Bigger, Better, More
Lavery Library, St. John Fisher Collge, Rochester, NY
MLS, University of Maryland at College Park, 1985
Photo ©Sean McGinty Photography LLC
The U.S. unemployment rate may be high, but Melissa Jadlos has been hiring. St. John Fisher College’s Lavery Library is a busy place, with some 73,000 people on average visiting during the fall semester alone. When Jadlos became its director in 2006, there were three staff vacancies. “I started hiring on day one,” she says.
Today, 40 percent of the entire library staff is new, and 70 percent of the librarians are. “Putting together the staff here at Fisher has stretched my abilities in a good way,” Jadlos says. “I have had to use creativity, negotiation, organization, and political acumen to make some of the changes in position descriptions, organizational structure, and campus relationships.”
The staff expansion has paralleled library updates. From lockers for commuter students to innovative resource-sharing partnerships with other libraries, “she’s transformed the library in small and big ways,” says Kathleen M. Miller, executive director of the Rochester Regional Library Council, of which Jadlos recently served as vice chair. Jadlos also bought a new ILS, arranged direct ordering through Amazon to take advantage of its two-day turnaround, and contracted with Better World Books. She restructured the library budget, bringing together print and electronic resources, and thus eliminated duplication and expanded the collection of journals and databases from 9000 titles and 31 databases to 50,000 titles and 120 databases—all without a budget increase. Jadlos has raised the library’s campus profile by encouraging the staff to vote in the college faculty assembly, and she has become a crucial contributor on campus committees devoted to copyright, online education, strategic planning, and more.
She’s also reached out beyond the quad. In 2011, she secured a $200,000 grant from the Ferris Booth Foundation to construct a Learning Commons at Lavery. The 3000 square foot space will be a one-stop shop for learning, writing, research, pedagogy, and technology support located on the library’s main floor.
“The library is now a competitive voice and a source of expertise and independent funding and a decision-making partner on campus,” says David Pate, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at St. John Fisher.