If you take a one-minute walk in the right direction from the Carrier Dome, you’ll end up at the entrance to SUNY ESF’s Moon Library.

The cozy, two-story building is located along the ESF quad. It offers its students and faculty access to study spaces, information resources, technologies, special collections and archives.

The library’s services are fun and interactive, and in many cases, emphasize environmentally friendly practices. For instance, the library lends bikes and has facilitated coloring sessions to recognize Squirrel Appreciation Day. Students go nuts over this whimsical program, where you can ‘thank’ a squirrel for planting acorns for the world’s forests.  

In celebration of National Library Week, I examined Moon Library from multiple perspectives— the library director’s, a former ESF student’s, and an LIS student intern’s— so that I could share exactly how Moon Library supports student success and scholarship.

Moon Library Leadership

Moon Library director, Matthew Smith, has been in his position for about ten months now. He stands firm in his belief that the people who work in the library are the most important ingredient in its smooth operation. Its staff includes library technicians, clerks, a secretary, and four librarians (a few of which are Syracuse grads!)

In my conversation with Matthew about his role as director, he shared that he does not have a ‘typical day;’ every day is different. He usually arrives to work, checks emails, and works a shift at the reference desk in the library twice a week to get to know students and professors.

But it’s not just the people visiting the library that he wants to befriend. According to Matt, he “knocks on doors and buys people coffee” to establish solid working relationships, and get the word out there about what the library is doing for the greater ESF campus.

Matt Smith’s Tip for LIS Students and Graduates

When I asked Matt what advice he would offer to a soon-to-be library school graduate, he offered great tips. Matt urged early professionals to get a breadth of experience so that they can truly understand what a library does.

“It can be problematic when librarians devote themselves to one aspect of librarianship, for example, cataloging of materials, and then say ‘that’s not a part of my job’ when different tasks need to be completed,” Matt shared.

He also asserted that even those obscure experiences help you learn about library services. For example, Matt once helped re-carpet a library!

Moon is affectionately known as ESF’s “living room,” and a place where friendly people flock.

The Student Experience with Adrienne Canino ESF ’14, G’18

According to Adrienne Canino, a 2014 grad of ESF’s M.S. in Environmental Studies program and soon to be alumna of the Library and Information Science (LIS) program at SU, Moon is affectionately known as ESF’s “living room,” and a place where friendly people flock.

Adrienne shared, “That’s where I got my ‘shoes off in the library’ habit, for sure. You can ask anyone to watch your laptop while you run to the restroom. But they do more fun things than people know: coloring pages for Squirrel Appreciation day, displays about current topics or particularly cool things from their archives. I used to work in the writing center of the library every day.

“As a grad assistant, I was coordinator of the center. It was always medium-busy just for the computer banks, tables to work at, and as a meeting place for students to catch their friends.There are vending machines in the basement. They recently used a donation to build a ‘Quiet Room.’ I think it was a space the campus needed, since the main area of Moon is conducive to talking and teamwork.”

Fun Facts about Moon Library

  • They have a bike share program in place, so ‘checking out bikes’ is a possibility!
  • There is a U.S. Forestry Service station in the basement, where a team works on improving forestry software programs. It also serves the Ranger School remotely, though they have a ‘library’ up there, too.
  • They also have an amazing collection of paper for their paper engineering program. Amazingly intricate watermarks, beautiful colors and grain, lots of places around the world represented. Librarian Jane Verostek takes those samples into paper classes regularly to allow students to see them and learn from them.

The LIS Internship Experience with Hyun Seung G’18

Last but not least, I interviewed LIS student Hyun Seung about her internship experience at Moon Library last summer:

“The project that I work on was digitizing the Fletcher Steele collection. Fletcher Steele was a landscape architect who had significant influence in the field. He was born in Rochester, NY and designed more than 700 gardens mainly in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Connecticut area. His collection was donated to ESF by The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). You can learn more about the collection here.

“My main responsibility was to create metadata for each of his drawing plans to be uploaded to the New York Heritage Digital Collections. I scanned Steele’s architectural drawings and recorded the metadata of each drawing in a Google spreadsheet, shared with the Central New York Library Resources Council (CLRC). CLRC helps the Moon Special Collections and Archives with uploading the materials to the New York Heritage Digital Collections.

“Ryan Perry, Digital Collections Librarian at CLRC and project coordinator of New York Heritage Digital Collections (Editor’s Note: Ryan is also a 2015 graduate of the iSchool’s LIS program), visited the archive. He showed my internship supervisor, Jane Verostek, and I the process of how to upload. It was interesting to see how to use CONTENTdm to upload the metadata.

“Also, I had a strong sense that the community had a deep love for the archive. Jane, was very passionate about the archive and the collection. It was her enthusiasm that motivated me to work harder on the project.

“There were volunteers who would spend their spare time to help in the archives, too. The son and daughter of Fletcher Steele visited for a week to research their father’s work. Jane even had a chance to talk with the person who lived in the actual Steele house. She had the place listed on sale online at the time.

“Furthermore, archives provide endless opportunities. And there are a lot of interesting collections to sort through. So if any LIS students show interest, Moon Library offers a perfect place to volunteer or intern!”