Alumna Elizabeth Housewright Recognized for Library Leadership and Innovation

During her seventeen years as a librarian at California State University Fullerton (CSUF), Housewright provided collaborative leadership and developed innovative programs to support the needs of patrons and staff. “I’ve enjoyed wonderful opportunities to learn about new approaches to library services, and to work with many talented people,” she said.

CSUF awarded the title of Associate University Librarian, Emeritus, to Housewright in 2011 to recognize her many years of service to the campus community. At various times during her tenure she headed the Instruction and Information Services, Access Services, and Library Systems departments at Fullerton’s Pollak Library, and served on numerous campus committees and task forces. As an Associate University Librarian she oversaw library budgets, personnel, and facilities, and worked with campus Information Technology to establish a Faculty Academic Technology Center to provide assistance in the use of new and emerging technologies. She also played a key role in helping SJSU SLIS serve students in Southern California through its distance learning programs.

Housewright was one of the first students to earn a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree from SJSU SLIS after the School established a distance learning branch at CSU Fullerton in 1989. She attended in-person classes while working as a Lecturer in Fullerton’s Department of Biological Science, and eventually became Pollak Library’s subject specialist for the science and engineering disciplines.

Housewright later worked with her colleagues to support professional development opportunities for library employees, many of whom who were enrolled in SJSU SLIS classes on campus. She was also part of a collaborative effort to develop an innovative cross-training program for Access Services staff to help them gain experience in different departments.

When the SJSU SLIS program moved to a fully online format in 2009, Housewright played a significant role in renewing the agreement with CSUF to ensure that the Library would continue to provide resources for local SLIS students.

“The original agreement focused on the on-campus amenities that students and faculty needed for learning, like classrooms and teaching resources,” Housewright explained. “Some of those arrangements no longer made sense in the virtual environment, but we still wanted to support SLIS faculty who have offices on campus and SLIS students who physically come to the library.” Housewright worked with CSUF administrators and former SLIS Director Dr. Ken Haycock to update the agreement between the two universities.

Building professional connections through teamwork has served Housewright well throughout her career. As a student she formed relationships with her instructors, which led to internships and to her first library job after graduating in 1991. Housewright has also collaborated on numerous conference presentations, grants, and publications, most recently co-authoring a chapter in the forthcoming book The Associate University Librarian Handbook: a Resource Guide.

“My advice to students and new professionals is to put your hand up, and say yes when someone asks you to take on a new role or serve on a committee,” Housewright said. “Look for those opportunities, and try to connect with people you want to work with.”

Housewright also holds a BA in Biology (Neurobiology and Behavior) from Cornell University and an MA in Biology (Immunology) from CSU Fullerton. Her contributions to academic librarianship and to SJSU SLIS will be recognized at a College of Applied Sciences and Arts awards ceremony in May 2012.