Saluki Pride: Marissa Ellermann shows ‘care for learning’

As the head of circulation services in Morris Library, Marissa Ellermann’s priority is ensuring that students, faculty and staff have everything they might need available to them. Tony Williams, a professor in English, notes that Ellermann has proven to be an invaluable resource to him both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ellermann, he noted, “makes herself accessible to inquiries even after working hours on a regular basis, revealing her care for learning at SIU.” The pandemic, he said, revealed Ellermann’s “gold-standard abilities as a librarian not only in circulating requested Morris Library loans but also facilitating books via I-Share for faculty engaged in sabbaticals and other forms of research. “In terms of the true mission of this university, namely the promotion of learning, she has shown herself indispensable,” he said.

Get to know Marissa Ellermann

Name: Marissa Ellermann

Department/title: Morris Library / head of circulation services

Years at SIU Carbondale: 6 ½ years

Give us the elevator pitch for your job.

I am the head of Circulation Services at Morris Library. This encompasses not only library circulation but also interlibrary loans, course reserves, and stacks maintenance, so my priority in the library and for students is ensuring access to resources. No library can afford to purchase every item that a patron may ever need, so my staff and I coordinate with libraries throughout Illinois, across the country, and internationally to obtain the items our users need.

Additionally, my department is the largest student employer in the library, which allows me to work hands-on with students daily. This is a really invaluable part of what we do as we are helping students learn a variety of skills, while also working around their class schedule.

What is the favorite part of your job?

Getting to know and work with our student workers. They not only do amazing work, but  also bring an enormous amount of energy into the department. One of the hardest things during the COVID-19 shutdown was losing many of our student assistants as they went home for safety reasons. Having them back has brought so much life back into the library and what we do.

Why did you choose SIU?

This is actually the second time I’ve chosen SIU. I attended SIU as an undergraduate student from 2006 to 2009 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. My education here gave me the foundation and skills necessary to complete my graduate degrees at Indiana University Bloomington in 2012. In 2014, my current position was advertised and I jumped at the chance to come back to Carbondale. As a student, I worked for Morris Library and having a job on campus was integral to my success. I had so many supervisors and staff members encourage and support me that once I became a librarian it felt natural to pursue that role. It was luck ­– and a lot of excellent timing – that made it all work.

Are you a collector? What do you collect, and how did you get started?

I would consider myself an accidental collector. In 2010, while I was a graduate student, I adopted my pug, Piglet. Since that time, the sheer amount of pug paraphernalia that I’ve accumulated through gifts (and purchases) certainly constitutes a collection. I have calendars, pillows, pictures, 3D prints, and even a hand-carved pug candle.

At the top of my “bucket list’ is to … and why

The top item on my bucket list is to take a road trip to Rochester, New York, to try a “garbage plate.” It sounds terrible when you hear the ingredients, but east coast natives swear it’s incredible. I would try to make it myself, but I think it’s a dish that should probably be experienced the first time in its natural habitat. After I have a garbage plate I might as well go over the Canadian border and get Poutine.

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