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Heather Martin ’90
This is part 3 in our weekly summer blog series in which we will be highlighting some of the amazing Furman University alumni who have pursued careers in library and information science professions. Click here to view previous posts in this series.
Today we are featuring Heather Martin who graduated from Furman University in 1990 with a bachelor of arts degree in English. She then completed an M.L.I.S. degree through the University of South Carolina. Currently Martin works at Duke University as the Librarian of African and African American Studies!
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 Reference Department at the library at Furman and enjoyed helping my friends and other students. When I took a journalism feature writing course with Linda Julian, I interviewed a librarian at Greenville County Library and learned more about the different types of work librarians do. After graduating from Furman, I enrolled at USC-Columbia for library school. I was lucky to receive a newly-created internship in Thomas Cooper Library at USC, where I gained experience in multiple departments in the library. When I decided I wanted to work in academic libraries, I switched to a double master’s program in English and library science.”
What has been your professional path to your current position?
“My first job as a librarian after completing graduate school was as Reference and Outreach Librarian at Wright State University Libraries in Dayton, OH. I then worked at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as Reference Librarian and Liaison to Arts and Humanities for 18 years until moving to my current position at Duke University.”
What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?
“My current position at Duke University Libraries is definitely my most interesting one. Duke has amazing special collections related to African American studies, the South, and many other topics. I enjoy helping students and faculty use these collections as well as the comprehensive general collections at Duke.”
What is something you have been surprised by during your career?
“Because I worked in libraries as an undergraduate and graduate student, I didn’t have many surprises about the profession, but I have been amazed at how librarianship and libraries have expanded in using technology and the internet while fostering community and education.”
Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?
“I will always remember the close friends I made at Furman, many of whom are friends today. Going on foreign study to England was one of the highlights of my time at Furman.”