April 23, 2018

Susan Pinkerton | Movers & Shakers 2006

Aiding the Aides


When Susan Pinkerton took a library technology degree course at the Doña Ana Branch Community College, she realized there were too few local students to fill the classes, yet the classes were too far away for library assistants across rural New Mexico who wanted to take them. So in 2000, she took over the program and put it entirely online.

‘I drew on my marketing background and did everything I could to recruit students,’ she says. She looked not only in New Mexico but nationwide. Since then, enrollment has tripled.

As important as the number of classes is their composition: 41 percent of the students are of Hispanic descent. Colleague Karen Stabler says that with New Mexico’s large, Spanish-speaking population, ‘It’s very important to train students with this ethnic background to better serve the citizens in the many rural communities.’ A large number of the students are the first in their families to attend college.

Since Pinkerton herself is writing a doctoral dissertation while holding down a full-time job, she understands her working students’ time constraints. She encourages them to do ‘real-world projects so that what [the students] spend time on is actually useful to them,’ she says. ‘I’ve had them write technology plans or create marketing materials that are actually implemented.’

Pinkerton knows her graduates are prepared and eager for more professional responsibilities. She hopes MLS librarians will come to regard students like hers as capable, full partners in library service.



Current Position Assistant Professor, Library Science, Doña Ana Branch Community College, Las Cruces, NM
Degrees Ph.D., Educational Management and Development, New Mexico State University, expected 2006; Associate, Applied Science, Library Technology, New Mexico State University, 1998
Fun Fact Takes a noncredit ‘fun’ community education class every semester