SUU professor is named Utah librarian of the year

Southern Utah University librarian Caitlin Gerrity was recognized by the Utah Library Association as the 2019 Librarian of the Year award, Cedar City, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, Cedar City News / St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University librarian Caitlin Gerrity was recognized by the Utah Library Association as the 2019 Librarian of the Year award.

Gerrity is an assistant professor of library media and the director of the library media program at SUU.

Each year, the Utah Library Association distributes six different awards. According to a press release from SUU, Gerrity’s grant-writing skills, creativity in designing instructional modules for Library Aide Basics and organization of summer boot camps for school librarians are a few of the many reasons why she has earned this accolade.

“I am honored and humbled to have my work recognized,” she said in the press release. “I am empowered in my work at SUU and in growing alongside the most collaborative, innovative, and change-making folks in the state.”

Gerrity earned her bachelor’s in English and Communication from Temple University and her master’s degree in library science and K-12 teaching endorsement from Drexel University.

Originally, she didn’t consider librarianship as a career. It was working her first post-graduate job as research assistant for the Philadelphia Housing Authority that convinced her otherwise.

“I had the opportunity to organize a small library, comprised of donations, in a new community center at one of the city’s affordable housing complexes,” Gerrity said. “This project was really motivating to me, and so I began to research librarianship as a career. It has turned out to be the perfect melding of my skills and inclinations towards teaching, research, and public service.”

She originally came to work at SUU in 2015 as an instruction librarian. She has written many successful grants in collaboration with Associate Dean of the Library Matt Nickerson, which have resulted in several projects. More recently the SUU library received a grant to create an open online training for school library aides in Utah, according the the press release.

For the past two years, Gerrity has also organized and coordinated school librarians across Utah to visit the campus for two days of professional learning. SUU has provided many career growth opportunities for Gerrity. In the fall semester, she will serve as an associate director for the Center for Teaching and Learning on campus. She also recently appeared in a podcast with CETL.

“She’s been a totally awesome colleague here at SUU,” said Anne Diekema, department chair and assistant professor of library media. “The award couldn’t have gone to a better librarian.”

Gerrity said she is passionate about her career and would love to share more information about librarianship with curious students.

“Come talk to me! I’ll help dispel any of those misconceptions about old curmudgeonly librarians who shush people. This is a dynamic, people-centered career, and I would love to answer any questions and chat about graduate school opportunities.”

The Gerald R. Sherratt Library has many librarians and staff willing to help students with any of their needs. For more information about the library and its services, visit the website.

The Utah Library Association has been in service for more than 100 years. Its mission is to “serve the professional development and educational needs of its members and to provide leadership and direction in developing and improving library and information services in the state.”

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