Alison Ricker

  • Head, Science Library


  • BS, Alma College, 1975
  • MLS, University of Rhode Island, 1977


Alison Ricker was hired as Science Librarian in 1983 and finds great satisfaction in developing a collection and facility that encourage deep learning while sparking investigation and discovery. She has been part of the libraries’ transition from a primarily print-based collection (with massive runs of scientific journals requiring thousands of linear feet of library shelving) to an online research environment with sophisticated databases and searching platforms. It has been a remarkable transformation, and the need for a supportive learning environment has not lessened.

Before coming to Oberlin College, she was Librarian at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Savannah (now part of University of Georgia), where she was active in the Special Libraries Association and the International Association of Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers.  She remains active in the Academic Library Association of Ohio; Science and Technology Section, Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL); and College Library Section, ACRL. She served on the library advisory boards for the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and regularly contributes reviews for Choice, ACRL’s review journal of new academic titles.

She is also active in the League of Women Voters and Citizens’ Climate Lobby, believing that a healthy democracy is an essential component for developing the “political will for a livable planet,” in the fight against climate change. If you need to register to vote, or have questions about who and what is on the ballot, she is ready to help.

Koppes, C. R. and A. S. Ricker. 2021. What can we learn from the AIDS crisis? Oberlin Alumni Magazine, 116(1): 30-33.

Ricker, A. S. 2018. Excited about science: academic libraries get their students and community engaged. American Libraries, Nov. 1, 2018. 

Ricker, A. S. and R. J. Whelan.  2016. Reading, writing, and peer review: engaging with chemical literature in a 200-level analytical chemistry course. pp. 157-168 in Integrating Information Literacy into the Chemistry Curriculum. C. F. Lovitt, K. Shuyler, Y. Li, eds.  ACS Symposium Series 1232.

Ricker, A. S. and R. Q. Thompson.  1999. Teaching chemistry information in a liberal arts curriculum. Journal of Chemical Education 76 (11):1590-159

Ricker, A. S. 1997. Chemistry information for the undergraduate in a one-credit course: faculty/librarian team teaching. Science and Technology Libraries 16 (3/4): 45-67.

Ricker, A. S. 1992. The Kettering Library and other science collections at Oberlin College: past and present. Science and Technology Libraries 12 (3): 71-85.

Ricker, A. S. and J. A. Witmer.  1990. Library support for science research and education in leading liberal arts colleges: survey results. College and Research Libraries 51 (9): 401-412.

Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award, Academic Library Association of Ohio, 2001.


Alison Ricker Writes for American Libraries Magazine

November 7, 2018

Alison Ricker, head of the science library, wrote an article, "Excited about Science" for American Libraries magazine.

Alison Ricker Presents at American Library Association Conference

July 3, 2018

Alison Ricker, head of the science library, was invited to present at the American Library Association annual conference held June 21-26 in New Orleans. Her talk was part of the Association of College and Research Libraries Science and Technology Section program "Librarians are a Force for Science: Science Communication and Science Literacy." She was joined by panel members Lauren Young, web producer and science journalist for public radio's Science Friday, and Craig McClain, executive director of Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.

Michigan Academic Library Association Invites Alison Ricker to Speak

November 3, 2014

Science Librarian Alison Ricker was invited to speak at the inaugural meeting of the Michigan Academic Library Association, conveying best practices and lessons learned by the Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO), now celebrating its 40th anniversary. Ricker is a current board member of ALAO and has served in 18 other capacities, including president and other elected positions, during her 30 years of membership in ALAO.