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Librarian Sally Bryant Celebrates 20 Years at Pepperdine

portrait of Sally Bryant

Sally Bryant, associate university librarian for public services and instruction, just hit the 20-year mark of working for Pepperdine Libraries, so she was a natural choice for this month’s featured profile. She began her career right after earning her MLIS degree from San Jose State University, first working in the Drescher Graduate Campus Library before moving up the ranks, including Head of Access Services, and now her current role, which she started two years ago. I sat down with Sally to learn more about the department she heads.

Jeff Bowen: Thanks for joining me for an interview today, Sally. Tell me about your role. What does your typical day look like?

Sally Bryant: I report to dean of Libraries Mark Roosa, and I oversee all aspects of Payson Library’s Public Services department, which supports student learning, faculty teaching, and research. My typical day varies quite a lot, which I like. I answer questions ranging from easy to extremely complex from the students, faculty, staff, and fellow library team members. I am on national and local librarian committees, Pepperdine University committees, and Pepperdine Libraries committees. Additionally, I’m the librarian liaison to the International Studies and Languages Division and also to the MFA in Screenwriting and the Film program.

JB: Tell me about the liaison program. What do liaisons do?

SB: Pepperdine librarians support outreach and collection development to Seaver divisions and programs. Every division at Seaver has its own librarian liaison. Librarian liaisons all have master’s degrees in library science at the minimum. They keep abreast of research and curricular needs with faculty in their divisions and pay close attention to peer libraries in choosing library materials. Librarian liaisons provide information literacy instruction, online research support tools, and one-on-one research assistance to faculty and students.

JB: What are some of the other “high touch” services provided by you and the public services team?

SB: I enjoy working with you, Jeff, in your library programming capacity to come up with ideas for informal events for the students at Payson at the end of the semester. Your readers might remember that last December students made gingerbread houses, and the previous December we had hosted a “bad art day.” It’s also fun to pick out new jigsaw puzzles for the students to complete at the end of the semester and offer our “snacky hours” as well. We’re here to help students with their learning and research as described earlier, but it’s also nice to offer a bit of stress relief.

JB: What do you like best about working in an academic library? What do you like best about working for Pepperdine?

SB: I feel working in higher education and being part of the library team at Pepperdine is having a job with the purpose of helping others, which I personally find very gratifying. 

JB: I appreciate your time, Sally. Before I go, one final question: What are you reading right now?

SB: Currently, I’m reading Time Biases: A Theory of Rational Planning and Personal Persistence by Meghan Sullivan since she came to speak at Pepperdine.