It is a great honor and privilege to announce Ms. Charlcie Pettway Vann of Jacksonville State University (JSU) as this year’s winner of our National Library Week contest: Librarians Creating Communities of Kindness.
The nominations we received on behalf of Ms. Vann greatly touched and inspired us. Her tireless, selfless commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus has clearly made a tremendous positive impact on the academic community. Below are a few quotes from her nominations.
“[Charlcie] organized a luncheon to bring an ethnically, racially, and culturally diverse faculty and staff together for sharing and exchanging ideas in a social environment. She continually highlights diversity in her displays in the library…”
“[Charlcie] recently shared how important it is for students of color to have mentors on campus who may have shared similar backgrounds and can provide support and guidance. I can tell she really cared about students she knows here. She described librarians as the 'bartenders of the university,' and explained how students will come up to her in odd places and pour out their hearts. We need more of this in brick and mortar higher education, or else online degrees will supplant us. Hats off to Charlcie and others like her!”
“Charlcie Vann is a powerful and dedicated woman. She is constantly extending herself to the students at Jacksonville State University to assist in providing programs, research materials, and continual assistance in their many endeavors.”
“Charlcie is there for our needs at all times. If she does not immediately know where to get the information, she finds out. I can always depend on her for my library needs.”
Although I’ve only gotten to know Ms. Vann in small part through the nominations of her colleagues and our correspondence the last few days, I can honestly say that her enthusiasm for her work and her understated humility are self-evident. Ms. Vann expressed to me her “amazement” at winning a contest for something that comes so naturally to her. “Kindness was never an option in my family,” Ms. Vann explained to me, “it is a commandment.” She continued:
“…If it were not for great mentors, so many I cannot name them all, in my life, it would have been difficult to pass the kindness forward. I want to thank all of my colleagues from Jacksonville State University and various universities and community leaders that thought enough of me to nominate me for the contest. I have some of the best colleagues in academia. I am the only African-American librarian at the Houston Cole Library, and I appreciate the freedom I feel to share some of my culture through the various displays. I want to thank my Dean, Mr. John-Bauer Graham, for encouraging all of the librarians to seek avenues to serve.”
Additionally, Ms. Vann provided us with a compelling personal statement below. Feel free to share it with your colleagues and students so that the academic community can continue to be inspired by the kindness Ms. Vann so effortlessly represents. As our winner, she receives a paid registration to the Charleston Conference this November-we're looking forward to seeing her there!
Ubuntu is an African humanitarian philosophy which means “I am what I am because of who we all are.” I am what I am because of the love, encouragement and sacrifice of my parents and ancestors. Therefore, I am extremely grateful to God, my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charley and Patricia Pettway, and my brother and sister-in-law, Mr. L. William and Shawanda Pettway, for always supporting me. My grandmother, Willie-Louise Kimmons, used to say, “Baby, kindness will take you places where your education cannot.” She would add, “It [Kindness] costs you nothing but it is valuable.” These are the words I have tried to live. As you can probably surmise; my greatest joy in life is my family. I have been blessed for nearly 13 years to be married to a wonderful husband Romontey L. Vann. We have two amazing daughters, Trinity Malca, 11 years old and Miniya-Grace, 8 years old.
Learning and sharing information has always been my passion. I cannot imagine life without libraries. I began volunteering in libraries as a child in my hometown of Plainfield, New Jersey. I volunteered as a teenager at a small library called Fairchilde Research Institute, directed by one of my early mentors, Mrs. Chitty. My professional career in librarianship spans over 25 years. In 1996 I earned my MLS degree from North Carolina Central University. I had the pleasure of being selected as an intern at SAS Institute in the research and development library in Cary, North Carolina. After graduation I began working part-time at the Air Resources Research Consortium of North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina. Later, I landed a full time position at Cato Research in the Research Triangle area in Durham, North Carolina. The next position was at Valdosta State University (VSU) in Valdosta, Georgia. I learned the nature and structure of academic librarianship at VSU and will be forever thankful to for the experience. Currently, I am the Psychology/Philosophy and General Reference Librarian as well as an Associate Professor at Jacksonville State University (JSU). I joined the Houston Cole Library (HCL) staff at JSU in 2006. In 2008, as the chair of the HCL Instruction Committee, I was inspired to start the Houston Cole Library Lunchtime Lecture series. Nearly 20 speakers from the JSU campus and community have visited the library to share their expertise on various topics. This is truly a labor of love. None of the speakers were paid, yet they were eager to come to the library and share valuable information for students and the general public.
Please join us in congratulating Ms. Vann on her outstanding efforts to promote kindness in her community. This National Library Week, we proudly honor Ms. Vann and all librarians like her for their tireless dedication to bettering the world through the cultivation of knowledge and scholarship.