Webster librarian takes experience statewide


Jodie Borgerding’s passion for libraries came from watching her mother.

Borgerding’s mother, Kathleen, worked at Scenic Regional Library in Union, Mo. as a circulation assistant when Borgerding was around 14 years old.  The process of watching how the library worked stuck with her.

“I saw that it was more than just checking out books,” Borgerding said.

That passion led to around 11 years of working in libraries, most recently as an Instruction and Liaison Librarian at Webster University’s Emerson Library.

Borgerding will assume the role as President of the Missouri Library Association (MLA) on Jan. 1, 2016.  Borgerding has been a member of the MLA since 2007.

“It was a natural fit that I would want to get involved in the association for my profession on the state level,” Borgerding said.

The MLA is a nonprofit educational organization that promotes library service and the profession of librarianship in the State of Missouri.  The MLA represents both public and academic libraries.  The MLA is a chapter of the American Library Association (ALA), which works across the United States.

Borgerding received her Master of Arts in Information Science and Learning Technologies – Library Science from the University of Missouri – Columbia.  Majoring in library sciences wasn’t her first instinct.

“Through high school, I had thought about going into journalism or even into culinary school,” Borgerding said.  “I think when I started college, I was initially a social work major.

Borgerding was a Member-at-Large for the MLA in 2010 and 2014.  Borgerding would have been president-elect starting Jan. 1, 2016 if elections had gone on as normal.

“My situation was a little more unique,” Borgerding said.

The previous president-elect had stepped down near the end of July 2015 for work-related reasons.  Borgerding was asked to run for the position against one other member of the board.

She was appointed to the president-elect position.  Borgerding will serve out a one-year term over the course of five months.

“Since I’ve been involved with the association for so long, I don’t feel overwhelmed,” Borgerding said.

She will juggle MLA presidential duties starting in 2016 as well as continuing her position at Webster University.

Current MLA President Christina Prucha, who also serves as curator and archivist at Logan University, believes Borgerding’s adaptation to the position will be easy.

“She brings a lot of history,” Prucha said.  “She knows the organization quite well.  She knows the structure of the organization.  She knows the people of the organization.”
Prucha believes Borgerding’s ideas will give her an edge in the position.

“Lately, she’s been talking a lot about education for librarians about what we in the Missouri Library Association can do,” Prucha said.  “I’m really excited for that.”

Prucha said Borgerding’s personality plays a big factor into how she will run things as president.

“Her experience and energy are going to be immensely helpful to the organization,” Prucha said.

Borgerding plans, out of many things, to promote advocacy for libraries with the MLA at the Missouri State Capitol.

“I’m trying to get librarians to be more involved with being an advocate for their libraries,” Borgerding said.

Dean of University Libraries Laura Rein says advocacy brings attention to the various libraries the MLA represents, especially those in economic need.

“A lot of those libraries have very small budgets, so they need more legislative support,” Rein said.

Rein calls librarians a “special kind of breed.”

“It’s such a great profession in that you feel like you’re really transforming people’s lives by giving them skills to find and use information effectively,” Rein said.  “People become lifelong learners.”

Rein said librarians want to promote a well-informed and critically thinking society.

“It’s not hard to be passionate,” Rein said.  “Jodie is just a very upbeat and enthusiastic person, especially in the field of librarianship.”

Rein said Borgerding’s expertise in social media has been a positive force in Emerson Library.  Borgerding oversees Emerson Library’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

“That’s how our traditional age students communicate,” Rein said.  “We reach more students that way.”

Borgerding also oversees the library’s web page development.  She is currently working on her Masters in Communication at Webster.

“Truthfully, 80 percent of our students do not come to this library because they don’t live in St. Louis,” Rein said.  “We have to make sure our website is very robust and she’s helping us do that.”

Borgerding said libraries have changed and learning to adapt  is necessary for community growth.

“Libraries are no longer the warehouse of books and librarians are no longer the gatekeepers of books,” Borgerding said.  “They are now community information centers.”

Borgerding has a friend who is the branch manager at the L. H. Bluford Library in a poverty-stricken area in Kansas City, Mo.  That library began to offer health screenings for the many citizens that could not afford going to the doctor.

“Who would’ve thought the library is where you go to get those services?” Borgerding said.  “That library is meeting the needs of the community.”

Borgerding believes Webster University’s needs are easy access to resources by electronic means.

“We do everything we can to provide for the 80 percent that can’t come here,” Borgerding said.  “We have been incorporating more e-books and have been exploring streaming video options.”

Borgerding says the upcoming presidential position will offer her leadership skills and networking opportunities across Missouri.

“Sometimes, we just sit here in our libraries and it’s difficult to connect,” Borgerding said.  “Being in the association has helped me connect with so many librarians.”

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