Saluki Pride: Cherie Watson’s goal is the university’s “collective success”

Cherie Watson, the outreach and instruction librarian at Morris Library, not only works with students to enhance their learning experiences but also teaches an online course on introduction to library research. In encouraging students to become lifelong learners, she  always makes time to meet with individual students for personalized research assistance.

Joshua Vossler, an associate professor in library affairs, notes Watson teaches every section of the online library skills course, which he notes, is always filled. It reached “new levels of popularity” during the pandemic, and Watson “revamped the entire course in a very short period of time to adapt to the various changes in library services during the pandemic,” he said.

Get to know Cherie Watson

Name: Cherie Watson

Department and job title: Morris Library outreach and instruction librarian

Years at SIU Carbondale: Off and on from January 1988 to today.

Give us the elevator pitch for your job.

I am the outreach and instruction librarian at Morris Library. I like to break that title down a bit because outreach means different things to different people. So first and foremost, my outreach role is user-centric, and I am very much guided by the library’s mission statement, in which we directly address the library’s role of supporting academic success and enhancing student recruitment and retention. This means I am not only on the lookout for opportunities to connect with and work directly with SIU students, but I also work with area high schoolers when possible, and I look for ways to provide support for SIU faculty and staff whose programs contribute to student success.

Almost all librarians engage in instruction of one kind or another as we assist library users with information or service needs. But I also teach a freshman-level course, Introduction to College Research, which focuses on teaching students how to use library and other available resources while focusing on critical analysis and ethical use of the information they choose for their research and assignments.

What is the favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the work I do is showing library users all the ways they can access reliable information. While it may not be apparent on the surface, embedded in that process are the core principles and values of my profession such as intellectual freedom, social responsibility, diversity, and information as a public good, for example. If I do my job well, I convey some of this to the user and I have a shot at contributing to an overarching institutional outcome in which Salukis are lifelong learners.

Why did you choose SIU?

I have chosen SIU and the Carbondale community multiple times over the course of my life. First, I chose SIU for my undergraduate education, then as a place to return to in order to complete my degree after leaving the country for a few years. I met my husband (now a retired SIU faculty member) here, then worked in various roles across campus before completing my graduate work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and accepting a position as a faculty member and librarian at Morris Library.

What is your favorite book that you remember from when you were a child?

My earliest memory of a favorite book is “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats.

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

I am not much of a collector of “things.” If you know me well, you know I’m a collector of warmth and positivity that can be shared. In life and in work, I’m really a collective success hound — your success at SIU is “our” collective success, and I’m particularly attracted to that synergistic light when I find it in others.

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