“It’s time to give the next generation their chance,” said Dr. Janet Brewer. “I’ve brought it this far. I feel really good about the work I’ve done and want to see where it can go from there.”
As she retires from AU after serving as library director at the Nicholson Library for 18 years, Brewer reflects on her time serving AU’s campus and students.
Although her departure from being library director will be bittersweet, Brewer has thoroughly enjoyed her time working with students over the years.
“My favorite part of my job has always been working with the students,” she said. “I enjoy very much getting to know them, helping them with their research needs and showing them how to do things.”
Brewer knows how valuable of a resource the library can be for students, and she hopes that students also see how important the library can be for them and their studies.
“Part of it is an extrinsic importance of the library as a place and what that can mean to students as a safe place, as a welcoming space, as a hospitable space and as my space,” explained Brewer. “I like to think that in their heart of hearts, students saw the library as an important thing for their success as a student.”
With changes in technology and access to the internet over the years, Brewer noted that some individuals now see the library as outdated or unnecessary. However, Brewer explained that the library is about so much more than just books.
“That’s one of the big changes about libraries,” explained Brewer. “It’s not about the building. It’s about access to information in whatever format you can find it.”
During her time as library director at AU, one of the things that Brewer is most proud of is the improvements the library has continued to make to create a more welcoming space for students. These recent improvements include the creation of the commuters lounge on the ground floor of the library, the honors program area on the third floor of the library, and the hammock section on the ground floor.
“We’ve come a long way,” said Brewer. “We’ve done a lot of things that really spruce things up.”
Brewer’s biggest wish is that AU students continue to be curious learners during their time at AU and beyond. Brewer explained why having a sense of curiosity is so important during the current times we all live in.
“I think it’s so important right now that we’re able to accept people where they are and be curious about why people think certain ways and why they think a certain way is the way it should be. Not to be confrontational, but to be curious about another person and realize we are all made in the image of God. Let’s be curious about why we think the way we think.”
After Brewer steps down from her position, James Bell, the current reference librarian at AU, will be taking over as library director.
“They’ve made a wonderful choice in James Bell to step into this role,” said Brewer. “He’s got a history now with AU and has been here seven or eight years. He’s a bright, young man who loves libraries, loves what he does and loves students… I’m anxious to see where he can take the library next.”
For 18 years, Brewer has been a vital part of the AU community with her dedication to Nicholson Library and students. Although her departure from AU is “bittersweet,” she looks back at her time as library director with fondness and looks forward to a new chapter in life and what it will bring.