Staff Spotlight on… Bette Sydelko!

We bring you a very special Staff Spotlight this month – it is both a celebration of the contributions of one of our librarians, and a congratulations on her retirement! Bette Sydelko has served the Wright State University community for a total of 27 years; for 18 years at the Fordham Health Sciences Library and for the past 9 years in Dunbar library. In her most recent position as Medical & Education Librarian she is the subject librarian for the Boonshoft School of Medicine and the College of Education and Human Services. (Did you know we have subject librarians?)

Bette began working as a reference librarian at the Fordham Health Sciences Library in 1991, having just graduated from the University of Illinois School of Library Science. In those early days she was assigned as the subject librarian for the College of Nursing and Health where she taught in the (then) newly created nursing informatics courses. What exciting times those were – moving from print indexes to CD-ROMS on single workstations to networked access, and eventually to internet access. Change was the name of the game as it still is today. Roles evolved at Fordham and Bette eventually became the primary liaison to the Boonshoft School of Medicine. The timing was right for the introduction of a new course in the BSOM, that of Evidence-Based Medicine, and Bette participated from the beginning. Helping medical students learn more about library research has been the most rewarding aspect of Bette’s career. Closing the Fordham Health Sciences Library in 2009 brought more changes. Remembering to drive to Dunbar Library every morning was the first challenge! Liaison work with the BSOM continued and more recently the College of Education and Human Services was added to keep her busy.

If you’ve ever gotten help from our Ask a Librarian service, Bette is one of the many people you can thank for the early years of online library chat in Ohio. When OhioLINK got involved with statewide chat services many years ago, Bette was on its WebRef committee, which first started its own service and then got involved with the public libraries’ 24/7 KnowitNow service. Bette says these statewide services faced major issues: “Imagine chatting online with a student from Bowling Green who asked about research materials from the Browne Popular Culture Library, or a faculty member from UC who wanted to access library resources from home but didn’t know the proper way to authenticate.” We owe a lot of thanks to Bette and her fellow early-adopters for the fast, friendly, local service we enjoy today. Bette considers it a privilege to have helped online reference service, an ever-growing field, get started in Ohio.

Bette has contributed to Wright State and the library profession in a number of other ways, including:

  • Providing RefWorks instruction and administration
  • The University Libraries Assessment Team Member and former Coordinator of Assessment
  • Former Head of Reference at the Fordham Health Sciences Library
  • Contributor to Horizons in Medicine program for high school students from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds
  • Member of the WSU Institutional Review Board
  • Longtime member of the OhioLINK User Services Committee as the medical librarian representative
  • Active participant in professional service as committee member or elected officer at the local, state, regional, and national levels of several health science librarian organizations
  • External member and consultant of the Review Committee for the Library at NEOMED
    Contributed as a selector for Doody’s Core Titles for Health Sciences since its creation 15 years ago

Sue Polanka, Interim University Librarian, says of Bette: “I have always admired her dedication to librarianship and to the success of our students and faculty. I feel very fortunate to have worked with Bette for 14 years of my career.”

Bette’s last day will be February 28, 2019. Please join us in congratulating her and wishing her a happy retirement!

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