Get to Know Your Librarians!

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What is the best way to get to know a librarian? By getting them to talk about books, of course! Each month, we will introduce you to one of the librarians of Ohrstrom Library. This month, we talked to Ms. Courtney Seymour, our Research & Outreach Librarian.

We asked Ms. Seymour…


What was your first library?

“I had the good fortune of having two first libraries: Adriance Memorial, a 19th Century magical palace Classical Revival structure in downtown Poughkeepsie, New York; and the Pleasant Valley Library, a tiny hometown building that was completely renovated and reopened in February of this year, after a 2018 fire. The PVL re-hung a quilt that was made by my classmates and me in 1982 for our retiring elementary school principal, so even after all these years I feel very much a part of the library and community.”

Who are your top five favorite authors?

Raymond Carver, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen have been on my list for a long time. I’m currently enjoying the poetry of Rudy Francisco, Sandra Beasley, and Tess Gallagher. (Yes, I realize that’s six!)”

What are your three “desert island” books?

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (Raymond Carver), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), and Our Mutual Friend David Copperfield Little Dorrit (Charles Dickens).”

What is the last book that made you laugh or cry or both?

“I’m currently listening to American Baby: A Mother, A Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption, which investigates an era of closed adoption through the experiences of one teenage mother and the son whom she was coerced into forfeiting in 1961. As the mom of three biological sons, I’m not surprised but still struck by the strength and persistence of this mother’s love. I’ve choked up several times during my commute.”

If you could time travel, when and where would you go?

“I would go to New York City in 1911 and somehow rescue women from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and then head out on the Atlantic in 1912 to save the Titanic. These tragedies tore at my heart as a child.”

What is your favorite room in Ohrstrom Library?

“If I say the Baker Reading Room, will I be copying all my librarian colleagues? During breaks, when the library is quiet, I’ll spend my entire workday in the soft seating overlooking the pond. I’ve only been at St. Paul’s since October, but I’ve seen a lot of snowfall from the BRR windows.”

What was your favorite subject/class in school?

“I enjoyed anything that involved reading and writing, from Advanced Placement English (high school) to Victorian Literature (college) to Rare Books (graduate school). As an employee at my undergraduate institution I took a ceramics practicum, stepping out of my comfort zone to express myself via art instead of words. That class was an unexpected favorite.”

Why do you like being a librarian at SPS?

“My role here is focused on supporting faculty and students with teaching and research, which I love, but I also work closely with the small-but-mighty team of librarians on anything that arises, from services at the desk to selecting books to wellness programming. Librarianship has many aspects and I have always been a generalist. I came here from a larger higher education institution so I can do a little bit of everything.”

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