What Drives Danika Stegeman

To help students learn and save money on course materials?

Danika StegemanDanika Stegeman is a librarian by day and poet by night. She gets enormous satisfaction from both pursuits, and she believes that each side of her work persona benefits the other.

As a course reserve coordinator at Wilson Library, Stegeman works with instructors to make online and printed course materials available to students. In addition to pulling physical books, journals, or other items for faculty, Stegeman also helps gain access to digital materials from the University and other institutions. Then she creates online access for students, often linked through their instructors’ course management Moodle pages.

Resources placed at students’ fingertips

Students love it because the resources they need are right at their fingertips, and instructors are grateful because Stegeman’s work allows them to concentrate on other endeavors.

“Education as an ideal is really important to me. The idea that I am helping students access the material they need to learn is really rewarding,” says Stegeman. “I also know that faculty on campus are very busy people, and they have really important work they are doing educating students, their own research, and creating ideas in their field. I like that what I do helps them.”

Her poetry blends landscapes and imagery

Stegeman’s poetry has been published in various journals, including a recent piece in CutBank Literary Journal from University of Montana. She earned her creative writing MFA in poetry from George Mason University before coming to the University of Minnesota Libraries in 2010.

When she’s not working, Stegeman writes poems that blend landscapes and imagery, as well as collages. Here, she gleans language from others sources and blends it with her own, such as transcripts from news broadcasts during the Persian Gulf War and an early 1990s television show called Dark Shadows: The Revival.

“I like the idea of taking material and cutting some things out and turning it into new text,” she says.

With a poet’s penchant for observation and putting ideas in order, Stegeman thrives from her work professionally and creatively. She constantly gains inspiration for her poems while also putting her writing skills to use on the job.

“Working in the library energizes me, and I’m getting ideas all of the time,” she notes. “My interest in material and organizing material is crucial to my job, and I also find it really helpful in my writing. I think it has to do with the way my brain works as a poet.”

Her work helps make college more affordable

Stegeman also spends time collaborating across the University to make resources more available and affordable for students. Lately, that involves building a partnership with the University of Minnesota Bookstore to line up e-books from the Libraries for students’ required course reading.

“It’s a really inspiring project,” Stegeman says. “I like the idea that the Libraries can be a partner that offers resources to students so they don’t have to pay for them.”

Stegeman gets motivated every day, knowing that her work supports teaching and learning at the U. In turn, this helps faculty, students, and staff meet their goals to make the world a better place.

—Suzy Frisch

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