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Between the Lines: October Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight, TLA Membership, TLA News

Sarah H. Northam
Director of Research and Instruction
Velma K. Waters Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce

What inspired you to become a librarian?
When I was a kid, my second-grade teacher became our school librarian and she would let me come in and just read anything I wanted. I loved it and thought that being a librarian sounded like a magical job where you just got lost in your imagination every day. As I got older, I realized that librarianship was actually about connecting people to information and helping them navigate that information. It still sounded like a pretty amazing career to me, so I went into librarianship.

What is an innovative practice at your library/organization (current or former) that you’d like to share with others?
We are really starting to focus more on expansion of Open Educational Resources on campus. We want our library to serve as a resource hub for our faculty and students when it comes to OER. I feel that encouraging the use of OER aligns with the mission of our library because we are focusing on ways that we can make school easier and more cost-effective for students.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?  
These questions always stress me out, because who I would have dinner varies greatly based on what type of reading mood I am in at the moment. I just read the Heartstopper series and Solitaire by Alice Oseman and then a few months ago I read Loveless. I would definitely enjoy having dinner with her and picking her brain about the characters and this lovely, fascinating world she has created. I would also love to have a discussion on moving between webcomics and novels and if it presents any challenges.

The second author would be J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts. I have been a huge fan of her books for years and I would love to have a fangirl moment.  I think I have been reading her In Death series since it came out and there would be a very detailed discussion on what other adventures the characters in the books are going to have.

The final author would be O. Henry. A short story I return to over and over is The Gift of the Magi. The themes of love and sacrifice in the text have always touched me. Then seeing how many ways the story has been adapted over the years. It would be fun to speak with O. Henry and be able to tell him about the impact that the story has had on me, but then show him how many ways it has been adapted and then see his reaction. I wonder what his thought process was when he wrote it. I wonder if he hoped it would be popular and have some kind of impact, or was it just a “this sounds like a good story,” moment?

Now, if you ask me this question next week, my authors will probably be completely different!

What are you reading right now?
Mortal Monarchs: 1,000 Years of Royal Deaths by Suzie Edge

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
I have had some amazing experiences with TLA, but my most memorable was being kidnapped at my first annual assembly (not really). I had been elected as a councilor and honestly spent the entire assembly not really knowing what to do. At that time I did not know anyone in TLA yet. On the second night I went to Threadgill’s for dinner and a group of people noticed I was alone, they came along and asked if I was with TLA. When I said yes, they said, “You’re going to eat with us.” They were also librarians and they took me under their wing that night and made me feel really welcome. To me, that really sums up my experience with the organization since then.

Anything else you would like to share?
I love being a member of TLA mainly because of all the people I have been able to meet and work with over the years.

“I am a TLA member because…”   It provides me with a fantastic network of friends and colleagues that I have been able to learn so much from.