I was employed as a library student assistant on the St. Croix campus of the College of the Virgin Islands in the 1970s. Today, I manage both campus libraries at the University of the Virgin Islands. In the 1970s, I was pursuing the secretarial program and had no idea where life would take me. However, the nurturing and supportive senior staff members at CVI were more than willing to offer me a taste of a wide variety of experiences that helped to shape the professional I am today. All these years later, it is still the exemplary integrity, hard work and positive outlook of CVI/UVI mentors that continue to inspire and impact my career.
I credit Melba Biggs for deciding early on that I had potential for teaching, hiring me as tutor in the Upward Bound Program that she directed – an early introduction to the educator role that I have today. As a young student worker, I assisted in numerous academic registration processes in a variety of roles: either as cashier with Glen Lukey (how times have changed – I don’t believe student workers are given cashier roles anymore); or as registrar’s student assistant with Dr. Ronald Harrigan and Juanita Woods. (We had a manual system for tracking closed courses, and for monitoring student placement test results that rivals anything SunGard Banner can produce today).
Dr. Henry Chang and Marjorie Masters gave me my first introduction to libraries and the critical role of librarians in life-long learning. Paying attention to detail, ensuring organization and orderliness of collections and processes, encouraging faculty involvement in collection development to support academic programs, and providing high quality customer service were all modeled so well by the library administrators, I knew I could do no less when I became campus librarian on St. Croix.
|Judith Rogers - CVI 1976 Yearbook|
I was also shaped by the superior academic quality of the student body, such as Debra Franklin Maragh and upper-class student J’Ada Finch-Sheen, and the love of learning portrayed by faculty such as Erika (Smilowitz) Waters, and later, Dr. Arnold Highfield. The family fun days with donkey races and BBQs, and Ideas and Issues discussions with renowned authors and civic leaders like Bayard Rustin ensured a fun and stimulating learning environment. Thus, when I completed my two-year secretarial program, continuing my undergraduate education was the automatic next step. After re-locating to complete my BA in psychology, and MLIS in library and information science, I grasped the first opportunity available to return to UVI as a librarian.
I am very delighted to share in UVI’s Golden Jubilee celebration of growth and service to the USVI community. It is rewarding to note that the UVI libraries have embraced and led in the institution’s transformation. Reshaping UVI librarian roles from emphasis on locally-housed collections to the learning commons user-focus, with access to resources worldwide, brings my professional experience full circle. Happy 50th UVI!
Judith V. Rogers is now the manager of both libraries at UVI.