Chair Librarian provides extensive resources for scholars at SBCC – The Channels

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Sally Chuah, the chair of the library, smiles while holding up a peace sign March 2 at her desk at the Luria Library in Santa Barbara, California. Chuah aims to break stereotypical views of librarians by being welcoming and creating an engaging space for students.

The steady howl of the wind could be heard even through the library building’s thick glass windows. The huge trees that surrounded the campus swayed wildly with their heavy branches as if to alert the students to the approaching storm.

Still, the ambience in the library was just cozy. Students do their best to be productive between classes. The library staff in particular keeps an eye on anyone who needs help.

One of the on-call staff is Sally Chuah, the librarian at Luria Library. Chuah is in her final semester as a chair librarian, as her two-year tenure began in the spring semester of 2021. She takes her job very seriously and has a pretty important role at City College. As head of the library, she is one of the most influential employees for students and professors.

“There’s only so much one person can do,” Chuah said. “Among other things, we work with teachers to learn what students need, ensure they have printed or online resources to support students in their classes, and reach out to students who are aware of the resources they have don’t know, are unaware of have access to.”


Introducing Sally Chuah, Library Chair of City College Luria Library! Filmed and edited by Bailey Schroerlucke and Sunny Silverstein #thechannels #sbcc #vitalvaqueros

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♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

Chuah oversees all of these activities and more, making sure the library staff are happy and doing their best to help the students and parents who need help.

“When the staff are happy and content, they can help more enthusiastically and with a better understanding of what’s needed,” Chuah said, smiling to herself and gazing out of the conference room at the library’s main room, which is home to dozens of students were doing chores and studying.

Simple observers may only see the interactions between staff and students, but most of the library system doesn’t seem to be about learning or teaching. The Luria Library prides itself on the intricate cataloging system for the many resources and databases for research projects.

“There are so many benefits to the system that we have, one of which is the cost,” she said. “All the same community colleges nearby use the Ex Libris system, which is nice because it helps us all help each other out when needed. Staff and students can ask questions that they have from another university in Ventura, for example, and can answer them here.”

All in all, there are still some students who don’t realize how much help they can have with difficult classwork.

“It’s a lot easier to use the databases than just using Google as a search engine,” Chuah said, adopting a much more serious expression than before. “The students should know that we are there for them. All of the staff have one goal in mind at the end of the day, to help students succeed on their journey here at City College.”

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Chuah is definitely one of the most influential people on campus and still remembers some students who came to her after she helped them. “The best experience is helping students and getting to know them,” she said. “It gives me satisfaction to know that they come to me and to see them move on to help themselves.”

The smile on Chuah’s face is so wide that it stretches from one side of her face to the other, seemingly lighting up the room. A great contrast to the rain beginning to fall outside on the main lawn.