A Q&A with Megan Wagner, our new Government Documents Librarian!
Pollak Library Work
In what section or unit of the Pollak Library do you work?
I work in the library’s Collection & Processing Services unit.
What is your job in a nutshell so far?
The Pollak Library is a selective Federal Depository Library responsible for providing free and open access to government information for University students, faculty and the general public. This system was established by the U.S. government to help ensure an informed citizenry within a democratic society. As the Government Documents librarian, I am responsible for managing the Federal Depository collection, including processing all print documents received by the Government Publishing Office and ensuring new electronic documents are downloaded and available in our catalog. I am also part of the library’s reference and instruction team, which assists students at the reference desk, with research appointments, and with course-specific library instruction sessions.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, there is a substantial weeding project underway within the government documents collection. After the launch of President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, an enormous amount of government information is now accessible online. This redundancy is now creating the opportunity for depository libraries to weed their print collections when a secure online form exists, freeing up library areas to become modern student spaces for studying and collaboration. I am also taking the opportunity to train with the library’s current government documents librarians, Marilyn Slagle and Ruth Dye, who will be retiring soon.
Prior Work Experience
Would you like to share a bit about your previous work experience?
Prior to this, I served local Orange County communities at various Anaheim public libraries and the Buena Park Public Library. I especially enjoyed working with children during the summer reading programs and helping with story time. Prior to my library career I was employed at AT&T for ten years, managing a retail store. Highlights from those days would include seeing the launch of the original iPhone, and the significant rise of tablets and e-readers.
What motivated you to become a librarian or to work in libraries?
My aunt is a retired public librarian and instilled in me at a young age their importance in fostering community and promoting lifelong learning. As a graduate student in American Studies, the Cal State Fullerton’s Pollak Library was my home away from home. While conducting research for my Master’s degree, I discovered just how essential librarians are to student success. Countless times the librarian assisting me with research would suggest sources and databases I had never considered, often making the difference between a shallow research paper and genuine academic scholarship consulting various fields of thought. The dedication and passion for public service I’ve seen in the library community continues to inspire and motivate me to this day.
Would you like to share a bit about your educational background?
As a Cal State Fullerton alumni, I am a die-hard TITAN. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and History, and continued on to my Master’s in American Studies at CSUF. I was also fortunate to participate in CSU International Program, studying abroad in Swansea, Wales for an academic year. In graduate school, I participated in the Cal State DC Scholars Program, interning for a non-profit in Washington D.C. in the summer of 2008, prior to President Obama’s election. My experiences at CSUF, in student clubs and in its programs, have absolutely made me the person I am today. Special shout out to the American Studies Student Association and the amazing work done by volunteers in Students ACT!
What are your passions or interests outside of work?
In my spare time, I enjoy following politics, exploring the foodie scene in Orange County, and investigating conspiracy theories with my dad. I have two spoiled cats, both rescues, which demand my attention. I’m an avid reader, and have been told that my passion for Harry Potter series is bordering on obsessive. Currently I am finishing up 11/22/63 by Stephen King, a novel about a time traveler who attempts to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy in order to change the future of America.
What is a website, database, or digital tool that you recently discovered and recommend?
Congress.gov has had some major improvements recently, including email alerts for legislation and members of congress. Over the last few years, the development and enhancement of various government websites has been staggering! I’m also a big fan of FactCheck.org, a non-profit site supporting the need to validate information and fact checking in politics and in the media. During the election season, fact checking is more important than ever to ensure candidates are being honest about their record and truthful about the issues.