Meet our Staff: Hallie Clawson

Image of a woman wearing glasses standing on a pier.
(Photo courtesy of Hallie Clawson).

Some of us you see at a circulation desk, some of us you see at a research help desk. But the library is so much more than that. We have a number of awesome behind-the-scenes folks who do tremendous work. Case in point: meet Hallie!

  1. What did you major in/are you majoring in at UWT?  I graduated last year with my Masters in Library and Information Science from the UW Information School in Seattle. My undergraduate degree was in French and Classical Studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.
  2. What’s your relationship to the UWT? For the past year or so, I’ve been working directly with Lauren Pressley, the Library Director, to support her while she’s balancing her work in Tacoma with also being President of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). This has included helping with communication here in Tacoma (have you checked out our news gallery on the Library homepage?), coordinating an ACRL blog series about equity, diversity, and inclusion in academic libraries, and many other projects.
  3. What drew you to working in libraries?  I was lucky enough to work in my campus library in undergrad, in the Periodicals and Mending departments. I loved being involved with the work that happened in the back: processing new materials, shelving, repairing old books and magazines so they could continue being used. There’s a lot that goes into having books on the shelves! Particularly, I loved the focus on access.  Any topic you could possibly want to learn about was there in the library – or could be retrieved through inter-library loan. After a few years post-graduation working in other industries, I realized I missed being involved in learning and student success.
  4. What parts of your job are you most excited about?  I get to work with all the wonderful library staff at UW Tacoma, plus I get to meet folks from all over the country through ACRL – the people are my favorite part of libraries. It’s really a profession where most everyone wants to help make things better for others. There are plenty of problems facing libraries, especially when it comes to our lack of equity and inclusion, but it’s heartening to be around people who care so passionately about education and social justice.
  5. Have you read anything good lately? For work, I’m reading Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. She was a speaker at ALA Midwinter a few weeks ago, and very clearly lays out many of the reasons why we white folks aren’t taught how to engage with structural racism without making it all about us. For fun, I’m excited to dive into The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo, a fantastical novel set in 1930s colonial Malaysia about a dancehall girl and an orphaned boy who investigate an old superstition about man-eating tigers who can turn into men.
  6. Any advice for UWT students? Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the library – all these resources are here just for you. Use the study spaces, read the books, search the online holdings, talk to the librarians and reference staff. There are a lot of ways to take advantage of what the library can do; in person, online, whatever suits your life and schedule. You don’t need to go through your program alone – if it ever feels overwhelming, just ask for help!

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