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Dusty Roether received the Ethel Carlisle Southern Librarian Scholarship in 2013. We recently caught up with Dusty as he was beginning his first professional job.

DustyI graduated from Furman in 2011 with a major in Latin, but it took quite a while for me to reach that choice. When I started at Furman, I declared a Classics major, and I set a goal to complete my degree at Furman and move on to graduate study in Classics and eventually an academic position as a Classicist. However, I became distracted from that major by the plethora of other choices available at Furman, bouncing around from one department to another and declaring other majors along the way. At various points, I had declared Philosophy, English, History, Sociology, Political Science, and even developed my own major in Gender and Sexuality Studies. One of the deans joked–or perhaps she was serious?–that I might have the record for the most declared majors in my undergraduate career! Throughout my life, I have always had an interest in multiple areas of study, and I valued the interdisciplinary options available at Furman. It wasn’t until the summer before my fifth year when I worked in Special Collections that I began to consider librarianship as a possible career, an opportunity to apply my interdisciplinary mind to providing access to information in multiple disciplines rather than limiting my career to one area of academic study.

After working in Special Collections in Summer 2010, I spent the following academic year working as a student assistant in the Music Library. I also wanted to confirm that I would enjoy the masters program in library and information science, so I did an independent study in which I introduced myself to the academic foundation of the organization of information. I was absolutely hooked, and after taking a semester off from school following graduation from Furman, I decided to pursue my MLIS at the University of South Carolina, with a focus on information organization and web technologies. While at USC, I worked in the USC Music Library as a circulation student assistant, and I later worked in the Coleman Karesh Law Library as a technical services student assistant. Following graduation, I got a part-time position as a project assistant for a one-year grant-funded project in Digital Collections at USC, a great opportunity to get experience with digital collections during my search for a full-time job.

Six months ago, I accepted a full-time permanent position as Digital Library Technician in the Local and Family History Center at Richland Library, where I scan historically significant photographs and other special materials for our digital collections. I also manage our CONTENTdm-hosted digital collections, focusing my time on managing and enhancing the controlled vocabularies used in our digital collections to enhance the findability of items in the collections. As a detail-oriented person who loves history, this job is perfect for me because I can ensure that every detail in the metadata is accurate in order to create a usable resource for local and family history researchers in the Midlands area! It’s such a fun and dynamic position, and I rarely get bored at work because there is always something different to do!

Your librarians at Furman welcome your questions about the field of librarianship. And the Ethel Carlisle Southern Librarian Scholarship might help you finance your graduate study. It’s something to consider! 

2016 application deadline:  Friday, March 4, 2016

The scholarship is given annually to a senior or a Furman graduate who has been accepted into, or is enrolled in, an American Library Association accredited graduate program.

The Ethel Carlisle Southern ’27 Scholarship was established in 1985 by her husband, J. Albert Southern ’27, and their children, Tom and Janet Southern ’62 Huskey and John L. Southern, in recognition of her service as a librarian at Greenville Woman’s College.

Mrs. Southern received her B.A. degree from Greenville Woman’s College and an M.S. in Library Science from Pratt School of Library Science in New York. She worked at a number of libraries including the New York Public Library, Samford University, Greenville Woman’s College and Furman. She also served as an elementary school librarian for the Greenville County School District.

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