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Gov Docs Librarian Looks Forward to Making Impact on Nicholls, Community

Like many librarians, Jessica Hawkes didn’t dream of shelving books as a little girl, but once she experienced the actual librarian job, she knew she had found where she wanted to be.

“On a whim, I applied for a staff position at a library,” she said. “I got it, loved it, and I changed my major from literature to library science. So you could say I stumbled into librarianship.

“I like working with college students. The interaction is rewarding to see how interested they are in the research process itself.”

Hawkes has recently joined the Ellender Memorial Library as the Government Information Librarian. She comes to Nicholls with experience at Louisiana Tech and Louisiana State University – Shreveport. Library Director Brandy Burbante said Hawkes has experience with grant writing, outreach, and instruction.

“She has the huge task of reorganizing the government Information department, which has been closed since last summer because of renovations,” Burbante said. “She’s already volunteered to join the new strategic plan committee and is heavily involved with affordable learning and Open Education efforts. Jessica’s going to be an asset to the library and to Nicholls, and I am thrilled to have her.”

Government information isn’t new for Hawkes, as she previously worked with the government docs librarian at Louisiana Tech when she was there as a staff member.

“I’m an advocate for making information freely available and accessible for people,” she said. “It is important for all of these government publications to be accessible to the public so they can be better informed on what happened in the past, and what is happening now as well. It helps increase people’s knowledge base, and decreases misinformation.”

While her department is currently boxed up from renovations, Hawkes said she was not afraid of the work ahead. Rather, she is looking forward to the opportunity to rebuild the department from scratch with her vision. She also said she is looking forward to using her background in library outreach to make the community more aware of what Nicholls can offer.

“I want to make sure our collection is reflecting the needs of the community and campus,” she said. “But also I want to create a space welcoming for students to visit, study, and just a nice get away to focus on their studies, whether using the collection or not.”

When not at work, Hawkes likes to spend time gaming, crafting and hanging out with her cat, Juno. She said because of those interests, she is excited to come to a library with a board game and tabletop rpg collection.

“Juno is a tortoise shell, and she is my little companion right now,” Hawkes said. “She is still getting used to the new environment, so I had to buy one of those pet cameras, so during the day I can check in and talk at her.”

Hawkes said she is excited to bring her experience to Nicholls and looks forward to “digging her heels in.”

“I’ve loved it at Nicholls so far,” she said. “Everyone has been really great, welcoming, and always willing to help out and answering the questions I’ve had. The culture here is very collaborative, and I enjoy that.”

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