Member of the Month

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Elizabeth A.M. Howard
Director, Eunice & James L. West Library, Texas Wesleyan University

Professional experience
My early professional career was eclectic. I moved around a lot after getting my B.S. in Anthropology. I worked in an army education center in Dexheim, Germany, then moved back to the states and tried out health insurance in Kentucky, and eventually became a realtor back in Texas. At this point, I decided to follow my passion for librarianship, so I returned to college for an MLS at the University of North Texas.

Since earning my degree, I have worked in several positions at Eunice & James L. West Library. I started in the circulation department part time where I learned the importance of the front line of circulation, and later worked in technical services preserving books and copy cataloging. My first full-time position was in the periodicals department, where I worked on statistics, website management, processing periodicals, etc. It was in periodicals that I was able to put into practice some exciting ideas I had learned from networking with my fellow TLA members. My library encouraged me to try new things and get involved. Using that support, I jumped into the Fort Worth Library’s Worth Reading initiative, representing Texas Wesleyan University as a partner, which has been a rewarding experience. When I became the digital repository and collections librarian, I was again able to implement new processes and introduce a completely new role to the library. I created the Digital Archive and implemented an e-book policy to our collections. Becoming the library director recently has been an exciting, new role. I am enjoying learning the particulars of university administration and working closely with deans to lead my library to innovate our services. My focus is on expanding our community outreach and helping my staff embody the university’s lifelong learning mission. Currently, I also reside on the Friends of the Library and Tarrant Literacy Coalition boards. 

Innovative library practices
I love the interactive study rooms with technology that I have seen at UT Austin and TCU libraries. White board walls, scheduling systems outside the doors, and air media technology to hook up computers to students’ devices are great features for students.

Favorite book or literary character 
While pondering this question I realized that every character that I came up with was a detective, and it was so hard to choose between them. I was, however, able to narrow it down to two characters. Lord Meren from Lynda S. Robinson’s ancient Egyptian mysteries and Joe Leaphorn, a Navaho Tribal Policeman, in Tony Hillerman novels. I love the integrity of the characters and the immersive feeling of the cultures in the books. Once again, because it is so hard to choose favorites, here are two detective-like picture books of which I am also fond: Richard Scarry’s Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon and The Great Big Mystery Book. 

Most memorable TLA experience
I have had so many wonderful TLA experiences. For the 100th TLA conference, I served on the 2013 Local Arrangements Committee, where I was chair of the Health Events sub-committee. I had a blast planning the Hetherington Fun Run and the city tour, in which my husband and I led the participants on walking tour of Downtown Fort Worth. My favorite moment occurred during the kayak trip on the Trinity River. A busload of people signed up. The event happened to coincide with a local charity run involving children. As the group of librarian kayakers were moving down the river, I was able to instigate a group of awesome kids crossing the bridge to start cheering for them and chanting “TLA.” It was an unexpected surprise for the kayakers, and everyone had a lot of fun.

Created on May 31, 2016 | Last updated May 31, 2017