Lucye Rafferty/The Hoya Artemis Kirk

Why did you decide to become a librarian?

My older sister is a librarian so I knew about the stimulating work she did. But it was during a year of college teaching that I decided to become a librarian. I was startled to discover that the college’s library was under-resourced and didn’t even have a reserves system. The lack of good resources and services really hampered both my ability to teach and my students’ ability to learn. At the end of that year I decided to return to graduate school for a Master’s in Library Science and have loved my work and my profession ever since.

This is a wonderful time to be a librarian, with a huge variety of job opportunities and exciting changes occurring in the field. And the labor statistics predict a large number of vacancies in the profession over the next ten years. So consider a graduate program in library science after Georgetown!

What might students be surprised to learn that the library possesses?

Georgetown students use our library a lot but perhaps they’re not so familiar with our Special Collections, which contain over 100,000 rare books, hundreds of important manuscripts collections, the art collection and archives of the university, liturgical vestments and religious objects and over 10,000 fine art prints.

Some special items include the original handwritten manuscript for Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer; an original autographed letter or document from every American president; letters, first editions, notebooks and other items of writer Graham Greene; a large collection of spy fiction and espionage materials; the papers of noted arms control specialist under the Carter administration, Paul Warnke; the original “lead sheets” of Joe Raposo’s songs for “Sesame Street;” and much more. Visit Special Collections on the fifth Floor of Lauinger to see for yourself.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Finding enough hours in the day.

Georgetown students have to read dozens of books during the course of their academic education. Which books do you feel everyone should read to be educated about life?

I would answer by suggesting that everyone read voraciously and widely. Acquire as much knowledge as you can from sources offering a variety of viewpoints, cultures and ideologies. When in doubt, ask librarians for help in discriminating between authoritative and unreliable resources, especially those free on the Internet. And keep reading and learning throughout your life.

What books are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin; a series of lectures by J.L. Austin called How to Do Things with Words; a murder mystery; Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley; and a book about digital libraries. I’ve just read Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Feast of the Goat, the choice for this year’s Academic Workshop, and will begin Jhumpa Lahiri’s new novel, The Namesake, shortly.

And finally, what do you think of Lauinger’s architecture?

I love the vista from the Key Bridge when you can see the blending of Lauinger’s towers with Healy Hall’s spires. I also love the way Lauinger anchors Healy Lawn opposite White-Gravenor. As one of the library’s denizens I have a growing affection for the building. Lauinger is, as our architects say, a “period piece.”

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