The Faces of Vanderbilt’s Response to COVID-19: Valerie Hotchkiss

As Vanderbilt reflects on the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact, we are honoring the dedicated staff, faculty and students who rallied to support our One Vanderbilt mission and ensured that the university adapted amid unprecedented challenges.

Valerie Hotchkiss, university librarian

Valerie hotchkiss

University librarian

“Valerie has been a true leader during the many changes and developments with COVID-19. She has encouraged staff, tried to bolster morale at every turn, and helped the libraries maintain a level of service to our patrons that is above and beyond. Being responsible for 11 locations under her domain and making sure that employees are heard and seen has been a huge undertaking that she has excelled at and has endured even in the times that it has been a thankless, but necessary, job.”

—Angela Keen, science and engineering librarian

How has COVID-19 affected you?

COVID required us to shift quickly and creatively to provide students and faculty with access to the resources they need to teach, learn and do research. We have never been more innovative and imaginative than over this past year in response to these needs. And the good news is that many of the new approaches to librarianship are here to stay and will be part of the next normal, including “live chat,” asynchronous research instruction and Zooming with a librarian for reference help.

What keeps you motivated to help?

Librarianship is a vocation for me, so the motivation comes from my lifelong love affair with my profession (I’ve been working in libraries since I was 14). What keeps me going in these times is the community of users who need all the great library services and resources we provide—and the amazing colleagues with whom I work in the libraries. Our library staff members are the true heroes on Vanderbilt’s campus, keeping teaching and the research life cycle alive and spinning in these extraordinary times.

Who do you step up for?

I step up for everyone who uses (and loves) libraries!