Feature Friday: Meet Our Newest Librarians

Posted on: September 8, 2023

Meet our newest librarians: Liana Bayne-Lin and Kathryn Eckler recently joined our team as liaison librarians to College of Science & Mathematics students, faculty, and staff.

JMU’s liaison librarians are experts at finding, using, and sharing information relevant to their disciplines. They consult on research projects and assignments, teach class sessions and workshops to build information skills, and curate the libraries’ electronic and print collections in support of teaching and learning at the university. Within the College of Science & Mathematics, Kathryn is the liaison for Biology and Chemistry & Biochemistry, while Liana Bayne-Lin works primarily with Physics & Astronomy, Geology & Environmental Science, and Mathematics & Statistics.

Let’s get to know Kathryn and Liana!


What excites you most about your new position?

Kathryn: I am excited to partner with faculty to incorporate information literacy instruction into Biology and Chemistry & Biochemistry courses. Working with students in the classroom setting is one of my professional joys, and I am excited to learn alongside the JMU community. And as a former college-research-lab-team-member, I am especially looking forward to working alongside students in the laboratory research setting. 

Liana: I am so excited to be in the classroom and to bring information and data literacy instruction to students in Physics & Astronomy, Geology & Environmental Science, and Mathematics & Statistics! I love working with students, so the time I will spend with them was a major draw for me to this position. I am also looking forward to deepening my own learning as someone who has always been enthusiastic and curious about science from a humanities background perspective. I am excited to follow, support research around, and hopefully contribute to the interdisciplinary conversations on data ethics, climate issues, science communication, and more that are happening among faculty and students in my departments.

What is something from your previous position that helped prepare you for this new role?

Kathryn: At my previous institution, I served as a liaison to the Nursing School.  Working with nursing students and faculty taught me the life-saving power of quality information sources. Evidence based research has the power to change lives. 

Liana: While pursuing both my M.A. in English and my M.L.I.S., I held a few different staff roles here at JMU Libraries. In those positions, I deepened my reference skills by assisting students at our physical and virtual service points, and I deepened my understanding of librarianship through participating in many different projects and supporting our Dean’s work as staff in her office. To share just one of many examples, I was able to continue nurturing the collection development skills I learned in library school along with the scholarly interest I developed in climate issues during my M.A. through collaborating on creating a book display on climate justice

What would you like everyone at JMU to know about you?

Kathryn: As an undergraduate, I majored in religious studies and minored in biology. I find beauty in joining the humanities and sciences together in one holistic conversation. 

Liana: My original intended career field in undergrad was journalism. I worked at my college newspaper, for several newspapers as an intern, and for two different newspapers as a reporter after college before going back to school to become a librarian. My background in journalism is the foundation of my love for interdisciplinary storytelling, for connecting people to information, and for information literacy. I will always be happy to talk about science communication, the news, or navigating career path transitions with you! 

What’s one research tip that many people don’t know about?

Kathryn: For larger projects, make a document where you can organize your keywords. If you will need the same words for multiple research sessions, save yourself some time and make a personalized wordbank to keep the ideas flowing. 

Liana: You should definitely install LibKey Nomad into your browser! LibKey is a relatively new tool that JMU Libraries is offering that seamlessly connects you to our library holdings. It will help you see whether a PDF you found out there on the wild internet is something that you can download immediately through the resources we have access to in the Libraries. Talk to your librarian about ways that you can make LibKey work for you in your specific area of research!

Tell us about one of your hobbies!

Kathryn: I am a life-long knitter. My approach to knitting is slow and measured, and I love working with “woolly wools” that still smell like lanolin. I only make a small handful of projects each year, because I savor each step of the making process– from selecting sustainably sourced wool to finishing the project on blocking boards. In addition to knitting, I enjoy gardening and spending time outdoors. 

Liana: I really enjoy volunteering. One of the ways that I volunteer in our community is with my dog, Sage, who is a certified therapy dog through Therapy Dogs International. Sage and I became certified in 2017, and we have done almost 200 visits with people of all ages in our local community since then. Although she is almost 12 years old, she doesn’t seem ready to retire yet. We have especially loved visiting with students in our community to provide emotional support and comfort during midterm and final exams, and other tough times. 

What’s a Harrisonburg restaurant that you’re excited to try?

Kathryn: The Little Grill is on my list of places to try. I am also looking forward to finding the best decaf latte in Harrisonburg! 

Liana: I love trying new restaurants that join the Harrisonburg food scene. I have already eaten at BoBo Cafe twice in the short amount of time that they’ve been open!

Thanks for helping us to welcome Kathryn and Liana to the JMU Libraries team!

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