Move Over Scooby Doo Gang, Sarah Stohr is in the House
Fact or fiction? Truth or fabrication? Actuality or possibility? When it comes to information, Rio Salado College faculty librarian Sarah Stohr is on the case, helping students answer questions one mystery at a time.
“As a kid, I loved reading Nancy Drew books and the idea of solving mysteries,” Stohr said. “When I started thinking about librarianship as a career, I realized it would let me solve information mysteries. I love getting to dig to find the answers to questions.”
Gone are the days when a “librarian” simply helped you find a book at your local library. Today’s librarians are information investigators: part Indiana Jones, part Nancy Drew and part 007.
“Librarianship is a field that lets me blend my love of books, my love of researching, and my passion for teaching others how information works in our world,” Stohr said.
She set out on the education path early.
“It almost seems to me like I was always destined to end up in education,” Stohr said. “I've been very fortunate to have had amazing teacher after amazing teacher - from grade school all the way through my master's program.”
Stohr earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Lewis & Clark College, and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Kentucky.
“What keeps me in my career is knowing that we live in a world that is at a pretty scary place in terms of how we view information,” Stohr said. “In the past decade, it has become harder for people to understand where their information is coming from and how to understand what makes a fact a fact.”
For the past four and half years, the Idaho native Stohr has brought the mission of understanding information to her role serving students as Faculty Co-chair for Library Services at Rio Salado.
“I love getting to help students become more information literate,” Stohr said, “and I hope that Rio's students take what they learn about information literacy and use it to make the world a better place.”
Stohr also has words of advice for students in the world of online learning.
“You might be alone at home doing your class, but don't forget that at Rio, you're not actually alone,” Stohr said. “The college has amazing supports available for you, like our 24/7 Ask a Librarian chat service.”
A consummate professional, Stohr has earned an American Library Association Emerging Leader award and the John & Suann Roueche Excellence Award for outstanding contributions and leadership by community college staff and faculty.
She is especially happy to work for an institution dedicated to student success.
“I love Rio because it's a college that really walks the walk when it comes to putting students first,” Stohr said. “I can't count the number of times I've been in a meeting where we are trying to solve a problem and the conversation always centers on what will be best for our students.”
For future informationistas, Stohr says there are many career avenues to pursue.
“There are so many cool libraries and archives out there in the world,” Stohr said. “The Grand Canyon has a library! So does the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Librarians also work in a lot of interesting jobs that aren't traditional library spaces, like data analysts, legal researchers, content managers, and more.”
And don’t think librarians are becoming extinct.
“Every once in a while, I'll hear someone mention that librarianship is a dying field,” Stohr said. “Please! We live in a country where misinformation is abundant, and people don't know how to sort fact from fiction. The skillsets of librarians and other information professionals are more critical now than ever.”
By Mira Radovich, Senior Contributing Writer