New librarian Kent brings diverse background to Ozarks

Release Date: 9/7/2012

Sarah Kent's love of books started when she was a child growing up in Colorado.

Sarah Kent

Sarah Kent is the new catalog librarian at the university's L.S. and Hazel C. Robson Library.

"Our local libraries were treasure troves of information and distractions," she said. "In school, I always sought refuge in the library when I felt like I wasn't getting the answers I was looking for in my classes."

Kent, the new catalog librarian in the university's L.S. and Hazel C. Robson Library, most recently worked at the law library at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Her eclectic professional career includes working as a journalist and in the publishing field. She also has worked as an adjunct professor and in various research positions with companies and organizations such as the Wal-Mart home office, Kawneer/Alcoa, Newlywed Foods, Immigration Equality, and Access to Justice.

"I've been working with information in various forms for the past 15 years," she said.

Kent's education background is also one of diversity. She earned bachelor's degrees in both speech/theatre and mass communication from the University of Central Arkansas. She has a law degree from Seattle University and a master's degree in library and information from the University of Alabama.

Kent said she first thought of a career in library and information after talking with a co-worker at one of her previous jobs.

"To be honest, I had always thought of librarianship as a great retirement plan, but one of my colleagues pointed out to me that it was also a worthwhile career path.," she said. "I still thank him every time we speak."

While most librarians do not have a law degree, Kent said it has been beneficial.

"Getting a law degree had a profound impact on the way I look at information," she said. "It forced me to think of information in a more pragmatic way, and it really sparked my interest in the way people process information."

As far as her reading interests, Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series has topped her list for many years.

"I got the 'More Than Complete' collection when I was in elementary school, and I carried it around in my crayon box, then my pencil box, then my backpack, and so on for years," she said. "At first, I really just enjoyed the humor, but as I have gotten older I appreciate, and can identify with, the questions the books pose as well as the commentary on societies, not just around the world, but across the universe."

She heard about the library position at Ozarks from a friend and was immediately impressed with the campus during her job interview.

"My first impression was that everyone was extremely warm and welcoming, even to job applicants who had not yet joined the Ozarks family," she said.

Kent said she is constantly amazed by the beauty of the campus and the surrounding area.

"I am taken in every day by the beauty and serenity of the campus," she said. "Although my office window looks out over a parking lot and another building's roof, I often steal a glance out the other windows in the library to admire the fountain, the flowers, and the trees. "
One of her goals for the library is to "see more patrons take advantage of the many resources the library provides."

"We're constantly adding new items to the collection and trying to find better ways to make the resources accessible," she said.

Kent and her husband, Michael Harper, have a 9-year-old daughter, Jordan, and a dog named Dexter.