Kelly Blessinger, Head of Access Services, is the 2017 recipient of the Carolyn H. Hargrave Faculty Leadership Award. The award recognizes an LSU Libraries faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional leadership to the Libraries through job responsibilities, research, and service. Blessinger joined the LSU Libraries in 1999 as an Assistant Librarian. Since that time, she has demonstrated numerous qualities that led to her nomination and selection for the Hargrave award.
Blessinger was nominated primarily based on her experience of leading the two library departments that have the most direct contact with library patrons and thus have the most direct impact on how the library is perceived- Research and Instruction Services and Access Services.
Her work as Head of Research and Instruction Services (RIS) launched several innovations, such as the move to a uniform platform to automate and manage RIS functions, including scheduling research consultations and answering online reference questions. She also instituted a review of RIS policies to adopt new practices and eliminate those that were outdated. In addition, she successfully acted as the chairperson of the committee that was responsible for identifying candidates for the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Librarian.
Blessinger has served as Head of Access Services since late 2014. Blessinger oversaw the transition of the two previously autonomous departments, circulation and interlibrary loan, to one, under the umbrella of access services. In this role, she initiated advances at the Libraries such as the book delivery program, “Food for Fines,” and extending the material formats provided by document delivery. While maintaining outstanding leadership skills in access services, Blessinger is enhancing her management capabilities by pursuing a graduate-level degree in HR and Leadership Development.
Blessinger has also served as both an author and peer reviewer for some of the leading journals in the field, and co-edited a book, Workplace Culture in Academic Libraries: The Early 21st Century. She has also served on committees, chairing several, at the institutional, regional and national levels.