Anne Mead has been a staple in the Northwestern Dewitt Learning Commons for some time now. She has been at Northwestern for 20 years, and at the end of this academic year, she will be retiring.
If you’ve spent a good chunk of time in the LC, you have probably seen Anne. She has been involved in a lot on campus, and within the LC.
“There’s a lot you can do in 20 years,” she said.
Mead has helped numerous departments set up their subject guides throughout the years, helping students and faculty generate new knowledge and access new ways of acquiring information. She has also helped professors decide on what books to offer in class, having been a library liaison. In the past, she was the government documents librarian, and she has also managed NW’s online database subscriptions.
While Mead is not from around here, she has fit into the midwest of NW. She was born on the East Coast and for a time, she worked at a small university college library in New Jersey to support her and her husband, Jim. She followed him to Orange City, and they’ve lived here ever since. Not only has Mead worked in the library, but she has also given talks about marriage in the women’s dorms, and she’s enjoyed being able to experience all the college has to offer, such as concerts and sporting events.
One thing Mead will always remember is the big move from the Ramaker library to the Dewitt Learning Commons.
“We had a lot of fun [moving to the LC], but it was hard work,” she said.
People lined up along the green to pass books from Ramaker to the LC and it was, as she says, “very symbolic.” Mead admits that she’ll miss the intellectual stimulation that comes from working in such an academic environment, but more than that, she will miss her colleagues and working with the NW students.
“Just being around college students is a privilege, and we have such wonderful students here,” Mead said.
While Mead will undoubtably miss working at NW, her colleagues in the library will miss her that much more.
“I’ll miss Anne’s sense of humor and her wide range of knowledge about walruses, blue people and Netflix shows,” said Sara Huyser, access services coordinator in the LC.
Sherri Langton, library systems specialist, describes Mead as “welcoming and kind” and says that Mead is known for entertaining the library staff during their coffee breaks with her old cheer routines from back in the day.
Heather Sas, acquisitions and serials coordinator in the LC, said, “I’ve always admired Anne’s helpful nature with students and all the authentic connections she made with all of us.”
Perhaps the one who will miss her most on campus is her husband. Mead says it’s been so nice to work in the same place as her husband for such a long time and will miss seeing him around campus.
“Anne is the love of my life and a wonderful partner in our family’s journey,” he said. “Among the many qualities I’ve admired about her work as a librarian is her commitment to the academic reputation of the college. She’s worked tirelessly for the development of the library’s collection, resources for faculty scholarship and reference tools for our students. Those are key aspects of her legacy here.”
During her retirement, Mead is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren in Michigan and catching up on some projects at home. She hopes to spend more time pursuing her interests, such as reading and sewing. She’s even thinking about getting her guitar restrung.
“The biggest challenge now will be who am I now? I don’t get to say that I’m a librarian anymore,” Mead said.
If you see Mead around this semester, be sure to thank her for all she’s done and wish her a happy retirement.