From Recipes to Reference: Erica Eynouf ’10MS Finds “Kismet” at SLIS West
SLIS West has taken root as a local entity. It has grown into itself as not only part of Simmons University, but also as an integral part of the Western Mass library community.
School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) Adjunct Erica Eynouf ’10MS, Dean of Library Services at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), attended the SLIS West program. And the library at STCC has benefited from the proximity.
“Six out of 12 employees are SLIS graduates,” she says, including herself in the count. “We’ve built a great network out here. SLIS West has taken root as a local entity. It has grown into itself as not only part of Simmons University, but also as an integral part of the Western Mass library community.”
Eynouf’s own route to librarianship was circuitous. After failing to complete her undergraduate degree, Eynouf opened a restaurant in 1993. “I worked seven days a week for three years,” she reports, “But I didn’t have the business experience.” She closed the restaurant and moved to Woodstock, VT, then on to Western Massachusetts.
There she was a pastry chef and alternative recipe developer at Whole Foods, and finished her BA at Mount Holyoke as a Francis Perkins Scholar for non-traditionally aged students. “I fell in love with the library there, and when I learned about SLIS West — it was kismet.”
She finished her degree in 2010 while working as an evening reference librarian at Holyoke and other community libraries. After graduation, she was hired part-time at STCC and spent two years working at four different libraries. “In 2016, someone mentioned a teaching role for academic libraries at SLIS West.” She now teaches LIS 451 “Academic Libraries” and would love to teach management or user instruction in the future.
So what does the former restaurateur and recipe developer recommend to current and prospective students? “Try as many milieus as possible,” she says, “and be open to changing your mind — you don’t have to be wedded to your original plan.”
She also suggests keeping an eye out for non-traditional roles for library and information science professionals. “Radical storytelling, using archival knowledge and media skills, that’s an exciting area.”
As for Eynouf, she’s excited about the future at STCC. “Things are changing rapidly, but we’re in an exciting time. STCC moved into a new building. We weeded the collection from 56,000 to 23,000 works, and circulation has gone up. It goes to show what good collection development can do for a library. It's also important to make sure that your collection is representative of your student population in addition to being culturally sensitive.”