In the books … an interview with librarian Charlcie Pettway Vann


Charlcie Pettway Vann helps Cocky in the Houston Cole Library. Vann was honored  the National Library Week’s Librarians Creating Communities of Kindness contest in 2015 (photo by Steve Latham/JSU).

Brittany RobertsonStaff Writer


Charlcie Pettway Vann works on the 2nd floor of the Houston Cole Library. The 2nd floor houses subjects on Psychology and Philosophy, General Studies, Library Science and Religion. Vann has been a Houston Cole Librarian for 12 years.


BR: What were you before you became a librarian?

 VANN: “I am originally from New Jersey, but I had family here in Alabama. I have an Associate degree in Public Policy and a Bachelor’s in Urban Studies. I came here to Jacksonville State University when I learned that they had a job opening for a librarian. At the time, I was living in Florida with my husband and daughter, looking for a job in Atlanta. I have family there. However, I almost did not take the job because my husband had his own job offer elsewhere. When things did not work out, I had to have a slice of humble pie and ask if the position was still available. But I am glad I came here. Everyone has been so kind to me, almost like family.”

After completing her Bachelor’s degree, she received her Master’s of Library Science from North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C.

Charlcie Pettway Vann (photo courtesy of Houston Cole Library)


BR: What is the best part about being a librarian?

VANN: “Helping people, finding information for students. There is this stigma of fear when it comes to being in the library, so I see my job as making students feel comfortable when researching.”


BR: When you are not here at the library, what do you enjoy doing?

VANN: “I’m honestly on duty all the time. If I’m not at work, I have family or friends calling me up and asking if they can help them find something. When I do get a break, I love watching movies, walking, cycling. I love to shop, too.”


BR: Coffee or Tea? Poetry or Prose?

VANN: “Poetry. As for my drink, I say both. I have to be in the mood for coffee, and tea I’ll drink when I’m feeling under the weather.”


BR: Favorite book?

VANN: “The Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. It’s a very good book, very powerful.”


BR: Do you think librarians are still relevant? Why?

VANN: “Of course. Librarians have this art of being able to search for information that is needed at the time. These days, with access to computers, that does not mean that people are more knowledgeable. Just because you have a device like a computer or a tablet doe not mean that all the knowledge is there. I feel like being able to process information in small parts and using critical thinking skills is very important. That is part of my job as a librarian is to teach these skills to students.”

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Charlcie Pettway Vann (pictured back row, second from right) with the other JSU librarians in 2008 (photo by Steve Latham/JSU).


BR: If you were not a librarian, what would you be?

VANN: “I would volunteer for a nonprofit that helps women dress and prepare for job interviews. As I said earlier I love to shop, so being able to help women look their best would be something I would enjoy doing.”


BR: It has been great getting to know you. My final question for you is do you have any advice to give to  students?

VANN: “Have a plan. I would tell anyone to have some kind of plan for where they are going. Maybe go continue your education, maybe go straight into the workforce. Just have a plan and be flexible. See every goal you have to the very end.”

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