ideas and talents. “The job assignment that’s the most fun is whichever project I am working on at the time. I get completely immersed.” For her, professionalism is about approaching each task with curiosity and a goal of achieving understanding and expertise. She says, “Being right is overrated. Being curious and open to learning will get you much further.”

Vitals

 

Current position AskColorado Coordinator (www.askcolorado.org), Colorado State Library, Denver

Degree M.A. in Library and Information Management, Emporia State University, KS, 1997

Fun fact Once wrote and produced videos promoting summer reading

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