Friends of the Libraries board member Dale Cousins establishes student worker scholarship fund
Dale Cousins, Friends of the Libraries Board Vice President, spent her entire professional career working in libraries. Now, her donation is helping today’s NC State University Libraries student workers at NC State.
The Dale Cousins Scholarship Fund on Behalf of Libraries and Librarians will annually provide part-scholarships to outstanding student colleagues as part of the NC State University Libraries’ efforts to support student success and affordability.
Cousins, whose career in the Wake County Public Library system began as a high school junior and spanned nearly 40 years—including part-time work while she went to NC State as an undergraduate and received her Masters in Library and Information Science—understands the difficulties of affording higher education today.
“I went to NC State in the dark ages back in the 70s, and I never had to think about food or housing or just how I was going to make ends meet,” she says. “I just had to cover my tuition and my fees and my books.”
“I'm just astounded that so many students today at NC State are met with all these other challenges that I didn't even have to think about. If my scholarship fund can help them succeed and help them meet some of those challenges, I'm happy to offer them that.”
As a public librarian in Wake County, Cousins concentrated on popular reading and cultivating reading interest in children. In the course of that work, she met then-Libraries Director Susan K. Nutter and worked with her on a variety of projects including the North Carolina Literary Festival.
“As Susan was inclined to do, she wanted to get you involved right away with library service,” Cousins recalls. “After the festival was over, the next request she had lined up for me was to join the board of the Friends of the Libraries. So I did that, and it has been wonderful. After a career in public libraries and not so much close activity in academic libraries, I'm just loving what I'm learning and seeing. I'm just so proud of what the Libraries do on campus at NC State.”
Cousins is proud of the breadth of offerings at the Libraries, and particularly of how Libraries programs reach across the campus-community divide to welcome the public to events and learning opportunities the way a public library does.
“I've had friends and colleagues and family members join me for Libraries programs,” she says. “They aren't necessarily affiliated with NC State, but I know that they will enjoy the program’s topic—based on NC State research and academic work. So I think the Libraries has done a great job with bringing the community into the Libraries and taking the Libraries out into the community.”
After having devoted her working life to libraries, Cousins also has a deep appreciation for what library work offers to student workers, regardless of the career fields they will pursue after they leave NC State.
“I think that the whole approach of being made to feel welcome to explore your ideas and to grow on a personal level is what kept me engaged and involved in libraries,” she says. “A library holds such a vast amount of information and is such a valuable resource on any topic. You enter this world and there are no dumb questions. There are no blind alleys. You can just research at your own pace by and large on what you're interested in.”