Librarian Making Her
Contribution to Women's Studies
Nancy Lewis has been a Social Sciences and Humanities Reference Librarian at Fogler since 1989, but she was no stranger to the University of Maine before that. Lewis earned her undergraduate degree from UMaine and today she works in conjunction with several of the professors that she learned from in her twenties. However, when Lewis graduated in 1983 there was no such thing as "Women's Studies," and there was certainly no "Department of Women's Studies". Now Lewis is an adjunct faculty member for UMaine's Women's Studies Department and devotes a part of her job at Fogler Library to maintaining Fogler's Bibliography of Women's Studies materials.
"Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary subject," Lewis says. That is why the Women's Studies Bibliography is divided into 14 subjects ranging from feminist theory to economic development to anthropology. The criteria for works that are included in the Bibliography is that they must be somehow pertinent to the field of Women's Studies. Some of the works are authored by members of significant feminist circles, while others cover women's history or represent a women's perspective on a subject. The topic is far-reaching, and Lewis says she can see up to 50 books a month for consideration into the Bibliography.
"I've heard from people at Colby and Bates who say they use the Bibliography, and the Women's Studies Department also e-mails it to their own list of students and faculty. It's hard to keep up to date on publications, so this is a resource and I'm glad to help." Lewis said. Ann
Schonberger, Director of the Women's Studies Program and Women in the Curriculum here at the University of Maine also uses the Bibliography, "Busy as I am, I always take time to read the list Nancy sends out every month. I then often note books I want to tell other faculty or students about." Schonberger said.
The field of Women's Studies was first introduced to Lewis in the early 1980's when she worked in Washington D.C. as a legislative assistant with Congress. She dealt primarily with women's issues and brought her interest to UMaine when she returned. Today Lewis teaches Women's Studies 101 through the Women's Studies Department. She also teaches library instruction sessions for many disciplines, and rotates the teaching of LBR 200 (Information Literacy) with two other librarians. This spring, LBR 200 has seen the highest enrollment in its history, because it has recently been adopted by the Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program as a class that satisfies their "quantitative skills" requirement. In this class, Lewis teaches students how to develop in-depth knowledge of library services and resources, as well as skills for implementing their own research strategies.
Although Lewis said she enjoys teaching all classes, her main interest is the field of Women's Studies. She said that it would be nice to see the Department of Women's Studies keep growing and become even more respected. As of now, almost all the faculty in the department are like her and straddle multiple worlds. She admits that the overlap can be difficult to balance, but also says it affords her great opportunities. "I love to teach, it's one of my favorite things to do." Lewis said of her classes.
Lewis seems to be balancing just fine. In addition to teaching and maintaining the Bibliography, she also serves on the Maryanne Hartman Awards Committee, she puts together the Web resources page on music for the Women's Studies section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, and she compiles the page of U.S. government web sites on women for the Government Printing Office's Browse Topics web site.
Ann Schonberger has great appreciation for Lewis' work on the Women's Studies Bibliography and had the following to say; "Because of her (Lewis') knowledge and resourcefulness, we have a noteworthy collection of materials on women's issues here at UMaine. The collection strengthens the work of not only the faculty and students in Women's Studies courses, but all those working in departmental courses and on research areas where women's contributions and perspectives are important."
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