About Me

My name is Jessica Harris and I am the Digital Services Librarian at the University of Texas at Brownsville. I've been working professionally as a librarian for close to 4 years, but have been in libraries for more than ten. I have been fortunate to have worked with a number of amazing managers, librarians, and staff along the way, and each of them has had a positive influence on my life and career.

I am excited for the future of libraries and the positive affects that technology has had - and will continue to have - on the communities that libraries serve. My interests lie most heavily in academic libraries, the management of electronic resources, educational technology, information literacy, innovation in libraries, social media & marketing.

I am passionate about what I do and am always learning. While I unwaveringly believe in the need for brick-and-mortar colleges, universities, and libraries, I also love the idea of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the possibility that anyone - with nothing but access to a library's resources and their own determination - can take steps towards educating themselves and creating a better future.


Projects I've completed

  • Implemented an open source Electronic Resource Management System (ERMS), which allowed me to gather all e-resource information - including cost history, URLs, and administrative information - from various spreadsheets and paper files into one database.
  • Wrote descriptions for each database available to our patrons and added them to each database's title in our Databases A-Z & Subject List web pages.
  • Implemented a free text message service for our library.
  • Transitioned all library statistics to an electronic-only format and trained staff on how to log statistics.
  • Created procedures for gathering usage statistics from e-resources, using COUNTER-compliant statistics, when available.
  • Led and successfully marketed the implementation of a user perceptions survey on library services to university students, faculty, and staff, which garnered over 900 responses.
  • Created library's Facebook & Twitter accounts and manage all social media content
  • Implemented LibAnswers, our library's new FAQ base, text, chat, and email service. Worked with colleagues to create LibAnswers policies, and trained library staff on new procedures.
  • Launched redesigned website on November 15th, 2013. See the website before and after.


Projects I'm working on

While my day-to-day job is managing our 200+ databases and our relationships with consortia and vendors (as well as the library's website and OPAC), I have been able to streamline this process to make it run much more efficiently. This has freed up my time to volunteer for additional projects that will benefit our patrons. Some of the my current projects include:

  • Implementation of LibGuides, including guide branding/formatting, staff training & guide creation:
  • Creating a cost-per-use analysis of our library's electronic resources.
  • I have recently worked with our University Librarian to purchase several tablet devices for our library and am now in the process of creating step-by-step tutorials on how to download our e-book collections to each of these devices. Once finished, I will be holding workshops for library staff to become associated with these steps. Eventually, I will be working with my colleagues in Public Services to create policies for the circulation of these tablets.
  • I am also in the process of giving our library's OPAC a much needed makeover and will be flipping the switch soon: Before and After.


Future projects

  • I've made several training videos for our staff in the past, and I would like to begin working with our Instruction Librarian to create videos for our students and faculty. A few that I know would be particularly in demand are using RefWorks, downloading e-books, finding resources via databases, the Internet, and our library catalog, and evaluating resources.
  • One of the most popular suggestions in our user perceptions survey was the ability for students to reserve study rooms. I would like to adopt Ball State University Libraries' open source room reservation system (OpenRoom) and connect it to our LDAP server so that our students and faculty can reserve study rooms by logging in with their university ID and password.
  • I would love to begin working on a staff training/23 things program for our library to get all of our staff up to speed with the most popular and useful online services & social networks. This program was originally created by the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to enhance staff skills on new technology. It has since been adopted by countless libraries worldwide. I would like to create a similar program geared towards the technologies that would empower our staff and enable them to better assist our user base.