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Furman Alumni Librarians Part 20: Sara DeSantis ’17

Photo of Sara DeSantisSara DeSantis ’17

This is part 20 in our weekly summer blog series in which we highlight some of the amazing Furman alumni who have gone on to work in library and information professions. Click here to view all posts in this series.

Today our featured alumni is Sara DeSantis ’17. She graduated from Furman with a bachelor’s degree in political science & philosophy. In 2018 she completed her master’s in library and information science through the University of South Carolina. DeSantis has worked in both academic and public libraries including the Furman University Libraries and Greenville County Library System. Currently, she serves as a reference and research librarian at the University of South Carolina Upstate where she specializes in social media, marketing, and outreach.

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“While at Furman I was an intern for the Library. I also worked as a student worker. I did that my Junior and Senior year. Right after I graduated from Furman I went to get my masters. During that time I also worked at the public library, and I did one year of working in the evenings as a library outreach assistant for Furman – what a year! Right after I finished my MLIS I was offered a job at USC Upstate as a Reference and Research Librarian – I have just passed my one year work anniversary!”

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

“I went to Furman with the plan to be a biology major and becoming a dentist. I realized I was terrible and chemistry and that this was not the right route for me. I did enjoy research though and have always had a love for researching. I went to the career services center to take a test for what I should do in my life. Librarian was the #1 result and I dismissed it because I thought librarians just told people to “shh…” – well I was wrong! It wasn’t until the summer after my Sophomore year that I really considered this. My dad told me I should reach out to the librarians at Furman and to talk to my advisor. My advisor thought this would be the best career for me because she did see I enjoyed researching. I emailed a few different librarians at Furman and talked to them about what they did. I had no idea librarians got a master’s degree and that academic librarians could be involved in so many areas of campus! I loved this and knew that I would enjoy a job as an academic librarian! I was given the opportunity to intern at the Furman library and to be a student worker. All of the Furman librarians and staff were so helpful and encouraging – I knew that libraries brought together such nice, interesting, and fun people to work with! The irony is that I am now the Chemistry Liaison and I love helping students with these types of research problems, but am so happy I am not the student!”

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

“The Five Forks Library for the Greenville County Library System. I was part of the first staff to work at this new branch! It was such a great experience because I helped put new books on the shelf, I gave input on how we should run our branch, and I worked with an amazing staff (Miles was there!). This branch was brand new and has amazing technology, like an automated system for returning books. It’s a beautiful building and is the library of the future. I would encourage anyone in the Upstate area to visit the library – it’s like nothing you have seen!”

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

“What’s surprised me about my career is the different things I can do! While I am a librarian and I do research, I also teach. I teach information literacy to freshman English classes, subject specific literacy skills to upper level chemistry, and even designed and taught a Personal Financial Literacy course that was a 1 credit online course this spring! I also was surprised at how creative I have to be in my role – I get to do social media and other graphic design projects which is amazing. My job is never boring! One day I can be on the desk all day, another day I could be teaching a class or in a committee meeting for the university or designing a digital display graphic to promote a library resource – I love this about my job!”

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

“There are so many great memories about Furman and the library that I am so fond of. One is when I took a reading course with Jenny Colvin during May-X. She helped me find my passion for reading for fun again! I used to only read non-fiction books, but since that course I’ve become a huge fan of Romance novels! Another memory I have is the summer when I was an intern – I got to know all of the librarians and staff at the library. I remember being trained on the reference desk with all of the outreach librarians. I remember doing fun projects in archives and digital collections. Having the weekly social events was so fun! I got to know everyone at the library and I felt like this was where I was always meant to be! Everyone at the Furman library has been so influential to me and has been a great mentor! I’ve celebrated so many huge accomplishments with them from graduating Furman, to getting into Library school, to finishing library school, to finally being a librarian!”

 

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 19: Jayne Moorman ’99

Photo of Jayne Moorman Jayne Moorman ’99

This is part 19 in our weekly summer blog series in which we highlight some of the amazing Furman alumni who have gone on to work in library and information professions. Click here to view all posts in this series.

Today we are highlighting Jayne Moorman ’99, a local librarian who serves as an assistant county librarian for the Spartanburg County Public Libraries. Moorman graduated from Furman University with a bachelor’s degree in English. In 2001 she completed her master’s in library and information science through the University of South Carolina.

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

“I worked as a Student Assistant in the James B. Duke Library during my junior and senior years at Furman because I was curious about the Librarian profession.  To me, it was the ideal career because there are so many different tracks that you can pursue (e.g. Academic, Public, Corporate, Archival, School Media, etc.).  You are always learning something new while always helping other people.  It’s the best combination for a rewarding career!”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“While in graduate school at USC, I assisted with processing collections at both the Caroliniana Library and the Law Library.  During the summers, I would work in the Public Library.  I wanted to see as many types of library environments as I could.  After graduating from the MLIS program in May, 2001, I was selected to be a Fellow at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  While at the LOC, I worked in the Prints and Photographs Division and processed and cataloged the LOOK Magazine photography collection.  It was a very rewarding experience, but my heart was always with the public service aspect of Librarianship.  I returned to South Carolina and starting working as a Government Documents Librarian at the Spartanburg County Public Libraries.  In 2005, I was promoted to Assistant Director, and now I oversee all operations of a 10-branch, 250-employee public library system.  In this position, I am involved in all aspects of library operations!”

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

“It is definitely the Library of Congress.”

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

“I was surprised at the importance of good library administrative practices.  Behind all of the research, programs, and archives, Libraries run just like a business.  If the “business part” of Libraries is not run well, all of the good services that Libraries provide will not be effective.  Also, I was surprised at how important Libraries continue to be in communities.  It doesn’t matter if the community consists of homeless patrons, university students, or corporate employees.  They all need access to quality resources and information, and they need to access the resources in a safe, welcoming environment.”

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

“Who doesn’t love the campus?  It was a pleasure to spend four years on such a beautiful campus with great people.”

New Exhibit: “The Simple Ground of Justice”: Greenvillians in the Fight for Women’s Suffrage

On exhibit August 26 – December 1, 2020
James B. Duke Library, Second Floor Gallery

Image of a portrait included in the exhibit

In accordance with the centennial of the 19th Amendment, “The Simple Ground of Justice”: Greenvillians in the Fight for Women’s Suffrage will open on August 26 and be on display until December 2020. Curated by Dr. Courtney Tollison, Distinguished University Public Historian and Scholar, and Furman’s Special Collections and University Archives, the exhibit features a collection of suffrage postcards, a 1917 “blue book” on the national women’s suffrage movement, images of and writings from Greenville Woman’s College Principal Mary C. Judson, the 1915 Bonhomie, and an artifact from the Thursday Club, a Greenville women’s club founded in 1889 that remains in existence.

Though the Rollin sisters, five African American sisters in Columbia, organized the first statewide suffrage organization in the early 1870s and were early advocates of both African American and women’s rights in the state, the suffrage movement did not come to Greenville until 1890, when a small group of white women and at least one man held a women’s rights convention and established the South Carolina Equal Rights Association. Greenville women such as Mary P. Gridley, A. Viola Neblett, and Helen E. Vaughan led the local movement, which switched its affiliation from the more mainstream National American Woman Suffrage Organization to the more radical National Woman’s Party in 1917.

The 19th Amendment was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920, and women across the country were eligible to vote in the presidential election on November 2 that year. Women’s suffrage in southern states like South Carolina, however, meant suffrage for white women only. African American women endured and won a much longer fight that culminated in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The South Carolina legislature rejected the 19th Amendment in January 1920, and soon after it became federal law, the General Assembly passed legislation that deemed women ineligible for jury duty. This law remained in place until 1967. In 1969, the year before the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, six states, including South Carolina, had yet to rubber stamp the 19th Amendment. The SC General Assembly did so that year, long after most states but before Georgia and Louisiana (1970), North Carolina (1971), and Mississippi (1984).

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 18: Steven Fely ’94

Photo of Steven Feyl Steven Feyl ’94

This is part 18 in our weekly summer blog series in which we highlight some of the amazing Furman alumni who have gone on to work in library and information professions. Click here to view all posts in this series.

Today our featured alumni is Steven Feyl ’94. Feyl graduated from Furman with a bachelor’s degree in history. Then in 1995, he completed his master’s in library science at Simmons College. He has worked in both academic and public libraries including the New York Public Library system. He currently serves as a university librarian at Pace University.

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

“In truth the profession chose me. I’ve continually worked in libraries since I was 14 years old when I started as a library page at my hometown local public library in Old Greenwich, CT. It was only after I got to Furman that I had an “a-ha” moment and realized that I could work in a library as a career (I began at Furman thinking that I would major in chemistry but when I could barely get through introductory chemistry I realized that I had to think about alternatives and “Voila!” librarianship!)”

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

“Working in the branch library system of the New York Public Library was a fascinating experience for me. The people that come into the branch libraries in New York City are a fascinating group of people to work with. Ranging from the wonderful, the heartbreaking, the engaging (and the insane!) everyday there was a surprise and an adventure that is hard to describe and duplicate.”

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

“I am surprised by how much and how fast libraries have changed in the course of my career. When I first started we were in the death knell phase of the card catalog and now we are talking maker spaces and 3D printers in the library. So much change! Even with all of this rapid change and development, I find there is still something timeless about the library that hasn’t changed and remains the same. I try in my library to preserve both spirits the best that I can.”

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

“I have such fond memories of my time working in the old James Buchanan Duke Library as a student worker. I had so much fun working in the library and I can’t state how much these experiences contributed to me becoming a librarian. I remember our library intramural softball team (called “Long Overdue”) and how bad we were. I remember having shelving cart races on the second floor with other student employees after we were done shelving our books (you sit on it like a horse and pull yourself down the shelving aisles with your arms.) I also remember all of the wonderful library staff at Furman that mentored me and nurtured me along the way to become a librarian. Those little moments had a big impact on my career. I try to make sure to make the time to have these moments the best that I can with my current student employees here at Pace University. I dream of someday “spawning” a new librarian into the field and I currently have a couple of student employees hoping to head to library school soon!”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 17: Steve Richardson

Steve Richardson ’77

This is part 17 in our weekly summer blog series in which we highlight some of the amazing Furman alumni who have gone on to work in library and information professions. Click here to view all posts in this series. This week we are highlighting Steve Richardson ’77.

Richardson has worked for the Furman University Libraries for 33 years. Prior to beginning at Furman he worked for the Greenville County Library System. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Furman University, and in 1982 he graduated from the University of South Carolina with his master’s in library and information science. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working with him, you know he’s an excellent librarian who goes above and beyond.

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“I was employed as Reference Librarian at the Greenville County Library, 1982-1986.”

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

“I began a degree in Librarianship in order to provide me means for pursuing work in Archives and Special Records. As I mixed graduate courses in Library Science and History I discovered that I could find opportunities for applying both fields through professional work in different types of libraries. I therefore considered the most beneficial track for me would be to secure a professional library position which would offer these opportunities.”

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

“James B. Duke Library at Furman University.”

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

“I was surprised by the enormous range of interests and projects I could pursue through applying library skills in a university community.”

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

The overall sense of collegiality I enjoyed with all the Furman faculty, staff and students.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 16: Raymond Neal ’94

Photo of Raymond Neal Raymond Neal ’94 

This is part 16 in our weekly summer blog series in which we highlight some of the amazing Furman alumni who have gone on to work in library and information professions. Click here to view all posts in this series. This week we are pleased to introduce you to Raymond Neal ’94.

Neal graduated from Furman University in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in art. Then in 2000, he completed his master’s in library and information science from the University of South Carolina. After spending several years in both the public and academic library worlds, Neal is currently the continuing education coordinator for the Northeast Florida Library Information Network.

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

“After years of working in bookstores and as a researcher, I realized I was basically doing the work of a librarian. I had worked in the local library in high school and at Furman (cataloging and serials departments) so I knew something of the library world.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“My path has been equal parts planning and pure luck. I started as a reference librarian at Jacksonville Public Library. I was with JPL for over 15 years in various roles (primarily Special Collections manager, and Branch Manager). I accepted a job offer at Jacksonville University in early 2016 working with their Special Collections and University Archives. As part of a university reorganization, my position was eliminated and I was laid off. Fortunately, a friend was leaving her job as Continuing Education Coordinator for a regional multitype library cooperative and I ended up taking her old position. I’ve been here since July 2017 and it’s a great fit.”

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

“Florida Collection, Jacksonville Public Library Special Collections. In addition to reference material on local and state history, this is where their rare books, maps and other ephemera are housed. At times I worked with 300 year old books on a daily basis. Part of my job there also involved digitizing the material, so I became well acquainted with their large postcard and photograph collections. I discovered some new, forgotten treasure almost every day on the job for the better part of a decade.”

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

“How much I was able to pull in various things from my background as an Art major at Furman. Some of the book and document repair and restoration techniques are very similar to things we did in Printmaking. My Design classes came in handy for designing flyers, displays and web pages. I had no idea that so many concepts would be applicable outside of the art world.”

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

“I don’t have a specific memory to share, but a feeling: Furman was home. I know many alumni share this feeling about FU, but remembering the people and places around campus always gives me the warm fuzzies. I felt like I belonged from the first campus visit. Furman was the best community I’ve ever been a part of.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 15: Lisa Blouch ’88

Photo of Lisa Blouch Lisa Blouch ’88

As the summer draws toward an end, we are now three-quarters of the way through our series of posts highlighting some of the amazing Furman alumni who have gone on to work in library and information professions. Click here to view all posts in this series. Today for our fifteenth post we are featuring Lisa Blouch ’88.

Blouch graduated in 1988 with her bachelor’s degree in English. In 1990 she completed a master’s in library science from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She has worked in a variety of libraries throughout her career; currently, she works as an information specialist/school librarian at Shady Grove Elementary School, a part of Henrico County Public Schools.

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

“I’ve loved libraries, of all types, as long as I can remember…and reading has been my favorite thing to do since I learned HOW to read. I read a lot of books featuring wonderful Librarians as a kid, and the ones I knew in person were fabulous, too.  It wasn’t really a stretch to think that being a Librarian would be something I might want to do as a career.  Libraries of all types have always been my “happy places.”  Whenever and wherever I travel, I always visit the libraries in that particular place, and I always learn something new and wonderful in each one.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“I majored in English at Furman, taking the necessary classes to become an English teacher at the secondary level and pursuing a teacher’s license, which I received.  I realized early in my senior year, however, that I wanted to be a Librarian, so I took the GRE and applied to UNC-Chapel Hill while I was student teaching. I decided to concentrate in Children’s Librarianship because I recognized that some of the best books being written were (and still are) for younger readers.  I spent two years studying for my M.L.S., then worked in public libraries, first as a Children’s Librarian, then as an administrator, for the next ten years.  After the birth of my three children, and a five year hiatus until my youngest was in Kindergarten, I went back to work.  I wanted to return to children’s librarianship, but within the more family friendly schedule of a school.  I have been a Librarian in an elementary school for nearly 15 years now, and I absolutely love it!”

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

“This is a difficult question to answer because they’ve all been interesting…if you work in a library, you get interesting people, questions, and situations all the time!”

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

“I don’t know that this is surprising, really, but it’s very affirming to realize that you can make a deep and lasting connection with other humans, whatever their ages, through stories.”

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

“I loved working in the James B. Duke Library as a student assistant when it was converting from card catalog to online catalog.  The experience of pulling out the catalog drawers, threading in new cards, then inputting that same data into computer programs not only made for good conversation, it was also very helpful for understanding a lot of things that would later become very important in our digital age.”

 

Furman Alumni Libarians Part 14: Karen Troost ’95

Photo of Karen Troost Karen Troost ’95

This is part 14 in our weekly summer blog series in which we highlight some of the amazing Furman alumni who have gone on to work in library and information professions. Click here to view all posts in this series.

Karen Troost is in the spotlight this week. She graduated from Furman University in 1995 with a bachelor’s in music. She then went on to earn not one but two master’s degrees: a master’s in library science from Southern Connecticut State University, and master’s in music from the University of Hartford. Troost currently works as a school librarian at Knightsville Elementary in Summerville, SC.

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

“I was really good at using technology and finding information, and always had a passion for reading and books.  It was something that just fit me.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“After graduating from Furman, I moved to Connecticut for a job as a nanny and to be near New York City.  I worked for several years as a nanny and began working on my MLS degree to become a school library media specialist.  I worked as a paraprofessional in a middle school for a year while working on my degree, and the next year was able to start teaching on a DSAP license as I worked on finishing my degree.  I started my career in high schools, took a couple of years off to get my second masters in opera, and then went back to teaching in high schools.  I took a year off and then got a position at a middle school in Myrtle Beach so we moved to SC.  We were there for 3 years, but then moved here to the Summerville area for more culture and music.  I am now an elementary librarian and absolutely love it!  The young ones are so cute.  My days are filled with smiles and hugs.”

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

“I think my current library is most interesting due to all the leveling and different collections for our beginning readers.”

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

“I’m surprised by how much I love the elementary Library. I spent most of my career in high schools, so this is a big shock to be in this situation after half my career was with older students.”

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

“I have many wonderful memories of friends and living in campus.  Most of my favorite memories have to do with Furman Singers and The Furman Choir with Bing Vick and William Thomas, respectively.”

Books for younger readers

Our new library system functions slightly differently when it comes to looking for books for younger readers. The library reopens August 3rd but we will still have 2 weeks of summer, so you may want to refresh the books for the younger readers at your house!

Jenny Colvin, the librarian who is liaison to Education, created a quick video explaining three ways to search for children’s and young adult books in our catalog. This includes eBooks.

Our physical Juvenile Collection is located on the ground floor of the James B. Duke Library.

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 13: Elaine Hooker ’90

Elaine Hooker ’90

This is part 13 in our weekly summer blog series in which we highlight some of the amazing Furman alumni who have gone on to work in library and information professions. Click here to view all posts in this series.

This week we are introducing Elaine Hooker a Development Research Specialist at Wheaton College. Hooker graduated from Furman in 1990 with a bachelor’s in English; in 1995 she completed her master’s in library science from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?

“I struggled to find my vocation after graduating with my English major, but my love of learning new things and helping other people eventually led me to library work.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“I have been fortunate to work in all types of libraries. My love of learning and my desire to help others have continually led me to interesting professional and personal growth opportunities.”

What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?

“The Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College, a research library and archive holding collections related to 7 British authors including C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien–including the desk where Tolkien wrote “The Hobbit” and a wardrobe carved by C.S. Lewis’s grandfather.”

What is something you have been surprised by during your career?

“The dead still speak. 🙂 Nothing is ever wasted.”

Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?

“My father forgot to pay my housing deposit on time in the Spring of my freshman year, so I was unable to participate in the housing lottery. I was devastated. But I ended up being placed in the “Dining Hall Apartment” with 6 other delightful women, one of whom now lives 45 minutes away from me in IL. We continue to share life together. It was a great lesson about how some of the best happenings in our lives are unexpected gifts.”