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Stephanie Brown to retire after 14 years directing Park Library

Stephanie Brown poses for a portrait in Park Library on Wednesday, April 5, 2023. Brown, Park Library's director, is retiring after 14 years on the job.

Rory the Pig, the Park Library’s stuffed animal mascot, will remain in her spot on the corner of the library’s circulation desk next year, but the woman who chose her will not. 

Stephanie Brown, director of the Park Library in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, will retire at the end of this semester after 14 years on the job. 

“I just feel like there’s so many things I want to do that I can’t do when I am working full-time,” she said. “And, you know, the pandemic was like, ‘Oh, this is what it’s like.'”

During her 14 years at the University, Brown helped organize scholarly resources to assist students and faculty in their research, projects and papers. One of her biggest goals was to expand and strengthen the Park Library as a campus resource, and professors and students alike believe she has done so. 

“Stephanie has been invaluable to me and my colleagues who teach these courses as a resource, because she shows our students how to make the most of the wonderful resources at the library,” associate professor Nori Comellosaid.

Comello is the chairperson of Hussman’s Access, Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity committee — also known as ABIDE. This past year, Comello said she was honored to work alongside Brown in enforcing inclusion within the school.

“Stephanie served on the committee this past year and was instrumental in spearheading some initiatives that have to do with the curriculum subcommittee she was in," Comello said. 

Along with other members of her subcommittee, Brown initiated an inclusive teaching book club. The group chose the book “Inclusive Teaching,” written by UNC professors Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy, and sought to learn about promoting equity in campus teaching practices. Faculty and staff regularly met to discuss literary content and how to further apply it to their academic pursuits.

Along with her role as Park Library director, Brown is considered by many students across campus to be a guide and inspiration.

“I think Stephanie is a really amazing director of the Park Library, and she is obviously very passionate about the position,” Taelor Wright, a first-year graduate student at the UNC School of Information and Library Science, said.

Wright is an assistant at the Park Library. 

“Me, personally, I feel like I’ve learned a lot from her and that she’s helping me become an even better future librarian," Wright said.

Maggie O’Sullivan, a second-year graduate student completing her master’s in information science and library science, is also a graduate assistant at the Park Library. She, too, has learned many lessons from Brown.

“I would say she’s definitely had a great impact on me as a librarian,” she said.

Brown mentioned how she loves teaching library students in her spare time and prioritizes being a model of what a librarian should be to students like O’Sullivan and Wright.

While directing the Park Library and teaching over a decade’s worth of passionate students at the University, Brown pursued several other endeavors that made her happy. In 2010, she was the first on campus to bring therapy dogs into a library, as she felt it would encourage students to persevere and would emphasize how much animals meant to her.

Outside of the library, she enjoys amateur photography, and in her retirement, she looks forward to picture-perfect moments. 

“I want to learn more and take better pictures,” she said. 

Her last day on campus is May 5, and her retirement from the library is official on June 1. Following her retirement, Brown plans to keep teaching as an adjunct at the School of Information and Library Science. 


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