Skip navigation

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.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 12: Robert Stocker ’90

Photo of Robert StockerRobert Stocker ’90

This is part 12 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 featuring Robert Stocker from the class of 1990. Stocker graduated with his bachelor’s degree in English. Then in 1997 he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He currently works for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library as a librarian cataloger!

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

“In the eighth grade, I worked one period in the school library. I remember as part of a class assignment saying that I planned to be a librarian. Then I forgot all about it through high school and most of college. In 1989, I got a summer job working as a circulation clerk at the Richland County Public Library in Columbia, S.C., between my junior and senior years at Furman. It seemed like a good way to spend 3 months. Turned out, I enjoyed the work so much that I got a part-time job doing pretty much the same work at the Greenville County Library system when I got back to Furman that fall. Months later this led to my working in the library at the same time I was student teaching, allowing me to compare the two potential careers *very* directly. Libraries won hands down. Upon graduating, despite a full-time job offer from Greenville County’s system, I opted to return to Richland County in a full-time regular position. Having learned by this time what would be required to move into a professional position, I began making plans to get my master’s degree.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“After library school, in 1998, I took a position with the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (as it was then called) as an Automation Support Coordinator (front-line tech support). In 2001, I transferred to a different branch in the same system as an Information Specialist (which was the title then used for Librarians). I was in that position through the system re-org which resulted in the job title changing to Librarian ca. 2005, and until I came to my present position in 2014.”

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

“I currently work as a cataloger in special collections (local history and genealogy) in a large public library system. The varied demands of the multiple aspects of this combination definitely make it the most interesting library I’ve worked in. On the day I am filling this survey out, I spent time on the reference desk, I performed some serials cataloging, I processed a financial gift from a patron, I did an obituary search, and I attended a meeting at which we discussed the new main library that’s going to start construction next year. Tomorrow morning, I have to come in early to help out with early voting. There’s always something going on.”

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

“Discovering during my cataloging class (first year, first term of library school) that I had a real knack for it, and wanted to do it. The next biggest surprise was that it took me 16 years to actually become a cataloger (though I spent the last 1-1/2 or 2 years of that cross-training with an eye toward it happening).”

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

“I turned in a paper for Dr. Ann Sharp’s ENG 11 class two days late, knowing full well that it would cost me a letter grade per day. She gave it back to me graded A-. I have no idea what grade is two letters up from A-, but it definitely played a roll in choosing my major.”

 

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 11: Joanna Bixler ’08

Joanna Bixler ’08

Our eleventh alumni feature highlights Joanna Bixler ’08. Bixler graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and communication studies. After graduating she attended the University of South Carolina where she earned her master’s in library and information science. You’ll enjoy reading as she shares the joys of working in public librarianship! Click here to view previous posts in this series!

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

“As happens in so many careers, I fell into it in an act of desperation. I was unemployed apart from a part-time library job and the job market was horrific. It was the days before the Affordable Care Act, so I was without health insurance and terrified to go to the doctor. And I’d just dropped out of law school. I took the first full-time job with benefits that I was offered – a paraprofessional children’s room job. Turns out I love the field of librarianship and kept going on to library school and have now spent more than a decade in the field.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“After dropping out of a very ill-advised attempt at law school, I was adrift in the post-Great Recession job market. I had a very part time library job as a substitute. One fateful day during that time, I began a conversation with the manager of the Children’s Room at the Richland Library and she mentioned she had a full-time associate position available. Just a month after dropping out of law school with no back-up plan (into the worst economy in decades) I was offered that position. After just a few months, I realized that the library is where I wanted to spend a career. While working full time, I completed the MLIS program. After a very brief stop as a Business Reference librarian, I was moved to fill the position of branch librarian at the Cooper branch of Richland Library. I’ve been here for almost 8 years now and I truly love my job.”

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

“I’ve only ever worked in public libraries. “Interesting” days are not the ones you live for. Some of my career highlights have been getting to work behind the scenes on author events. I’ve gotten a kiss on the cheek from Caldecott-medal winner Jerry Pinkney. I took Lois Lowry to brunch one day. I can tell you from personal experience that Elizabeth Strout is one of the loveliest human beings on the planet, and the author of the Max and Ruby books is a bit terrifying. Those days are treasures.   But most of the “interesting” days of a public librarian tend to center more on calling the police, cleaning up bodily fluids, and people driving into the bookdrop. Hopefully not all on the same day.”

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

“You need superior people skills to do this job. There are a lot of assumptions made about what it is like to work in a library and those are mostly wrong. You will most likely be doing a lot more interaction with people than with materials.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 10: Stephen Leist ’85

Photo of Stephen Leist Stephen Leist ’85

We’re halfway through our series featuring Furman University alumni who work as library and information science professionals. Click here to see the previous posts in this series.

Today our featured alumni is Stephen Leist from the class of 1985. Leist graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. After graduating from Furman he completed two advanced degrees: a master’s in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s in library science from the University of Kentucky. He currently serves as a research and instruction librarian, as well as the interlibrary loan coordinator, at Virginia Weslyn University.

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

“Teaching was a natural thing for me, so research instruction was a good fit.  I like working with college students on their research and helping them to locate materials.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“I spent several years working in a paraprofessional position at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, before deciding to pursue an MLS degree.  I was already doing research instruction due to staff shortage and providing advanced reference service.”

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

“The Transylvania Library was the most interesting place that I worked because it is an institution over 200 years old. My current institution is 50-60 years old, by comparison.  Transylvania has a substantial archive and special collections department, in which I sometimes provided research assistance to the special collections librarian.  Transylvania also had a medical school between about 1810-1860, and the old medical library collection was still intact.  It contained a number of rare items, purchased on faculty buying trips to Europe in the 1830’s.”

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

“How quickly a job can change.  In my current position, I was hired to be a Research & Instruction Librarian and liaison to the social sciences.  Because I knew something about interlibrary loan, a year later that was added to my position when the ILL specialist relocated to New Mexico, and there was an opportunity to add an additional librarian.  Since then, I have managed a system migration from ILLiad to Tipasa and made presentations on the intersection of research instruction and interlibrary loan.  ILL has become as much a part of my job as anything else, and I regard it as an extension of the research assistance I already provide.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 9: Ginger Williams ’85

Sketch of Ginger WilliamsGinger Williams ’85

This summer we are highlighting Furman University alumni who work as library and information professionals. This is part 9 in this series; to view previous blog posts click here.

Ginger Williams is our ninth alumni to be featured, and she has had a very extensive career. She holds three advanced degrees – two in librarianship and a law degree! She has worked in school libraries, transitioned a library into the digital age, been a tenured faculty member, and now oversees a large department in the library at Texas State University.

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

“I was thinking about a Ph.D. in history and college teaching, but Dr. Spear very gently pointed out that both doctoral programs and the history faculty job market are best suited to passionate historians. I like history, but I’m not passionate about it. I had taken some accounting classes at Furman, and learned that I enjoy dealing with financial information although I didn’t want to do that full time. I’m passionate about learning new things, organizing information, helping people find information, evaluating programs, and stretching budgets. Librarianship seemed to fit.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“I pursued an M.Ln. and J.D. simultaneously, planning to become an academic law librarian. The law librarians graciously provided me with a variety of experience during my three years as a graduate assistant in the law library, but I decided against spending my career in the high pressure law school environment. I finished the coursework for school library certification while working as a graduate assistant in reference at USC-Aiken. I enjoyed both working with undergraduates and the opportunity to do a little of everything during my practicum in a high school library, so I applied for both college reference and high school library jobs. My first offer was a high school library job near home, just after my father became seriously ill, so I moved home for a year or two. The World Wide Web was created. I converted the card catalog to computer, successfully wrote grants for library and classroom technology, introduced Microsoft Office and the Internet to teachers and students, and was active in the SC Association of School Librarians. I eventually transferred to school district administration, where both grant writing skills and broad knowledge of curriculum gained as a school librarian were useful. After fourteen years in K-12 education, I quit work for a year to earn a specialist’s degree, with the goal of becoming a technical services librarian. I did an internship in technical services at Winthrop University, then accepted a position as assistant professor and assistant collections officer at Mississippi State University. I became active in the Association for Collections and Technical Services, published a couple of peer-reviewed journal articles, helped with transition from print to e-journals, moved to Wichita State University in Kansas as Acquisitions Librarian, published a few more articles, instituted e-book purchasing, and was promoted to associate professor with tenure. I gave up faculty status and tenure to come to Texas State University, where I manage a fourteen person department and eight million dollar budget to supply the information needs of 38,000 students. It’s challenging, rewarding, and (usually) enjoyable.”

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

“All of them! The school library had quirky teens and the introduction of the World Wide Web. The academic libraries had quirky profs who introduced me to topics I’d never considered. Where but a library would you learn – all in the same morning – that cows have problems with diarrhea, John Grisham’s novels have been translated into dozens of languages you’ve never heard of, and wax cylinder jukeboxes and player pianos are still in demand?”

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

“I’ve been surprised that principles and theories I learned in law and library school are still valid today, even though practice changes constantly. My law school education has been valuable everywhere I worked, as have the writing skills that Dr. McArthur fostered in English 101.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 8: Rachel Inabinet ’04

Rachel Inabinet ’04

Thank you for joining us for part 8 in our ongoing series of blog posts featuring Furman University alumni who work as library and information science professionals. To read previous installments in this series click here.

Today we are featuring Rachel Inabinet who graduated from Furman in 2004 with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. After graduating from Furman, she attended Loyola University in Chicago where she earned a master’s in political science. In 2018 Inabinet graduated from the University of South Carolina with her master’s in library and information science with a concentration in library management and administration. Currently, she serves as the adult outreach and events coordinator for the Greenville County Library System!

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

“I had not thought of it as a career for myself until my older brother started working for the public library. I eventually realized that I wanted to be involved in work that made me feel like I was actively helping people. He inspired me to work in a public library – a place open to absolutely everyone where I can teach literacy skills and provide a safe space for all. I love people, and I have never once been bored in this profession!”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“Once I pivoted from political science to librarianship, I started work as a library assistant at the Greenville County Library System. I moved from that to a team leader, and then to Staff Development, training library staff. I’ve only been in my current position for about two months, but this is the dream job! Of course, all of this stemmed from my time at the James B. Duke Library.”

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

“I’ve only worked at two libraries, but the public library is certainly the most eventful one! Whether it’s running huge programs for patrons or handling emergencies, we stay constantly busy.”

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

“I was surprised by how much public librarianship can feel like social work. I wish more libraries were equipped with true social workers on staff, but we make do with teaching ourselves the best we can. We spend a lot of time listening to needs and recommending outside services to help as many patrons as possible. I think I was also surprised by how much I love it and how deeply I hold the values of librarianship. Libraries are for everyone!”

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

“I had the BEST time working with Julie Carter throughout my time at Furman (2000-2004). A group of us called ourselves L6 (the Library Six) and we would often ask ourselves, “What would James B. Duke Do?” This ultimately led to writing WWJBDD all over scraps of paper at the circulation desk and thinking of ways he was haunting the stacks.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 7: Mary Beth Duty ’82

Photo of Mary Beth DutyMary 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.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 6: Chase Ollis ’11

Chase Ollis ’11

Welcome to week 6 of our summer blog series in which we highlight some of the amazing Furman University alumni who have chosen careers within the library and information science professions. You can view previous blog posts in this series here.

This week we are featuring Chase Ollis who graduated from Furman in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies. In 2017 he graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a master’s in library and information science. Ollis currently serves as a program officer for professional development with the American Library Association.

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

“It actually started with the atomic bomb and a cartoon about a sponge living in a pineapple under the sea.  I had been a circulation student assistant at Furman since freshman year, but had never really seen myself as a librarian beyond that. But during my senior year at Furman, I was conducting research for my thesis paper in Dr. Tevis’s “Atomic Frontier” class. My topic focused on the use of atomic imagery in children’s programming during and after the Cold War (e.g. Disney’s “Our Friend the Atom” versus Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants”) and what effect that use has had on children’s perspectives concerning the bomb. I won’t entertain you with the details, but essentially, programs like “Our Friend the Atom” educated children on the power of the atom, while newer programs like “SpongeBob” purposefully make them laugh at the kitschy sight of a mushroom cloud. During the project, I checked out a total of 42 books from the library and through ILL, and virtually swam through EBSCOhost prowling for references, all to try and understand why I would laugh when I saw the underwater town of Bikini Bottom be obliterated by real government footage of a nuclear test explosion. My project resulted in one of my finest pieces of work to this day, and while I had done plenty of research projects prior to this, it truly solidified in me an enjoyment for discovery.”

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“I started at ALA/ACRL as a Program Coordinator in September 2013, and began library school soon after in summer of 2014, where I attended part-time for three years. Prior to joining ALA, I was a circulation supervisor at Northwestern University’s law library for two years, which was my first job after moving to Chicago.  In addition to my work at ALA, I have also been serving for two years as a volunteer librarian and exhibit curator at the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives in Chicago, the largest library and archives in the Midwest specifically serving the LGBTQ community. Here, in addition to providing reference services, I have helped curate and design exhibits covering the history of drag in Chicago, telling the story of the Gay Liberation movement, and examining queer activism at the margins of identity in the 1990s.”

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

“Absolutely the Gerber/Hart. It’s a different kind of atmosphere than any other library I’ve really ever been in (fewer patrons, more research, and certainly the most interesting collection I’ve ever dealt with closely). Our physical space is on the second floor of an LGBTQ health clinic on the far north side of the city, and our collection is made up entirely of donations. Look in our archives and you’ll find so many fun treasures – photos of the infamous mid-century drag queen Tillie “The Dirty Old Lady of Chicago,” full outfits and accessories from other drag stars, vinyl records from LGBTQ artists, gay-themed board games, original copies of rare underground zines and newspapers, and so much more.”

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

“How much I enjoy getting to do what I do, and how work doesn’t feel like work much of the time. I don’t normally take work home with me, but I enjoy talking to anyone willing to lend an ear about libraries and their place in society, and am constantly thinking how we can make a larger impact by demonstrating the value of libraries and helping people understand why they’re more important today than ever before.  Also, I never imagined I’d get to dance with the Librarian of Congress backstage at a conference then be invited to her office on the library’s roof, or get to ride on a giant metal snail mobile with flames shooting out of its head, or hold an original Shakespeare folio, but it’s all happened because of where I’ve been fortunate enough to land in my career!”

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

“Many of my favorite moments at Furman happened behind the JBD circulation desk, where I made some of my best friends for life and had the best bosses (Robyn and Jimmy!). It would be so hard to pick a favorite, but I always loved being able to talk to them about whatever was happening in my life and where life was taking me as a student. I learned so much from them and don’t think I’d be where I am today without them.  I did love being able to ride my scooter around the library telling people we were closing, though.”

Furman Alumni Librarians Part 5: Brian Green ’98

Photo of Brian GreeneBrian Greene ’98

This is part 5 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’s featured alumni librarian is Brian Greene who graduated from Furman in 1998 with a bachelor of arts in religion. He then went on to earn a master’s of theological studies in the Hebrew bible from Harvard University. Four years after that Greene completed a second master’s degree this time in library and information science. These two degrees serve him well in his current roles as the subject librarian for religion and philosophy and the head of information Delivery and Access Services.

What has been your professional path to your current position?

“I started out in libraries as a work-study student during graduate school. I loved surrounding myself with the rich collections at the Harvard Divinity School Library. It was also a great way to network with the faculty & with other students.  After graduation, I decided to stay in Boston and work in the Harvard University Library system for a couple of years before applying to PhD programs in Hebrew Bible, and it was then and there that I first began to see libraries as a career path.”

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

“Back in the early 2000’s, Harvard University offered its Library employees a great deal – full tuition coverage at Simmons University’s School of Library and Information Science. Never one to pass up an opportunity for a free education, you could say they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse!”

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

“That depends on what you mean by interesting!  At Northeastern University, where I’ve worked for the past 15 years, there’s never a dull moment, since I work in public services. I’ve seen the university transform itself from a regional campus into a truly international, global research community. We have the 3rd highest international student population in the country (after NYU and USC) and I am really privileged to get to know so many of these students.”

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

“I’m surprised I’ve spent my entire work life in New England, having grown up in the South. I’ve even lost my southern accent! I don’t miss the politics, but I do miss the food.”

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

“Definitely the mentoring relationships with the Furman Faculty, especially those in the Religion Department.”