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Between the Lines: September Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight, TLA Membership, TLA News
Kimberly M. Gay, M.L.S.
Head of Reference and Information Services Department; Academic Reference and Instruction Librarian II
John B. Coleman Library, Prairie View A&M University

What inspired you to become a librarian?
I was motivated to become a librarian from my work-study job I had as an undergraduate in the Blagg-Huey Library of Texas Woman’s University. I was inspired knowing I had access to all these library resources and services at my fingertips to help with my education endeavors. I learned that I could make a career out of helping college students learn how to collect, organize, and disseminate their library resources as well… I said to the reference librarian (who also was my supervisor) Greg Hardin, “Where do I apply to get my Master’s Degree in Library Science?…. I am all into living in the library for the rest of my life.” I graduated magna cum laude with a 4.0 GPA in 2006.

What is an innovative practice at your library/organization (current or former) that you’d like to share with others?
An innovative library service and practice at my library has been the first-ever creation at our university of an online non-credit/one-hour Reference and Information Services Department’s Academic Integrity and Plagiarism workshop. The class started in the summer of 2021. The course is taught by the reference and instruction librarians and is offered at least 10 times a week from Monday to Thursday. The class includes information on ChatGPT, AI, library resources and services. Students take a plagiarism quiz, gain an academic integrity certificate of completion, learn about academic dishonesty, learn about their library liaisons, and study the Panther Code of Honor and the PVAMU Honor Affirmation Statement.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Toni Morrison– She is a GOAT (Greatest of All Time) author. A Nobel Prize winner of 10 novels and a Pulitzer Prize winner.  Capturing the sadness, madness, evilness, joyfulness of the world and all its creatures and creations, Morrison generates lessons in her words and tools to live by to enrich your soul where you realize that Life does not happen to you, it happens for you. My Toni Morrison book selection is, The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations.

Zora Neale Hurston– In her writing, she gathers information on the anthropology and folkloric stories of people as they moved in social climates of unreadiness. From slave narratives, to race relations and how to heal even when healing is not an option, to reclaiming your soul and self-worth, Hurston’s words teach us lessons on the power of creating your own excitement, engagement, and empowerment by knowing about the histories that came before you. My Zora Neale Hurston book selection is Mules and Men.

Rachel Carson– She writes about the importance of keeping agriculture in a balanced ecosystem where all things strive from each other/ balance one another. She is best known for her collection of books on the environmental biology aspects of chemicals and pesticides that harm nature and thus harm humans as well. My Rachel Carson book selection is Silent Spring.

What are you reading right now?
Grit by Angela Duckworth
Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness by Lisa Hamilton
The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones
Magnolia Table, Volume 3: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
My most memorable TLA experience will always be attending the annual conferences. My jaw continues to drop each year as I walk into the Exhibit Hall with more than 500+ plus vendors, and meet with fellow librarians, authors, book publishers, artists, actors, actresses, musicians who all come for the common bond of sharing the love of reading and information literacy skills. I have been involved with TLA for 20+ years. I still get that “Wow!” feeling when I am at conferences, officer trainings, webinars, roundtable, division, and district meetings – all of these like minds and can-do spirits coming together for collaborations and changes to the world of libraries and librarians.

I am a TLA member because…  I continue to help support the Texas Library Association through the “Teach One Reach One” philosophy, to continue fostering life-long reading information literacy skills and empowering, enlightening and engaging with libraries and librarians in the quest to gather, organize, and disseminate the words of the world.