The second woman in Tech history to hold the title of interim library director Angela Black also holds another title technical service librarian. Black has worked at Tech since 2012 and is proud to be a part of the Tech family.
Black has always been an avid fan of the library; in her younger years, she would spend much time at her hometown public library in Pine Bluff. “It was always a safe place where I could be, and no one would bother me, and I could just read all the time if I wanted to,” she said.
Her love for libraries has grown with her into adulthood. She is currently holding the title of interim director due to the previous director, Brent Etzel, becoming the dean of library and archives at Wheaton College in Illinois.
Black graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a bachelor’s in English. She received a master’s degree in library and information sciences from Florida State University.
According to Black, the library’s challenges during the pandemic impacted all the library staff differently. Black’s priority was safety, and the Ross Pendergraft library was one of the few libraries that remained interim library director and technical service librarian Tech open during the lockdown in March 2020. “I still have much concern for our frontline workers who are interacting with patrons on a daily and nightly basis,” she said. “That is why we take social distancing and mask enforcement so seriously.”
The interim library director finds the challenges of 2021 to be much more manageable than the previous year, where they had to face budget cuts and changes on top of safety. She goes on to cite the availability of vaccines and mask policies as being the reason.
Before she worked at Tech, she worked at Mullins Library at the University of Arkansas as a paraprofessional for ten years.
As a technical service librarian, her duties include processing, stamping, labeling, acquiring books and information and putting it in Tech’s Databases. She works behind the scenes to ensure that the library runs smoothly, and she also works with Tech’s special collections.
Black is one to shine a light on her fellow library staff and librarians. Out of all of the features the library possesses, her favorite is the people who run it.
“Our people [are the best feature of the library]. We have a reputation on this campus for being extremely welcoming and extremely helpful,” Black beamed. She finds that an essential part of the Tech library is helpful. Black, as well as other staff members, pride themselves on aiding people as best they can. Whether it be answering questions, assisting students with research, or showing how to access their many databases and collections.
In all her years of being a librarian, she has seen many exciting books. One that struck her was a Walt Whitman poetry collection. “[I] flipped to a random page, and someone had written at the top, ‘I have been at Tech for three years now and it never seems to get any easier.’ [and] put the date. It was the 1960s. Someone else put, ‘I have been here two years, keep going.’ It was a neat exchange [from the past], and you find things like that all the time.” She said.
She also recalls when she found a small book from Germany that held cigarette cards from the 1936 Olympic Games. someone collected them and glued them into the pages. Black found this to be very interesting, and it is currently featured in Tech’s collections.
Black misses working with students and cataloging, which is why she is considering not applying for the job as Tech’s next Library Director. “I prefer to get my headphones on and work… There are parts of my technical service job I genuinely miss and want to explore further,” she said.
Black may not become the next library director, but she will still serve the Tech community as the technical service librarian, and a job she has done lovingly since 2012.