What school did you attend?
I recently obtained my Master of Library and Information Science degree along with a graduate certificate in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) this year from the University of South Carolina. I was also awarded the ALA Spectrum Scholar and University of South Carolina Augusta Baker Scholar. Additionally, I am a graduate certificate from Richland Library’s Leadership program. I completed my undergrad degree from the University of South Carolina as well in Business Management and Marketing. I never would have thought my career path would lead me to becoming a Librarian, but I am so grateful that it did.
What is your proudest moment of being a YALSA member?
I’m so lucky and grateful for each amazing opportunity to learn and be inspired by my YALSA colleagues and community. I’m incredibly honored and proud to be connected to so many working passionately to advocate and address the challenges faced by teens and young adults and ensure our library welcomes them freely.
Do you have particular YA genre you enjoy as you work with your patrons?
My passions and work in EDI and racial justice draws me to YA genres in non-fiction that educate or highlight stories such as Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds.
Do you have any projects that you are working on in the near future?
After eight years with the national award winning Richland Library in Columbia, SC, where I served as the Branch Manager at Richland Library’s historic Edgewood location and as the project co-lead of Richland Library’s Let’s Talk Race team, which has received national recognition for its efforts to create civic engagement, build community connections and engage in courageous conversations, I’m excited to share some major news. I was recently named the new Assistant Library Director/Deputy Director of Orangeburg County Library in Orangeburg, SC. I’m grateful for all that I learned during my time at Richland Library and all that we accomplished. I’m very grateful and excited as I embark on my new career journey with Orangeburg County Library!
What are your hobbies?
I am a proud husband and father of four. I love spending time with family and friends, cooking on the grill, watching and trying to play basketball, playing video games, and volunteering as a youth basketball coach. And of course, reading!
What is something that you would like to share with YALSA Membership?
Prior to working for Richland Library, I never once considered the possibility of pursuing a career in Librarianship. In fact, I don’t recall meeting my first Black male Librarian until I was an adult. This is a passion area of mine as I hope to inspire others as I’ve been inspired by so many wonderful Librarians and mentors, while also seeking to expand my reach to make lasting impact and influence positive change.
YALSA offers a number of ways for members to share your expertise, informally and formally. Be our next Member of the month! Nominate yourself or another member for a Member spotlight.
Contact Letitia Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We would love to hear from you!