Behind the Books: Christina Rogers

 All photo credits to Wes Parnell.

All photo credits to Wes Parnell.

 

The typical student at The King’s College spends four years wandering its halls, navigating the fifth-floor offices, studying in the library, and overspending at the nearest Starbucks. However, Christina Rogers, the Director of Library Services, 43, has seen 18 years’ worth of students come in and out of the doors of The King’s College.

“When we started in ’99, I think we only had 17 students,” Rogers said. “Now, I don’t know the exact number, but we’re close to 600 students, I think.”

For over almost two decades, Rogers has witnessed other significant changes to The King’s College, besides its ever-growing number of students.

“I’ve seen the addition of majors on campus. I’ve seen the addition of a number of faculty members,” Rogers said, as she counted her fingers. “I think at the time when I began, we only had one full-time faculty member.”

Although, Rogers wasn’t always the Director of Library Services. When she started out at King’s, she was the assistant to Stan Oaks, the president of the college at the time of its reopening in the Empire State Building in 1999.

untitled-10.jpg

Rogers is familiar with the city life, growing up just outside Chicago. She acquired her undergraduate degree at Truman State University in Missouri, and then she earned her graduate degree at New York University’s School of Education.

Her major wasn’t in information or library sciences—it was in musical performance.

Rogers’ love for music began when she was a little kid, and her love for it continued to grow as she watched one of her older sisters play in the band.

“I just loved going to band concerts; my sister played the clarinet, but there was just something about the flute,” Rogers said, as a grin spread across her face. “Kind of like it just chose me.”

Nowadays, Rogers continues to play the flute for her church. She also directs a choir called “The Chorus of Communities,” based in Nutley, New Jersey, which is not far from Rogers’ current home.

So how did someone with a musical background land a career as the Director of Library Services?

After Rogers completed graduate school in 1999, she was on the hunt for a job. Luckily, someone from her Bible study spread the word about an employment opportunity at The King’s College.

“Someone who worked at the Briarcliff campus knew about a position opening up as an executive assistant to Stan Oaks,” Rogers explained. “I applied for that job, and I got it. I’ve been here ever since.”

 
untitled-7.jpg
 

Although Rogers loves her music, she also has a liking towards books and higher education.

“This has been a really good position to be in for someone who likes all of those things,” Rogers said. “A library position combines all of those things.”

Despite her love for books and reading, she doesn’t have a large library at home due to space issues—something we all can relate to from living in New York City. Even though she had to purge many of her books, her home still has two large bookcases that are filled with the literature that she couldn’t give up.

Rogers highly recommends reading “The World’s Religions” by Huston Smith.

“I think if I hadn’t majored in music, I would have majored in something like religion or philosophy,” Rogers said, who was always intrigued by the study of religion.

“Smith just gets to the heart of what’s good in religion in general,” Rogers explained. “He really helps educate people in a very fair and balanced way on religions not their own.”

untitled-9.jpg

As Director of Library Services, she is in charge of ensuring that the students know what resources are available to them and how to utilize them.

“I’ve worked, and I’ve continued to work, to make it a place where our online resources and our print resources really support what professors are doing,” Rogers said.

The King’s College students have a plethora of library resources at their fingertips, and Rogers said that she is overall pleased with the amount of usage students are getting out of them.  

“I cannot see who uses it, but I can see the numbers of searches and the numbers of articles that are pulled up, so I can run usage statistics,” said Rogers, when speaking of online resources such as EBSCO and JSTOR. “I don’t have these numbers memorized, but, I mean, we’re in the tens of thousands of usages.”

It’s hard to be oblivious to the fact that we are slowly moving away from print resources and moving towards electronic resources. Rogers is not ignorant of that, but she still continues to impress upon her students the importance of print resources.

“Students still need to learn how to interact with ink and paper,” Rogers said, as she laughed and shook her head. “I mean, that’s never gonna go away.”

Rogers wants students to know that she wants to help them succeed.

“We’re here to help them do their research,” Rogers said. “And I’m happy to be of service in that way.”