The Librarian Is In

By KATRINA SPENCER

Literatures and cultures librarian Katrina Spencer is liaison to the Anderson Freeman Center, the Arabic department, the French department, the Gender Sexuality & Feminist Studies (GSFS Program), the Language Schools, Linguistics and the Spanish & Portuguese departments. These affiliations are reflected in her reading choices. “While I am a very slow reader, I’m a very critical reader,” she says. 

Pages: 159
The What

Having grown up in the South Bronx, New York, Antiguan-born author Carol Tonge Mack is a Middlebury College graduate from the class of 1995. While she completed a bachelor’s degree in history, her undergraduate experience became rather unique when she found out she was pregnant during her first year of studies. As one might ascertain from a quick and cursory survey of our campus, mothers are not the “non-traditional” students that tend to matriculate here. Facing the challenge of simultaneously becoming a mother and completing a college degree in the 90s, Carol was faced with some difficult decisions. This memoir tells the story of how she made sacrifices for both her education and her offspring, a road that ultimately led her on a path to success, yet one that was not without bumps, turns and detours.

The Why

During the Alumni of Color Weekend this year, I met Carol, an affable and generous woman with an indulgent sense of humor and warm personality when I attended her book talk hosted at the Anderson Freeman Center. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the event, but after having some breakfast bites, an audience came in and sat to hear her speak. She was interviewed by her former classmate, Trustee Leilani M. Brown, author of From Campus To Cubicle: 25 Tips For Your First Professional Year. There I learned that Carol is now part of the administrative staff at the University of Cincinnati where she works as the Director of Student Retention Initiatives. She gave her book talk in the same building on our campus, the former site of the health center, where she first found she was pregnant more than 20 years ago. I was moved by her story and convinced I’d request a copy be purchased for the libraries.

During the Q&A session, I asked Carol how her personal narrative impacted the ways she engages the topic of sex education on her campus, a question that continues to intrigue me. While there is a newer wave of rhetoric surrounding sex positivity and certainly a burgeoning one surrounding sexual assault, sex education still needs louder, more frequent and consistent voicing. I’d recommend this work to anyone interested in knowing more about our alums of color and their present day activities.

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The Librarian Is In