Congratulations, Brett Spencer, Our Librarian of the Year!

It is with great pleasure that Beta Phi Mu Beta Kappa Chapter present this year’s Librarian of the Year award to Brett Spencer.

Many of you know Brett, but for those of you who do not, let me tell you a bit about him.

Brett has been an Information Services Librarian at Gorgas Library at The University of Alabama for the past 12 years, where he liaises with the departments of History and Criminal Justice, as well as the Graduate School and the McNair Scholars Program. Brett is highly regarded by his colleagues far and wide, and according to his department head “is known as  a superb instructor and receives accolades from both faculty and graduate students.”

While Brett’s reputation as a librarian is beyond stellar, it is his service to the profession through the mentorship of young librarians that really stood out for us when considering him for this award. Over the past 12 years, Brett has been a key part of the grooming and preparation of young librarians across this state as the graduate assistants supervisor for Gorgas Information Services. In this role, Brett has worked with 1-4, and sometimes 5 UA SLIS students each semester, instructing them in reference, specialized database searching, library instruction, and collection development.  Under Brett’s guidance, graduate student assistants participate in these departmental activities along side professional librarians, gaining real world experience.

The students Brett has worked with are far flung across the United States, and hold jobs in a  variety of different types of libraries. When we inquired about the employment status of his former students, it seemed pretty clear that they are all gainfully employed, some with great amounts of responsibility. And they all credit him with giving them the practical experience they needed to succeed. When we asked some of Brett’s former mentees about him, they flooded us with tales of Brett’s influence on their careers. Lauren Dodd of Fairchild Research Information Center wrote “While I have been fortunate to work with several amazing librarian mentors since my entry to UA SLIS in 2009, none have had the impact on my career that Brett has.” Rachel Renick of Millsaps College wrote “Brett Spencer helps so many people without asking for anything in return. He deserves to be recognized for all he has done to help library patrons, library students and librarians.”

Brett’s CV is filled with peer-review articles, conference papers and poster sessions. The remarkable thing about his CV is that it chronicles the history of collaboration he has with the SLIS students that he mentors.  Each year, Brett’s students participate in conference presentations and poster presentations based on the work they do with him. Many of those presentations are followed through as papers, giving these freshly-minted librarians the solid experience of publishing a paper at the very beginning of their career.

It is for this service to young librarians in the state of Alabama that we have chosen Brett Spencer as the 2013 Beta Phi Mu Beta Kappa Chapter Librarian of the Year. Congratulations, Brett!



About sara maurice whitver

Sara Maurice Whitver is the Instruction Coordinator Librarian for the University of Alabama Libraries, where she engages in program development, assessment, and strategic planning for teaching and learning.

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