Member of the Month

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Member of the Month

Shirley Dickerson
Library Director, R. W. Steen Library
Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA)

Professional experience
Mrs. Dickerson holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music from SFA and a Master of Library Science degree from Texas Woman’s University. Her library career spans over 34 years during which time she has served in various leadership positions in public, academic and special libraries. While living in Shreveport, LA, she hosted a weekly 30-minute storytime on the local television channel called Ms. Shirley’s Storytime from 1985-1989. Shirley is the current chair of the Texas Council of Academic Libraries (TCAL), and she recently ended two consecutive terms on the board of directors of Amigos Library Services.

Innovative library practices

The academic library has undergone countless changes since I began my library career in the early 80s. Throughout these many changes, my focus has remained on ways to best serve library users. The academic library must be poised to respond in a chameleon-like manner to users’ needs; therefore, societal changes have invited many opportunities for innovation and creativity in the library organization. Additionally, observing the transformation of library personnel and the adaptation of diverse skillsets and talent in the organization has driven me to research the topic organizational and transformative change in academic libraries. Out of the desire to pursue this research interest and to fulfill a long-held personal goal to obtain a doctoral degree, I began the doctoral journey at Sam Houston State University.  I am currently a doctoral candidate at Sam Houston State University and my qualitative study will explore the emotional memories of veteran academic librarians.

Favorite literary character or book
I am attracted to literature that acknowledges the essence of emotions—whether joy or sorrow, tranquility or chaos. One of my favorite books as a young adult was John Gunther’s Death Be Not Proud. The author wrote about a very somber but personal life-changing experience. In my eyes, Gunther was an author-hero because he did not shy away from the vulnerabilities of life. This book made an impression on me because Gunther gave voice to the imperfections and complexities that I experienced as a young person growing up in a less than perfect world in the late 1960’s. On a lighter note, Bernard Waber’s You look Ridiculous, Said the Rhinoceros to the Hippopotamus teaches readers of all ages a lesson in diversity and self-esteem with a bit of levity.

Most memorable TLA experience
It is impossible to select a program or an event from the many years of TLA. However, TLA is noticeably inclusive of libraries and people of all types. Each TLA conference experience is memorable because it is richly diverse, has an atmosphere of expectation, and everyone is welcome to enjoy the experience.

I am indeed honored to be selected as TLA’s member of the month.

Created on Nov 1, 2011 | Last updated August 01, 2014