Home » Get to Know your Colleagues » Get to Know Ira King! [April 2023]

Get to Know Ira King! [April 2023]

Title: First-Year Experience Librarian & Librarian for Disability Studies

Library/Department: Research & Public Services

Location: Lilly Library

Years at Duke: 6

In a nutshell, what do you do at Duke University Libraries?

I’ll say what I often tell students when introducing myself in the classroom… I help students make the transition from high school to doing college-level research here at Duke.

As the First-Year Experience Librarian I’m involved in a bunch of instruction, outreach, and assessment work. This includes leading the Residence Hall Librarian program, helping plan and coordinate outreach events like the Lilly Open House and the end-of-semester miniature therapy horses event, and co-leading the First-Year Library Advisory Board (FYLAB). This year’s FYLAB has been great for getting feedback to help guide the Lilly Renovation. I’m also the library liaison to the Thompson Writing Program, so I coordinate library instruction for Writing 101 (a writing class that all first-year Duke students take) and think critically about how we teach foundational research concepts in the classroom.

As Librarian for Disability Studies, I select disability-related titles for the collection and provide research and instruction support in this area. This past year, I’ve been involved in an accessibility assessment project at DUL, which has been a really rewarding experience.

If you had to pick one thing, what’s the best part of your job so far?

I really like teaching students how to do research, whether it’s in the classroom, during a research consultation, or at the Lilly desk. It’s especially gratifying when working with a student who may be unfamiliar with or tentative about academic libraries and research. Seeing them leave feeling more confident about how to do research on their topic is great.

I also have to shout out my colleagues for making this such an interesting place to work, especially the people at East Campus Libraries. As an early-ish career librarian, I’ve learned a ton from my colleagues and have greatly benefited from the collaborative nature of DUL.

What’s the best thing you’ve read/watched/listened to recently?

I’m 3 books deep in the 21-volume Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. You may be familiar with the film Master and Commander which was adapted from this series. It’s set during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, and follows the friendship of Jack Aubrey, officer in the British navy, and Stephen Maturin, surgeon, biologist, and man of mystery. There’s a bit of a learning curve when starting out due to all the nautical terminology (you will not believe how many different sails there are on a Royal Navy ship), but it’s a very entertaining and surprisingly funny read. I also recently enjoyed Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk’s ecofeminist murder mystery, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead.

What do you like most about living in The Triangle?

The combination of access to nature + all the cool cultural stuff the Triangle has going on. I live close to the Eno River State Park and it’s awesome to be able to go for a hike and see herons, kingfishers, turtles, snakes, and more, and then drive 15 minutes and be at a great restaurant or concert venue.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like hiking, cycling, trail running, and exploring the mountains and streams of NC with my wife and our English Setter. I’m an avid St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan and follow the NBA closely. I also enjoy going to see the excellent musicians and bands we get touring through the Triangle, especially at Cat’s Cradle and the Pinhook.