First annual Library Leaders Scholarships awarded

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The NCSU Libraries is proud to announce Sophia Stoddard and Tyler Smith as the winners of the first annual Library Leaders Scholarships. Recognizing exemplary contributions to the Libraries by current students, the $2,500 awards come from the Library Leaders Scholarship Endowment, which was established to provide scholarship support for students working at the NCSU Libraries.

The goal of the endowment is to encourage students to consider pursuing an advanced degree in Library Science. In addition to the monetary award, the winners will enjoy a congratulatory lunch with Greg Raschke, Interim Vice Provost and Director of Libraries, and David Goldsmith, Associate Director for Materials Management.

A Library Ambassador at the Hunt Library and an Ask Us desk staffer at D. H. Hill, Stoddard is a sophomore studying Business Administration, Nonprofit Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies. Smith is a Library Technician who specializes in providing help and teaching workshops in the Digital Media Lab, and is a junior majoring in Business Administration.

Smith, who has interned with Ernst and Young, hopes to work with a major accounting firm someday. Although the Digital Media Lab is about as different as you can get from an accountant’s office, he sees his work at the Libraries as related to that career path.

“It's not necessarily knowing everything but being able to adapt each day to a different question,” he says. “Some days it’s a question about iMovie, or someone needs help with a song or edit a photo. These maybe aren’t skills that will help me in the business profession, but it allows me to be comfortable with varying questions and situations and to adapt to those.”

“Honestly it’s about being my best self each day, and being an open book and willing to learn,” he continues. “A lot of the time, I don’t necessarily know what the patron doesn’t know, because we’re both in the dark, but I’ll sit with them and we learn how to do it together, and it works out.”

Smith’s view of the Libraries changed his sophomore year when he was living in the Arts Village and attended programs and workshops in the Digital Media Lab. He grew close with several librarians and they began talking about possibly having him work there. Smith’s middle- and high-school experience in music production helped matters.

The scholarship is a big deal for Smith’s family, both financially and personally. “It takes a lot of stress off me and my parents,” he says, “and my parents are actually very proud. They’ve been on my neck to get various scholarships and I’ve been like ‘I’m trying!’ So it was very nice to get this. I was very surprised—I was actually working and checked my email and found out. It’s a blessing, a dream come true.”

Stoddard plans to major in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurism, and to minor in Nonprofit Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. She’s interested in working in the Middle East or southern Europe with refugees from the North African region, using social entrepreneurship as a means for sustainable social change. Toward this ambitious goal, Stoddard has been learning Arabic and spent last summer in Egypt.

She fills two roles at the Libraries, both as a Library Ambassador at Hunt and at the Ask Us desk at D. H. Hill. She sees the roles as two important sides of entrepreneurship, combining customer service with public relations.

“In both of my jobs at the Libraries, I interact with different types of students from different backgrounds who need help in lots of different areas. At Hunt, I get to meet a lot of students in different programs from where I do most of my work on the main campus. And I meet a lot of international students asking me things like ‘Why are your printers so weird here?’”

Stoddard credits homeschooling with her strong relationships with libraries. Her paternal grandmother was also a librarian in the Fayetteville area.

“A lot of the curriculum I grew up using was reading-heavy. I learned a lot of history and literature through reading,” Stoddard notes. “Also, everyone in my family is a voracious reader, so we would all fly through books really fast. That gets pretty expensive so we used our local public library and interlibrary loan to get books. When I came to NC State and thought about where I wanted to work on campus, I was immediately drawn to the Libraries.”

When she found out about the scholarship, Stoddard jumped for joy.

“I was super excited. I’m trying to make it out of school without debt, so I can keep my entrepreneurial wheels moving upon graduation. So the money I’ve gained from the endowment has been really helpful to move me along toward that goal.”