Staff Profile: Christian Miller

Who he is: Christian Miller, research and instruction librarian at Catherwood Library, which is part of the Hospitality and Labor Management Library.

What he does: I answer questions, help students, set up instruction sessions, work with faculty members on their research—basically I try to help others navigate and access all of the incredibly important resources we have here that they might not know about.

I’m also a lecturer for the ILR School. I teach two credit classes, one a semester. Both incorporate research and writing on HR topics.

Why it’s important: We purchase and provide access to some incredible material, and we need to make sure people know how to use it. We help people navigate our digital resources, and help students take advantage of a wider range of materials than they’re used to. For instance, the primary sources at the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives are incredibly amazing, and we want students and faculty to use them.

Where he’s from: I grew up in Maryland.

Education: I have a BA in English from Bucknell, but I was actually an Engineering student for two years. I was a really good science student in high school, but I spent two years of Engineering school sitting in the basement of the library on the beanbags reading books, so I decided to switch to English. My library degree is from University of Maryland.

Background: Before going to library school, I had a really soul-crushing job as a collections agent. While I was doing that, I asked myself what I wanted to do and I thought back to my senior year job at the library, which was really interesting and fun.

So I took a part-time job at Bucknell’s reference desk and I absolutely loved it—everyone coming to you with all these different questions and knowing where to find the answers. Helping them was great, so I used that experience to get a job at the University of Maryland’s Health Sciences Library. My benefits includes free classes, so I got a free Master’s degree.

How long at Cornell: Almost 11 years.

Best part of his job: I really enjoy meeting the students. I taught a colloquium last fall, so I got to meet first-year students after their very first day of classes. We met for six weeks and I helped them get acclimated to Cornell, the ILR School and the Library. It’s just been an amazing opportunity. I’ve gotten to know some students pretty well and it’s exciting to see how they progress through their four years.

What he’s most proud of: At an orientation to the Library last summer I created an Escape Room, where students had to put what I taught them to work in solving clues to find the combination to a big locked book holding candy. At first, some of them seemed skeptical, but by the end, we had ten students racing around the library for clues. Despite their initial hesitation,  you could tell they were really enthusiastic.

In his spare time: We just bought a house, so we’ve been doing some remodeling. I also like to work with wood, so I built a loft bed for my son and a toy chest recently. My long-term goal is to open a distillery.