Ellen Barrow describes her experience as a librarian of 23 years

Librarians are there for students during their most challenging research or the most simple book reports. Photo Submitted by

With several places to consider and appreciate on campus, the library is one of Georgia State’s many resources that goes above and beyond for students. According to the American Association of School Libraries, “over 21 state studies confirm that school librarians and school libraries support students in academic achievement.”

Though not a nationally recognized holiday, National Library Workers Day is on April 6. This day’s purpose is to appreciate and observe all of the work librarians do for schools and students.

One librarian who is passionate about her job and strives for better education is Ellen Barrow. Barrow served 23 years as an assistant professor and librarian at Georgia State’s Clarkston Campus. Reading is one of her favorite pastimes, and she shows her love for learning through her work at the library.

“Growing up, I was the kid that went to the library at least once a week,” Barrow said. “I like the idea of helping people find information that they need that way they can start their research journey and make discoveries along the way.” 

No matter the campus, Georgia State is well known for its commitment to diversity. This commitment is something that Barrow doesn’t take for granted when she supports her students at her campus.

“The diversity of people and programs makes this the place to learn about the world and make some really great connections in the process,” Barrow said. “There are some great educational opportunities and events happening at this institution, and I like being a part of that energy.”

As COVID-19 continues to redefine “normal,” a typical day for a librarian might look slightly different from pre-COVID operations.  With its library staff’s help, Georgia State can provide students with information and assistance for all students’ library needs.

“I teach classes on library resources and how to use them, work on committees, write instruction guidelines for classes and meet with colleagues on library projects,” Barrow said. “All of these tasks ensure students have the information tools they need to complete their research and assignments.”

Like any job, running into difficult situations will always happen, and being a librarian is no simple task. Librarians must work patiently yet diligently to stay updated with the new content and information.

“The challenges for academic librarians are keeping current on the latest technologies, such as working with new updates and challenges with downloading a document or resource,” Barrow said. “I think we all deal with that to a certain degree.”

When reading, learning and helping others is someone’s passion, it can make work feel less like a job for some.

“My favorite part of my job is helping students with research; I learn as much from them as they do from me,” Barrow said. “There are so many great ideas out there, and I like being a part of that process.”

Having the ability to be a part of a student’s pathway to success and higher education can create a lasting impact and a major difference in their education.