By Sandra Williford
My teaching career began in a swimming pool. As a child in south Louisiana, swimming was a large part of my life. By age ten, I was a swimming instructors’ aide at our local recreation department. For twelve summers, I enjoyed teaching children and adults to swim and safely enjoy water.
With an undergraduate degree in upper elementary education, I began a six year career as a math and science middle school teacher. These years in both private and public schools brought great joy, but I decided to add the option of school librarian. Upon entering LSU’s graduate school, though, I discovered special libraries, which were a much better fit for me as my preference was the information-sharing aspect of librarianship. Special librarians work in a particular area of interest, such as hospitals, corporations, private businesses, associations, museums, and the government.
A graduate internship with Ethyl Corporation transitioned into a full-time job upon graduation. As the business librarian for this international Fortune 500 Company, I was quite busy and welcomed the challenges that came my way. Two of the most memorable research quests were:
- “How many beds are there in the U.S. Navy?” (Our company produced flame retardants.)
- “We received a phone call from a company who wants to purchase our [xyz] division. The company would not give us their name, but here are two things we know about them… Help us identify this company.”
Needless to say, here we are, still in Chattanooga after almost 25 years. As an academic librarian at Chattanooga State, my passion for student learning is fully integrated into my career as an information specialist (a.k.a. librarian), supporting faculty and staff and helping students achieve academic, professional, and personal success.
Who would have guessed that teaching the back stroke would have such a lasting effect?