Librarians perform a multifaceted role within a university. It includes not only also providing access to information, whether by individual or group, but selecting and purchasing resources, digitizing collections, and organizing information. In all of these areas, librarians impart knowledge and skills to students and faculty members.
5 Qs: Meet Tracy Ralston
Who is Tracy Ralston?
Tracy Ralston discovered her love of libraries at a very young age. When she was a little kid her grandfather would bring her to the library once a week, which helped instill her love of reading, but it was not until she was in college and was placed into the library department for work study that she decided that she wanted to pursue this career path.
One of the things that sets Tracy apart from other Post associates is the length of time that she’s been here—Tracy has been with Post for thirty years! When she first started she was an assistant in the library, but over those thirty years she worked all the way up to her current position as Library Director.
When she’s not in the library, Tracy enjoys reading, watching television, spending time outdoors, and going for bike rides. Tracy also enjoys music, she used to play the accordion but later moved on to the guitar. She also married and has two cats, Tiger and Cleo.
What does the Library Director do?
Tracy has a variety of responsibilities in her role as Library Director. She describes it as “a little bit of everything,” ranging from supervising work study students to working on the budget for the library.
Tracy has also taught classes here at Post. She taught “First Year Foundations” and has spent time mentoring students and library staff who have gone on to earn their Master’s degrees. She also serves on many of the university’s committees, such as the faculty library committee, the sexual misconduct committee, the orientation committee, and the graduation committee.
How has the library changed over the past thirty years?
The library has had to adapt to many changes over the years, especially the dawn of the internet and the introduction of Post’s online degree program. The library has increased its online presence to allow for online students to access any materials that they might need, without having to enter the physical library.
“When I first got here it was two levels, and downstairs was all books. We only had two databases, now we have 43 databases. We went from about 150,000 print books to 13,000, but we fill the gap with electronic materials. Currently we have 160,000 eBooks that we can access. We make sure that for both of our students, main campus and ADP students, we make sure that we have a very robust electronic library. About 90% of our library is electronic.” All online resources are available on Blackboard under the Library tab.
Even though there are so many resources available online, it doesn’t stop people from going to the library, “right now it’s very quiet, but once campus comes back, every seat is going to be filled and I love that.”
How has Post University changed over the past thirty years?
“It’s become a lot more global. When I first started it was a four-year college. Back then, we didn’t have a lot of sports teams. We have a lot more international students, international student athletes in particular. It’s really changed globally. When I first started it was more of a local or regional college, now it’s everywhere.”
During Tracy’s time here Post began to offer the option of earning a degree online and also started offering Master’s degrees.
What’s your favorite part about Post?
“I like that it’s a relatively small campus, it’s nice because there’s a lot of collaboration between departments because we’re a smaller staff than, for instance, a large brick and mortar university, we all get to know each other and work together.”
Tracy also loves the campus itself, and she is very excited for the new landscaping that is taking place this summer. “This campus has always been beautiful, but even more so now, and I’ve seen what they’re going to be doing outside, the landscaping is just phenomenal, and I think a lot of students like that when they come on campus and they see that.”