Shawnta Smith Joins the Graduate Center Library

Shawnta in front of the AWV dislpay

The Graduate Center Library is pleased to announce that Shawnta Smith has been appointed to the library as a permanent, full-time Instructor with specialization as a reference and instruction librarian. Ms. Smith served the Graduate Center as a part-time adjunct reference librarian 2011-2012, and she became a full-time substitute reference librarian in September 2012. She has distinguished herself in one-on-one consultation, in classroom instruction, in management of the library’s signage, publicity, and social media (she initiated this very library blog), in support of open access teaching and publishing, and in preservation of the Activist Women’s Voices (AWV) oral history collection. She is pictured here in front of library first floor display cases where she supervised installation of an exhibit about the AWV collection.

Ms. Smith earned her B.S. in Queer Women’s Studies from the CUNY Baccalaureate program and her M.L.S. from CUNY Queens College in 2008. She completed an internship at Bronx Community College in conjunction with her library degree. Since then she has held two positions at the Pratt Institute Library, first as Public Services Coordinator, then Evening Services Supervisor. She worked at the Brooklyn Public Library as a young adult reference librarian for four years, and she has served on the coordinating committee of the Lesbian Herstory Archives since 2007. Before joining the Graduate Center, Ms. Smith was the Archive Coordinator at StoryCorps,where she managed a digital archive of over 40,000 interviews and a large staff of interns and volunteers. She initiated a partnership between StoryCorps and the NYPL LGBT Archive at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Ms. Smith is at work on her MFA in Fiction at CUNY Queens College. Completion of her second master’s degree will qualify Ms. Smith’s appointment as Assistant Professor on the library faculty. While at work on that, she continues to be a prolific prose writer, speaker, and performer. She hosts a monthly cabaret, Rivers of Honey, a show highlighting the art of women of color at the WOW Cafe Theater where she is also a board member.  Her publications include “Black Gay Genius Interview with Lisa C. Moore” in Black Gay Genius: Joseph Beam and In the Life (forthcoming 2014), “Queer Housing Nacional” in Informed Agitation: Library and Information Skills in Social Justice Movements and Beyond (forthcoming 2013) and “Patricia’s Child, Patrick’s Penis & the Sex of Reference: A Lesbian Librarian’s Log of Perverse Patronage” in Out Behind the Desk: Workplace Issues for LGBTQ Librarians (2011).

Please join the library in welcoming Shawnta Smith to the CUNY Graduate Center community in her new and multiple capacities.


About the Author

Prof. Polly Thistlethwaite is CUNY's Interim University Dean for Library Services.