85: Barbara Fister

Steve chats with Barbara Fister, librarian at the Gustavus Adolphus College library in St. Peter, Minnesota and writer of the Library Babel Fish blog at Inside Higher Ed.


Barbara Fister has coordinated instruction at the Gustavus Adolphus College library in St. Peter, Minnesota, for over 25 years, but is still learning how to help students learn. She has studied students’ research processes, examined the relationship between writing and research, and has taught a course on how information works for students planning to go on to graduate education for nearly ten years.

Another of her interests is the future of publishing. She has written widely on open access to scholarship and is a founding editor of the new Journal of Creative Library Practice. She  Drawing these two interests together, she is exploring ways the library can support learning experiences that position students as creators of public knowledge.

Popular literacy practices and the role of reading in everyday life is another thread of her work. A recent sabbatical project explored online reading communities; she has made that work available in open access form in an essay collection, Babel Fish Bouillabaisse. You can follow Barbara’s generalist tendencies on Twitter and through her Library Babel Fish blog at Inside Higher Ed.