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The Furman Libraries would like to introduce our new Director of Libraries Dr. Caroline Mills! If she looks familiar, that’s because Dr. Mills has worked in the Furman Libraries since 2008, first as the Access Services and Instruction Librarian, and then, starting in 2012, as the Assistant Director for Collection Services. Since the retirement of our previous director, Dr. Janis Bandelin, in December 2018, Caroline has also served as the Interim Director of Libraries.
A South Carolina native, Caroline has stayed close to home for both work and school. She earned her Ph.D. in educational leadership at Clemson University with a concentration in higher education, educational assessment, and academic integrity. She wrote her dissertation on graduate student perceptions of academic integrity policies and practices. She earned her master of library and information science (MLIS) degree through the University of South Carolina College of Library and Information Sciences, and a B.A. in English from Wofford College. Furthermore, she holds several graduate certificates related to library science.
Believe it or not, Caroline has worked at six academic libraries in the state of South Caroline, and, in her own words, “that is 11% of all PASCAL Libraries!” To name a couple of her previous positions, she served as an information literacy librarian and then as the library director at Tri-County Technical College, and she also briefly worked as a reference librarian at Converse College. Caroline’s resume includes an impressive assortment of professional publications, presentations, and organizational memberships. She currently serves as the chair of the PASCAL board of directors and is either the chair or a member of three additional PASCAL committees.
An avid thrift shopper, Caroline has an eye for finding high-quality items at a fantastic bargain. She enjoys finding items for herself, her friends, her family, and her coworkers. Throughout her tenure at Furman, Caroline has been known to leave her coworkers a shirt or pair of shoes that she thinks they will enjoy; these gifts are often discovered as a pleasant surprise when entering one’s office.
When not working to support the efforts of her colleagues in the library, Caroline enjoys hiking, cycling, cooking, and baking. I asked her to tell me about some of her favorite dishes to cook, and she wrote back,
“I love cooking multiple courses for big dinner parties and especially like doing themed cooking. A few weeks ago several friends and I got together to prepare a “Duckfest” dinner where every dish contained duck. I also enjoy cooking/baking dessert—recently I have been experimenting with homemade ice creams and two of my best combinations so far have been chocolate-cayenne-pecan and banana-peanut butter-white chocolate.” However, and most importantly, her absolute favorite food in the world is Furman University Dining Hall chocolate chip cookies!
Regarding her outdoor activities, in the past, Caroline has been an active cyclist participating in both road and mountain bike races. She still enjoys attending races and cheering on her friends. Just because she doesn’t race bicycles anymore doesn’t mean she isn’t active. On the contrary, she wrote, “In the last several years my husband has done a number of ultra-marathon races and we both participated in the Asheville/Greenville Ville to Ville relay… My next planned race is the Asheville Biltmore Half-Marathon in March 2020.”
Finally, what kind of library director introduction would this be if I didn’t share at least one book Caroline has read? I asked if she had enjoyed a book recently that she thinks everyone should read, and she replied with A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by British author Charlie Fletcher. She went on to say, “A Boy and His Dog is a post-apocalyptic adventure story about a boy whose dog is stolen and who follows the thief across a depopulated Scotland. I have always loved ‘Robinson Crusoe’ [survival type] tales. The vision of a world without people was intriguing. Amazon calls the book a ‘compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope’ but I liked imagining how I would handle the challenges that Griz, the main character, faced. Not to spoil it but I also like that it had a (somewhat) happy ending. I would love to read a sequel.”
If you see Caroline around campus be sure to say hello and congratulate her on the promotion to Director of Libraries!