As you step into McMorrough Library, the first thing you notice is the front desk. It is in the center of view of a guest and behind it, often, the head librarian, Daniel Shemwell, will be standing there. He could be doing various tasks, from helping a student figure out how to print an assignment to aiding a professor in various tasks. Shemwell is the heart of McMorrough Library, found on the Goodman Campus, the main campus out of two more (Ridgeland and Grenada).
Shemwell is well-spoken, matched well with his earnest tone. He is accommodating and attentive to those around him, a necessary personality trait considering the setting of his work. When asked to be interviewed to be a source in the student newspaper The Growl, Shemwell was amiable in his willingness, quick to provide a suitable time to oblige the interviewee.
The role of Shemwell as head librarian varies in types, from providing user services to helping connect the students and staff to the information they need, to ordering, cataloging and preparing materials. Shemwell mentioned that “while typical four-year universities have specialized librarians to work with thousands of students as opposed to a couple of thousands in a community college . . . here I do every aspect of the library [work] except for acquisitions.” Not only that, Shemwell also plays a major part in maintaining the library databases and supervising the work-study students.
There are many students that are looking to work as a librarian, and when Shemwell was asked if there was any advice, he would like to share he replied that, “My best advice is that you find a school that is accredited . . . One that offers a wide variety of things. You need to find a field that will teach you how to catalog and how to use metadata . . . Many schools don’t focus on that aspect.” While school librarians are the only type to be required to obtain a certificate in Mississippi (Mississippi Librarian Certification, n.d.), the educational requirement of a master’s degree in library and information science is necessary for entry-level positions.
McMorrough Library tends to change its theme with the campus events and holidays. Shemwell was asked how the library and staff work around it to which he obliged that “Well we usually plan everything with it. For most of our events we plan to involve the library and/or our students … Our Christmas tree that we put up we try to get students to come and hang stuff if they wanted … for Halloween we tend to have a trick-or-treat [activity]. We don’t try to plan around holidays, we try to plan into them.” Not only does the library fix its schedule around different celebrations, it also “. . . hosts different events…” Shemwell in particular mentioned that this year the library has a “. . . Civil War event planned . . . there will be speakers and things like that . . . there are a lot of things that we like to do that involve our students.” Just the preceding semester in the spring, the library helped host an open lecture for Humanities Teacher Award winner Lashonda Levy entitled ‘Beauty and Poise: Women Writers of the Harlem Renaissance.’
Aside from the huge catalog of books, movies, and video games that the library offers, there is a certain space in the back of the library commonly known as ‘The Makerspace’ where Shemwell and his work-study students work on 3D and laser printers as well as illuminators and various tools to create whatever the campus and community might need. When asked what Shemwell would like to say to our dear readers, he courteously replied “Come use the library! We are here to help.”
The library hours for the Goodman, Grenada and Ridgeland Campuses are:
Monday-Wednesday 7 am to 6 p.m.
Thursday: 7-5 p.m.