Ford has worked in a library setting for more than 30 years. Photo by Jasmyne Ray for The Alabamian.
After six years in the position, Kathy Lowe has stepped down as the director of Carmichael Library. Taking her place is Dr. Charlotte E. Ford.
“I’ve always loved libraries, and have worked in library settings for more than 30 years” Ford said. Born in Lexington, Ky., she began her career as most librarians do: shelving books in the public library. Since then, she has worked in a library in some capacity, either as a librarian or library science instructor in Florida, Indiana, California and now Alabama. She’s even gone overseas to work in libraries in Colombia and Honduras.
“After meeting the people who work in the library, as well as other members of the UM community, I felt like this would be a wonderful place to work,” Ford said. “There seems to be a spirit of inquiry and creativity on campus, among students, faculty and staff – and lots of energy around academic and artistic pursuits.”
While under Lowe’s direction, the library fully embraced the technology of the 21st century; students are able to rent Chromebooks to use in the library, the Digital Media Lab and 3D Print Lab were created and the Starbucks on the ground floor wasn’t a bad touch either.
“The next big project on the horizon is the creation of the Pat Scales Special Collections Room on the second floor of the library, which will be going on this year,” Ford said. “And of course we will continue to explore ways to support information, literacy and academic research among our students and faculty.”
Not only is Ford eager to get to know students, she’s also intrigued by University traditions like Founders’ Day, College Night and even cereal nights in the library during finals week.
“I believe a library is central to the academic and creative life of a college campus,” Ford said. “Libraries are uniquely positioned to support inquiry and learning across the disciplines, to serve as gathering places for all kinds of students and researchers and to preserve and promote the identity of a university.”
As director, she wants to build on what she’s observed so far at the University: that the library is “a welcoming and responsive place.”