Schar School Librarian Lorena Jordan Shares Her Expertise and Helps Students Succeed

A woman with long blonde hair sits on a checked couch in front of books and a Schar School banner.
Lorena Jordan: ‘I’m going into classes to show how to find library sources, how to do the research, how to use reference material, how to do data discovery. It’s a huge range.’ Photo by Buzz McClain/Schar School of Policy and Government

“It feels like post-COVID, people forgot what a library can do,” said Lorena Jordan. It’s a good thing she’s here to remind us.

Jordan is the policy and government librarian, a position dedicated to supporting Schar School of Policy and Government undergraduate and graduate students. While her office is at Mason Square, where she helps students negotiate the 20,000-square-feet of library collections, she spends Mondays in Fairfax making class presentations and helping students at Fenwick Library.

Jordan holds an MA in library and information science from the University of South Carolina, but, significantly for Schar School students, she also has a BA from her alma mater in political science. The two academic interests combine to give her unique insights as to what assistance a Schar School scholar may require to accomplish their goals.

Clearly, the librarian’s job is more than checking out books.

“I’m going into classes to show how to find library sources, how to do the research, how to use reference material, how to do data discovery,” she said. “It’s a huge range.”

As part of her early semester outreach, Jordan is hosting two hour-long Night at the Library events—September 19 and October 24, both from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.—during which she will present information on policy research topics as well as provide details on how the library can help students achieve academic success. Light refreshments will be served.

She also conducts regular office hours via Zoom on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.; she’s available in Fairfax on Mondays by appointment. (Contact her at

“What attracted me to the Schar School was the real-world uses of the curriculum that we teach our students,” she said. “The assignments are tailored to real-world applications in a high-stress, high-motivating environment like Washington, D.C.”

For instance, the idea of teaching how to write policy memos “that actually will be useful on Capitol Hill” appeals to her, she said, as does the “diversity of the student body and the diverse range of programs we offer…And I appreciate the interdisciplinary aspect of it. You could do defense and policy, you could do politics and law. It's all together. “

Jordan comes to the Schar School with a goal of establishing consistency and reliability so students and faculty know they can depend on her services, she said.

“I've always wanted to do something like this,” she said, describing her effort “to find that synthesis of education and international studies and politics and libraries and books. That's why I love faculty librarianship so much.”

Her advice to students: “Get help as soon as you know you need it,” she said. She’ll be there to help.