Every year the Libraries’ student employees can apply for a little help from the Friends of the Libraries. To date, the organization of benefactors has given a lot of help to students — over $35,000 of scholarships — in addition to generously funding collections and services.
This year, the Friends of the Libraries chose to honor two exceptional employees of Alden Library: graduate student Kgosietsile Velempini and senior Kaytlin Dawes. Each was awarded a $1,000 scholarship on the merit of an outstanding 350-500 word essay.
Velempini, a doctoral candidate studying curriculum and instruction with a focus on environmental education, began working at the Libraries in January 2012. One of his first memories of Alden Library, however, took place much earlier. Upon arriving in Athens in 2010, he went to the Libraries’ Center for International Collections [CIC] to read about his home country of Botswana. He was stunned to stumble upon an article that he himself had written years earlier.
“I was shocked but thrilled that Alden Library is so widely connected to the larger world,” he said.
Now, he works in the CIC, where he helps patrons access materials and read historical articles on microfilm. It’s a role that he’s happy to play, and the value of the collections is something that he is keenly aware of.
“The CIC introduces the citizens of Ohio to the whole world,” he said. “Many people are surprised that we also have ‘non-academic’ library resources about many countries such as feature films, novels, cookbooks, books on popular culture, poetry and travel guides.”
Dawes, a junior studying communications with a specialization in advocacy, recently moved from OHIO’s Lancaster campus to Athens. She credits her job in the Frederick and Kazuko Harris Fine Art Collection as having been an antidote to transfer shock.
“The total removal from my comfort zone was eased upon my employment at Alden Library,” she said. “The Fine Arts floor and larger Alden community have helped me build community connections… and [it] has given me opportunities to thrive in areas where I feel confident.”
One such area is exhibit planning. She approached Gary Ginther, fine arts librarian, about creating an exhibit series for Ohio University students, and support for the project was instantaneous, she said.
With Dawes initiative and the librarians’ help, the Frederick and Kazuko Harris Student Exhibit Series now exists to offer students a unique space on campus to showcase their creativity — an opportunity that students have welcomed.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in the program and are looking into continuing it next year,” Dawes said.
The Libraries’ staff thanks Velempini and Dawes for their valuable contributions to Alden Library and congratulates them on their richly deserved recognition.