By Suzy Frisch
A wildlife biologist who professes to know a little about many things, André Nault initially pursued a career in library sciences to get better at sating his curiosity. Along the way he discovered how much he enjoys teaching others his tricks of the trade.
Nault, who is head of the Veterinary Medical Library and a liaison librarian for faculty, tackles his job in a nontraditional way. He is the only Health Sciences liaison who also has a faculty appointment, as adjunct assistant professor of veterinary clinical sciences.
Nault teaches courses, does admission interviews, participates in commencement, and conducts orientations for all veterinary DVM students, graduate students, interns, and residents. He also serves as a facilitator in a first-year inter-professional course for students across the Academic Health Center — anything to spread the word about libraries and what they offer.
Building relationships, boosting Libraries’ visibility
Nault strives to build relationships in the College of Veterinary Medicine and across the U, using his trademark sense of humor and penchant for innovation to boost the Libraries’ visibility. It doesn’t hurt that he often brings Luna, his German wirehaired pointer, to work. He also has numerous hobbies to chat about with peers, including hunting, photography, restoring motorcycles, and songwriting.
It’s all part of his objective to break down stereotypes about introverted librarians.
“These stereotypes stop us from being able to do more things. I think of myself as a biologist who happens to have a librarian degree,” says Nault, who also worked as a veterinary practice manager and entrepreneur before earning a library studies master’s.
His goals include reducing student debt
He approaches his job with two other goals: reducing students’ debt and encouraging critical thinking. Knowing that veterinary medicine students often graduate with $120,000 to $200,000 in loans, Nault teams with faculty to find free or inexpensive library resources for students.
That might mean obtaining multiple editions of e-books or scanning book chapters for the reserves so that students don’t have to buy all of their books. Nault isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers and get creative.
“I have no sacred cows,” he adds. “The well-behaved librarian seldom makes history!”
Nault teaches courses in critical scientific reading and is developing video modules with faculty about how to practice evidence-based medicine. He aims to use library resources and staff to encourage people to engage in evidence-based learning in their professional and personal lives.
“I’m passionate about critical thinking and education and the role information plays in that,” Nault says. “As a librarian I’m not just about providing information. I want to show people how to find information and hopefully get them to use critical thinking.”