The Spotlight is an occasional feature that will profile a Libraries staff member.
Lauren Todd began work at Washington University in 2010 as a library assistant at the Chemistry Library. She was promoted to subject librarian for engineering in 2012. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2005 with a degree in journalism and had internships around the country. After working as a page designer at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and at a legal publication in St. Louis, Lauren returned to school to earn her MLS from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2011. She lives in St. Louis Hills with her husband, Jason Rosenbaum, a reporter for St. Louis Public Radio, and their 2 1/2-year-old son, Brandon.
Tell me about your job.
I work mainly in the engineering classrooms and do outreach for the entire School of Engineering, which has more than 90 professors, 40 additional full-time faculty, 1,300 undergraduate students, 844 master’s students, and 380 doctoral students. During the school year, I concentrate on the 12 different Technical Writing sections, because the majority of engineering students don’t know where the library is and don’t need to use it until their junior year. I also work with various graduate and undergraduate courses, including the Mechanical Engineering Senior Capstone Project and the graduate students’ introduction to computer science.
In addition to outreach, I’ve worked with Emily Stenberg on establishing the engineering collection in Open Scholarship. It includes all the computer-science department’s technical reports back to 1979. All Mechanical Engineering Independent Study students are also now required to submit their final papers into Open Scholarship in order to receive a grade.
Do you have a background in engineering?
No. Recently, a new lecturer in environmental engineering wanted me to come to her class to talk through different problem sets. I thought, “This is way out of my wheelhouse.” But the wonderful thing about engineers is that they’re very direct. The lecturer sat down and helped me map out a strategy for when I talk to the class.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to run, practice yoga and attend Turbo Kick classes. And I definitely like to read and spend time with my family/friends.
What are you reading now?
Right now, I’ve got three books going. I keep a book at work: The Sound of Glass by Karen White. It’s a light summer read. I’ve got an audiobook on my iPhone for when I’m driving: The Son of Neptune, by Rick Riordan. The third book is Jane Steele, by Lyndsay Faye. It’s a retelling of Jane Eyre, but she’s a serial killer.