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Public Services Supervisor Lorene Duffy Shares Her Love of Working at Drescher

portrait of Lorene Duffy

This month's featured staff member, Lorene Duffy, started her library work first as a part-time public service assistant and then as a reference assistant at the Wood County District Public Library in Bowling Green, Ohio. It was there she discovered her love for working in libraries. She began her role as public services supervisor at Drescher Graduate Campus Library in August 2022. As luck would have it, the position opened up not long after her husband, Chad Duffy, accepted a faculty position at Seaver College. The fact that both were hired from outside the state confirmed that the move from Ohio to California was not only feasible, but was, in Lorene's own words, "meant to be." I took the campus shuttle up to Drescher to find out from Lorene more about her work for Pepperdine Libraries.

Jeffrey Bowen: How fortunate that you and your husband both found jobs at Pepperdine. What's it like being a faculty/staff couple here?

Lorene Duffy: "Fortunate" is the perfect word to describe our journey to Pepperdine. Being a faculty/staff couple is beneficial and rewarding for us both. My husband teaches English in the Humanities and Teacher Education Division and also directs the Social Action and Justice Colloquium, which means I frequently attend university events that otherwise might not be on my radar. On the flip side, because of my position, Chad quickly became acquainted with our librarians. He frequently brings Elizabeth Parang and Lauren Haberstock into the classroom to show his students how to take advantage of Pepperdine Libraries' amazing resources and services.

JB: What's the best part about working at Pepperdine? 

LD: 100%, it's the people. My colleagues are so kind and approachable, constantly offering their help and expertise when needed. Our student staff members bring me so much joy as I get to work with them each day. And our patrons, most of whom are graduate students, are just the best. They have such diverse interests and backstories, and I especially love hearing their reasons for choosing Pepperdine for their studies. The people here are my community and I look forward to seeing them each day.

JB: What does your typical day look like at Drescher? 

LD: My typical day begins by opening the library at 8 AM. I keep track of patron statistics, I run the circulation desk during our daytime hours, and I work closely with the Drescher Graduate Campus librarian, Erik Helton, on larger projects. Two days a week, I help interlibrary loan supervisor Melissa Pichette with processing borrowing and lending requests. It's a task I thoroughly enjoy because it gives me an inside look at what our students and faculty are currently researching. Additionally, I interview, hire, train, and supervise our student workers.

JB: For those who don't tend to venture outside of lower campus, what are some reasons to visit the Drescher Graduate Campus Library?

LD: I would highly recommend it to anyone from lower campus who is looking for a quiet library experience. We have ten cozy study rooms and an open area with tables, computers, and gorgeous ocean views. For those looking to book a study room, I'd suggest booking early since those usually fill up by mid-day. One of the most unique parts of the Drescher Library is our iLab Studio, a podcasting and video-recording space that's fully equipped with everything you'd need to create a podcast or video project. It's a wonderful resource for those interested in creating their own original content. The studio is part of our iLab, which is similar to Payson's Genesis Lab. We have a 3D printer, a VR headset for students to use, and a few computers with data visualization software. These resources are free for current students, faculty, and staff members to use, and our makerspace specialist, Rankin Bullard, is always happy to help folks who visit.

JB: What's an accomplishment you're proud of?

LD:  Last year, I organized a summer reading program for the children of Pepperdine's faculty and staff, many of whom live up here at Drescher. Kids kept track of their reading by filling out an entry form each time they finished reading a book. The more they read, the more chances they had to win one of our raffle prizes at the end of summer. It lasted the entirety of August, and I enjoyed building a community of younger patrons. The kids found the activity exciting, the parents were happy, and I loved seeing the kids collect their prizes at the end. I plan to do more family-friendly events like this.

JB: Thanks for chatting with me, Lorene. One more question before I head back to lower campus. What's the most interesting thing you've witnessed at Drescher? 

LD: I was working at the circulation desk, when a student approached me and told me there was a large tarantula under his study table. It was a frightening sight to behold. Thankfully, Erik isn't easily rattled by things like this, and he very calmly caught the tarantula and rehomed it for us. This has only happened one time, so please don't let it deter you from visiting us at Drescher!