Secret Lives of the Mudd Library employees: Part One

By Ollin Garcia Pliego

Built in 1974 and named after Dr. Seeley G. Mudd, whose estate financed the construction of the building, Lawrence’s library is a fundamental part of the university’s academic life. According to the Lawrence’s website, the Mudd—as some members choose to call it—comprises a “permanent collection of over 390,000 books and periodicals; 340,000 government documents; 1,750 periodical subscriptions; 15,650 music scores and 124,000 videotapes, recordings and microfilms items.” Here, we introduce some of the staff members whose work help students and faculty to access the materials needed for academic and sometimes cultural and entertainment purposes.

Erin DixUniversity Archivist and Assistant Professor Erin K. Dix

Ollin García: What’s your hometown and where were you born?

Erin Dix: My hometown [and birthplace] is Waukesha, Wis.

OG: When did you start working at the Mudd?

ED: In November of 2010.

OG: What’s your main task as an archivist?

ED: As the university archivist I manage the university archives…the archives is responsible for helping people learn about Lawrence’s history and we do that through collecting, preserving and making accessible the…raw material about history, so all kinds of cool stuff.

OG: What did you do before joining the library?

ED: I was in [graduate] school at UW–Madison. I have a Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies with a specialization in archives and records administration.

OG: I understand that you are a Lawrence alumna. What was your major and when did you graduate?

ED: I graduated in 2008. I did a double major in History and Music.


 Cindy PattersonCirculation Services Supervisor Cynthia M. Patterson

Ollin García: What’s your hometown and where were you born?

Cynthia Patterson: I was raised in Eagle, Wisconsin, not to be confused with Eagle River. I was born in Milwaukee.

OG: When did you start working at the library?

CP: I started working in the library, at the Mudd, in July of 1990.

OG: Where did you work previously?

CP: Previously, I taught in elementary school, particularly at the fourth and fifth grade levels. I taught in Oshkosh.

OG: What’s your main task as a circulation services supervisor?

CP: To make sure that all the materials in the library are where they are supposed to be so that everyone has access to them.

OG: What’s your funniest memory at the library?

CP: That’s difficult, there’ve been so many. I think one of the funniest memories I have is the time when we all, the staff in the library at the time, bought brown t-shirts—a.k.a. Mudd color t-shirts—and used a slogan generator to create slogans for the t-shirts and then posed for a quite hilarious picture. It was in the mid-2000s.

OG: What do you like the most about your job?

CP: The favorite part of my job is training and working with the student desk assistants and getting to know them.


Andrew McSorleyCirculation/Interlibrary Loan Assistant Andrew M. McSorley

Ollin García: What’s your hometown and where were you born?

Andrew McSorley: My hometown is Appleton, Wis., and I grew up here. I was born [here], specifically at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

OG: When did you start working at the library?

AM: I started working here last summer, in August of 2013.

OG: What did you do before joining the Mudd?

AM: I was actually finishing graduate school. I was doing a Master of Fine Arts. I was studying Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University. So while I was a student there, I was also teaching various writing classes.

OG: Have you published some of your writings? If so, how can we access them?

AM: I have published. I have a book written out that’s not published yet but it’s making the rounds through contests. I’ll see if it lands anywhere.

OG: What’s your main task as a circulation/interlibrary loan assistant?

AM: This is a two-part job. I handle all of the interlibrary loan requests…anything that we don’t hold in our library…that students, staff and faculty might want. I request it from other libraries everywhere within the U.S. [including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico] and Canada. And sometimes we’ll get electronic articles. I got a couple from Germany last year.



Director of the Seeley G. Mudd Library and Associate Professor Peter J. Gilbert

Ollin García: What’s your hometown and where were you born?

Peter Gilbert: I’m originally from the Minneapolis area.

OG: When did you start working at the library?

PG: August 1, 1990.

OG: What other positions did you have before becoming Director?

PG: I came here as a reference librarian and did reference and instruction. In 1999, I became the Director of Instructional Technology. I was helping faculty use technology in their teaching.

OG: What did you do before joining the Mudd?

PG: After college, my wife and I lived in Virginia; we were full time volunteers at a place called Innisfree Village, which was a residential community with development disabled adults. Then, we moved back to…the upper Midwest. I went to graduate school at UW–Madison…it was Library and Information Studies, a master’s program.

OG: What’s your main task as the library’s director?

PG: I tell people my main task is going to meetings [laughs]. Helping the people who work here help the students and faculty do what they need to do: research, teaching and learning through library stuff. I try to make sure that the library is organized in a way that can work and happen.