Dave’s retirement party has been postponed. If you RSVP’d, we will contact you when a new date and time is confirmed.
If you have ever gone to the Research Help Desk with a research question, chances are you have met Dave Tyckoson. Dave has previously served as associate dean and is currently a reference librarian for students majoring in geography, computer science, mathematics, physics and psychology. He has been serving our campus community for nearly 24 years and has helped shape the Madden Library into what it is today. We caught up with Dave to discuss his fondest memories at Fresno State, words of advice for future librarians and his next chapter after retirement. (Dave’s retirement part info is below.)
- What are your plans after retirement? What are your hobbies?
My wife and I just bought a condo in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Our immediate change is trading the Fresno heat (which I will miss) for the St. Paul cold (which I may regret). I would like to remain involved with libraries and hope to do some part-time work at the University of Minnesota or one of the other colleges in the twin cities. All the staff here at the library knows that I like trains and my new home is walking distance to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Amtrak station. They have volunteer train hosts and I may become one of them. I have family in that area but I have never lived there before, so I am looking forward to a new adventure in a new place.
2. What changes have you seen during your time as a librarian?
There are so many that it is difficult to state them all. The obvious one is technology. My first job as a professional librarian was in 1978 when we used card catalogs, printed indexes, and paper books and journals. Today all of that is online — which is a very positive change. Another change that parallels that is the increased emphasis on information literacy. Now that it is easy to find information, we need to teach students how to differentiate the good from the bad. WASC made Information Literacy one of its five core competencies for graduating students, which brought this to the attention of faculty and administrators. Librarians do a lot of teaching and training about this. The new badging program is an innovative way to demonstrate student learning and is something that I think will be big in the near future. This focus on information literacy is a very good step forward.
I also like to focus on what has not changed during my time as a librarian. Students still need help. They need to find information relevant to their papers, they need to understand how to review that information, and they need to know how to properly cite that information. Reference librarians like myself are available to offer all of that assistance. The tools and sources that we use are very different from when I began, but the process remains the same. I think that we do make a difference and help support the graduation initiative one student at a time. And that will continue in the future, no matter what new technologies we will be using.
“This library is one of the pride points for Fresno State and I am also proud that I was involved in establishing the services that make it function. When I see all the people using the library every day it warms my heart.“
I will miss helping students. It is very rewarding when I am able to show someone how to search for useful information on their topic and they get that aha moment when I see that they have learned that skill and will be able to apply it in the future. This is what being a reference librarian is all about — and why I would like to continue it part-time somewhere in the future.
4. What are your fond memories of Fresno State staff/faculty/students?
I have had the opportunity to work with some great people under the leadership of two dynamic university presidents — John Welty and Joseph Castro. It has been an honor to have been a part of the leadership teams when I was Associate Dean here at the library and the highlight of my career was helping to create the Madden Library as it exists today. This library is one of the pride points for Fresno State and I am also proud that I was involved in establishing the services that make it function. When I see all the people using the library every day it warms my heart.
I am also a big supporter of Fresno State athletics, with season tickets for football and men’s and women’s basketball, and going to some baseball games when my schedule allows. I will miss supporting the Dogs, but will be watching from afar. Some faculty do not seem to understand the relationship of sports and academics, but I view athletics as the public-facing side of the university. People all over the country who have no other connection to the university recognize the name Fresno State because they have seen the athletic teams in action — which raises the profile of the entire university. When they later meet our graduates, they realize that we do a lot more than shoot baskets and throw passes, but that recognition begins on the court, the diamond, and the fields.
Most of all I will miss our students. Approximately two-thirds of our graduates every year are the first in their family to graduate from college. That is the most difficult step for any family to take. Those students had no other family members to show them the way — but they have paved that path for others in their family and will be models for others in their communities. I can think of no better way for me to have spent my career than to have helped students like that build better lives for themselves and their future families. That is what Fresno State does every day and I am honored to have been a small part of it.
4. What advice would you give to a new librarian?
The library field has more respect today than at any time during my career. The public sees librarians as people who can help them navigate the world of information. Libraries are neutral places where everyone is not only welcomed but supported. I have enjoyed all of my time in this career and encourage others to enter it. Yes, you will have some frustrations with budgets, funding, policies, and building your collections, but the work that you do will make a difference in your local community. And that is what libraries have done for the past century and a half — and what I see that they will continue to do for at least the rest of this century.
Retirement party for David Tyckoson for the Fresno State community: