Audrey Stewart is the newest face in the LRC! She started at Coastal as the new Public Services Librarian on July 3 after a teaching career with Duplin County Schools. In this interview, fellow Public Services Librarian Nichole Nichols talks to her about her background, what she hopes to implement at Coastal, and her eagerness to help students with information needs.
Nichole Nichols: Where did you go to school, and how did you prepare for a library career?
Audrey Stewart: I went to Cape Fear Community College my first year on a whim. I had friends that lived in Wilmington and they thought Wilmington was a great area so I came down from New York. I paid out-state-tuition to go to a community college, and I played volleyball for one year while I was there. I didn’t love North Carolina so I actually moved back to New York and did my second year of community college at Herkimer College and after my second year, I transferred to the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany and that’s where I got my bachelor’s degree in English. I majored in English and minored in History. I wasn’t really sure about what I wanted to do, so I started teaching. I thought I wanted to go into education so I went to SUNY New Paltz, which is a state school in New York, and I got my teaching degree. Then, I taught for a couple of years, but I still wasn’t sure that it was the right path for me, so I enrolled in SUNY Buffalo’s online library program in 2014-2015 and I finished December 2015 with my library degree. I continued to teach until coming upon this position.
NN: Why did you become a librarian?
AS: Part of it was a love for information and part of it was the uncertainty of whether or not teaching was going to pan out. The good news is that teaching did pan out, but then I was sitting on my library degree and that was kind of bothering me that I wasn’t using it. I grew up going to the library as a child. My mom took us to the library every week. I was always around books. All through college, I loved being a student. I’ve always been studious and around information, so I think it was more my passion for information and disseminating information.
NN: What’s your favorite thing about Coastal so far?
AS: The people! Everyone has been wonderful. I love my office. I love my staff so far. Everyone has their own personalities that I’m learning and liking, so that’s a good thing.
NN: What are some new things that you would like to implement in the library?
AS: I would love to have a student book club that would focus on their interests as well as new books that could be wide open for anyone to participate. I know that we have a graphic novel book club, and I know that there’s a staff book club. I also really like the idea of “one school, one book” where the staff reads a book as part of professional development.
NN: What is an interesting fact about you?
AS: I used to be a ballerina. For ten years, I danced ballet and I thought that I was going to be a prima ballerina and go to ballerina school and probably Julliard and all of that. When I was in middle school, I was mildly athletic, but wouldn’t describe myself as being athletic. One night my parents were away, out to dinner, so my brother and I decided to go in the backyard and kick a soccer ball around barefoot in the summer time. I slipped and I fell and broke my growth plate of my ankle. That ended my future of being a prima ballerina because still to this day, I can point and flex my foot, but I can’t point it to the degree that it would need to be to be in a point shoe…and I had just gotten on to point shoes. Ironically, my husband wanted to be a professional soccer player.
NN: What’s one thing about you that you really want students to know?
AS: I am eager and willing to help with their library needs. Even though I may be busy, they are the first priority, so whatever I have to do, I feel like that can wait. I want them to feel like they are a priority.
Contact Audrey via email (email@example.com) or phone (910-938-6278).