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Mary Beth Duty ’82
Continuing our weekly blog series featuring Furman University alumni who work as library and information science professionals, this Wednesday we’re highlighting Mary Beth Duty from the class of 1982. You can check out previous posts in this series here!
Duty holds a bachelor’s degree in political science. In 2007 she earned her MLIS degree from Georgia State University. Currently, she works at Stripling Elementary School in Norcross, GA as a media specialist.
Tell us a little bit about how you chose to work as a library and information professional?
“My volunteer work in elementary school Media Centers led me to pursue my graduate degree.”
What has been your professional path to your current position?
“While raising my children, I developed a deep love for children’s literature. This interest, combined with a fascination with teaching the research process and widening children’s worlds as they evaluate information, directed me towards the field of library media technology.”
What is the most interesting library in which you’ve worked?
“Each day in the Title I school where I work is full of challenges, laughter, and rewarding moments. The power of good literature to change children’s lives is evident as I work with my students, reading to them and helping them navigate their way through databases. Students’ worlds are widened and the playing field is leveled as they soak up knowledge and information, enabling them to converse, study, and succeed along with children from all economic walks. Plus, who can be bored in a job in which kindergarteners believe in magic and fifth graders question nearly everything?”
What is something you have been surprised by during your career?
“I have been surprised at how attached I grow to so many of my students. I think my husband is sometimes afraid that I will want to adopt half of them! Working with children is mostly pure delight, and watching them fall in love with literature makes the rough patches worth it.”
Is there a particularly fond memory from your time at Furman that you would be willing to share?
“I grew up military, which meant I didn’t stay in one place long enough to feel at home in a school. Furman changed that for me! When I arrived as a freshman, it felt a bit like coming home. It helped that I had dear cousins attending as well, my mother had graduated in 1949, and, best of all, I met my husband there.”