By Allison Campbell-Jensen
Her position began after restrictions to control the pandemic were in place, yet Evening Student Supervisor Anna Opryszko has found much to inspire her. Because of the unusual timing, she has been able to hear from leadership at the University and the Libraries about the directions they are going. Particularly inspiring was “the Libraries leadership and the way they have focused on creating community within a distanced time.”
The University “is the largest place I’ve ever been,” she says. And that size brings opportunities. “The interactions between librarianship and scholarship, is something I’ve always been attracted to within library employment, but it’s never been so evident to me,” Opryszko says.
“Hearing presentations on Mapping Prejudice, data management, and undergraduate teaching — I’ve been able to have sneak peaks into behind-the-scenes work.”
Tracking evidence that shows how the Libraries affect student success also has been exciting for her. While her contribution included metadata input on a spreadsheet, the context was so much more.
“Yes, we can take a look at data and if you are part of classes taught by librarians, there is a direct correlation between that experience and your success at the University,” she says.
Bridge to the students
“[I]f you are part of classes taught by librarians, there is a direct correlation between that experience and your success at the University,”
Training the students workers to recognize their roles in student success is also part of the job for Opryszko. She oversees those who work the evening shift, after the regular library staff have left the building.
“Students in our employment get to see everything that happens to support the students on the front end,” she says. “So the work that I do to ensure that the student workers understand how they are supporting library functions is also in support of the students who need research help or access to materials.”
Working after other library staff have left Wilson, she and the student workers are on the front lines. You never know who is going to come to the desk with what questions, she says, which makes the work exciting and fun.
Although her time with students has been limited, Opryszko is proud of the professional and personal connections she has been able to make.
“We in Access Services have been working really hard to ensure that our students feel supported — that we’re talking about mental health and self-care. And that they can come to us with any feelings of discomfort in the library, putting health at the forefront.”
The resulting conversations have been important and precious, she says.
As a hiker, Opryszko loves having so much natural beauty at hand — which is very different from New York City, where she lived most recently. “Coming to Minnesota, . . . I love discovering hidden corners and finding new pathways to explore,” she says.
Just as she does in her work.