Library Staff Treat Students as People First

Debbie Renick tells the students who visit the Ruth Ann Musick Library that she needs 25 to 30 hugs a day. “They oblige me,” she laughs. In addition to all of the academic resources and technology the Library staff members offer for students, they pride themselves on providing something more – compassion. When students return to campus in the fall, many first stop by the Library to say hello to the staff. Thelma Hutchins, Director of Library Services, believes the Library should be “all things for all people.” Staff members take time to listen to students and to treat them as people first; they are mediators, networkers, confidants, travel agents, shoe repairers and drivers. Debbie has sewed on buttons for a student getting ready to give a presentation; she has called the DMV to help someone replace a lost driver’s license. Because you have to have food for thought, they keep peanut butter and jelly and loaves of bread on hand at all times. During finals week, they coordinate free meals for students with local churches. The last thing that Debbie and the other staff want is attention for themselves. They don’t see that they are doing anything extraordinary. “We want these kids to succeed,” Debbie says. “When they walk across that stage and they get that diploma, we are in tears every time because we had a little bit of a part in it. It takes everybody.”