Interlibrary Loan Coordinator and Assistant Circulation Desk Supervisor Andrew McSorley. Photo By Billy Liu.
This column is devoted to highlighting staff members that play a huge role in the everyday experiences of the Lawrence community. The goal is to focus on the “Hidden Figures” of Lawrence University and their interests both within, and outside of Lawrence.
Recently, I have been a fan of the Interlibrary Loan, a search engine for finding books that are not in the Seeley G. Mudd Library. I decided to seek out the hidden figure behind this helpful resources. The man behind the action is Andrew McSorley, the Interlibrary Loan Coordinator and the Assistant Circulation Desk Supervisor at the library. He has been working at Lawrence for four and a half years.
Prior to Lawrence, McSorley received an undergraduate degree at Valparaiso University in Indiana. McSorley worked at a dog day care taking care of 80-90 dogs at a time a year before graduate school. He described this experience as a crazy, but fun job that paid well. He went to graduate school at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. where he was a graduate assistant, which required teaching courses 30 hours a week. He was also an assistant editor of a literary magazine.
Over the summer, he finished another master’s degree in library and information studies on an online program at the University of Alabama. “Now I have two master degrees to keep me warm,” laughed McSorley.
When asked how he got his current position, McSorley answered, “The truth is, I did not know I wanted to be an Interlibrary Loan Coordinator. I had a master of fine arts in creative writing and studied poetry. I always thought I was going to teach or end up in university.”
McSorley’s wife, Associate Dean of Students for International Student Services Leah McSorley, took an opening position at Lawrence and the position for Interlibrary Loan Coordinator was opening at the same time.
McSorley said he is most inspired by her because she is a hard worker, a global citizen and an ambassador for Lawrence. The two Lawrence staff members enjoy traveling internationally together. They went to Rome and Paris over winter break. They have traveled to Greece, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Mexico, South Korea and Thailand as well.
“Lawrence took a chance on me even though I never had professional work in a library before, and I was very excited about it,” McSorley said. “At the same time, I was learning everything from the ground up and I took it thinking, ‘Let’s see if I like this library game.’ After just a few months here and working with the students and meeting everyone on staff and learning all the possibilities of the library, I was pretty much hooked.”
McSorley feels lucky to be at Lawrence and working with students. He enjoys finding material that is deemed impossible to find. “There is a great joy in finding information people need and being in the front lines of really cool research the university is doing from senior projects to publications and articles professors are writing,” McSorley said.
McSorley wants students to know about the interlibrary loan system because it makes it easier to find books and articles across the United States and Canada with little information. It is on the library website and students can click on the interlibrary loan tab, type in the title or author of the book or article and McSorley will do the rest by finding and retrieving the information. In addition, it comes at no cost. He believes students will be satisfied with this resource. He also believes students should have the opportunity to check out the Kruse room on the fourth floor. He thinks it has a beautiful view of campus, especially on sunny days, and is a quiet area to study.
In his spare time, McSorley writes poetry, which he is trying to publish. In the winter, he participates in ice hockey leagues. He played in high school and is now playing in Oshkosh.
The “Lawrence Difference” according to McSorley is the willingness to put the university above the individual. He thinks that at Lawrence, no one does anything for their own self-interest and all are dedicated to making the school a better place for everyone.
McSorley is a hidden figure of note because he believes in making Lawrence a better place by providing a helpful and reliable resource. He is cultured, a hard worker and multifaceted. He may be hidden in the library, but his services can make a huge difference for research projects.