Alumni Profile: Edna Fugate

Edna Fugate, a 2013 graduate of the library and information science program at the University of Kentucky was named director of library services at the University of Pikeville in June 2019. Click here for the official announcement

How has your career progressed since you graduated from the University of Kentucky? 
Upon graduating from UK, I secured a position as Archivist and Reference Librarian with the University of Pikeville.  My job was to reopen an archive that had been closed for 10 years, while also providing reference support and teaching in the library.  It was an exciting opportunity that let me shape how the department grew. I spent almost five years in that position.  Being able to work within two fields gave me a slightly different view on preservation and accessibility and showed the importance for those in information professions to understand how individuals search and what we can do to help them find what they need.  In June, I began a new position as Director of Library Services for the University of Pikeville.

In your current job, what are your duties and responsibilities?
My new role is a move away from archives, which was difficult at first.  However, as Director, I am responsible for the overall direction of library services for our undergraduate and medical libraries. There are many specifics, but the overarching duties include administering the budget, supervising the librarians and staff, evaluating the digital and physical collections, and evaluating our future needs.

What drew you to your career? What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I have always gravitated to service professions.  I love to help people, and there are many different ways to do that.  For me, working in a library gives me the opportunity to help people find knowledge; to help them grow and see things in a different way.  I loved my work in archives because I could bring order to collections that were hidden, and make them accessible in new ways.  Now, I am responsible for making sure that all of our libraries, and the archives, provide a productive learning environment.  If feel incredibly lucky to be a part of that.

What more do you wish to accomplish professionally?
I am where I want to be for the moment.  I tend to focus on pushing the boundaries of whatever I am currently doing, and it takes some time to determine my next step.  I love an academic library environment, and I would like to see what new and interesting experiences might emerge during my time in academic libraries.

Is there any advice you would give to a recent grad who is just starting out?
It is important to realize that we are here for our patrons.  Librarians and archivists, like many professions, can get bogged down in the acronyms and the minutia.  While those have value and can help us, be mindful of your community - determine the information focus it needs, understand how it gathers information, and do what you can to help each experience as effective as possible. Also, don't limit yourself.  You may be set on being a public librarian, but don't let a good opportunity in a different situation pass you by.  There is a diverse career field available to you with this degree.  Be open to the different possibilities, both inside and outside libraries, and don't let something interesting pass by!