Rocky Mountain College recently hired Brad Coffield as an assistant librarian for the Instruction and Web Developer position.
Coffield started working at RMC last May. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Coffield has a bachelor of arts in creative writing and philosophy and a master’s of library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh.
Coffield said, “I like the small school environment. I loved going and being a student at a big school…but I’ve always worked at small schools and I really enjoy that.”
Coffield moved to Billings after his wife, RMC creative writing professor Ashley Kunsa, was offered a job at Rocky. He was later offered a job as well.
“It was pretty hard to pass up because it’s hard enough for somebody with their Ph.D to find a tenure track job anywhere, and it was always going to be an issue for us if she found a job like that. Then, could I find a job in my area? It was a really extra good opportunity.”
Coffield finds Rocky to be very homey. He said, “My colleagues in the library are super nice and the people I’ve interacted with seem to be happy I’m here…They’re happy to have another person on deck, and I’m doing stuff that I enjoy as far as job responsibilities.”
Coffield’s job gives him two primary responsibilities. The first is teaching.
“Most of the time that takes the form of one-time sessions in somebody’s class to generally focus on a particular assignment that [the student is] working on that involves library research…and when possible work in other things about information literacy,” said Coffield.
“So, being able to judge information and evaluate it, which is especially important with all the fake news and lying [in media today],” he continued.
Coffield’s other main responsibility involves web development.
“I’m currently in the process of redoing the library website so that it’s a little easier to use and more attractive, and also prioritize some things,” explained Coffield.
“So let’s say we have 20 things where only a few are really important to students. We want to sort of funnel them into those things.”
Coffield has 12 years of experience in the web development field.
He said, “[My old job] was very similar. I had some other areas of responsibility. I did a lot of teaching, I did a lot of web development, but I also had a role in collection development, as far as what goes [into buying] and whether or
not we should get a certain database.”
“For both here and there,” he adds. “I also do reference, which is one-on-one help with students. It’s really satisfying because teaching, we try our best to have a good context with an actual assignment so students actually care,” said Coffield.
“I’m also, at least this year, working on a special project with the Provost’s office to help redesign the academic department pages and make them a little more appealing, to prospective students especially, to hopefully draw more students into the programs,” he said.
One thing Coffield would like students to keep in mind is, “Don’t be afraid to come in and ask for help, because we’re all very nice and we all enjoy helping students. One thing I used to tell students all the time – I just haven’t had the opportunity here yet – is: even if you’re not sure who to ask, ask a librarian, because we can at least get you to the right person.”
Coffield said, “I really believe in what we [librarians] do. I’m just happy to do my part to make things better, for students especially, and help them succeed.”
If anyone has questions about the library, research, or tutoring, you can email the director, Bobbi Otte, at otteb.rocky.edu.