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About the Library: Ms. Debra Deering-Barrett

This guide introduces you to the Houston Cole Library.

Ms. Debra Deering-Barrett

Debra Deering-Barrett

Q & A with Ms. Debra Deering-Barrett

Q: How did you get started working in libraries?

A: I was a student worker at Haralson County High School Library and it was there I fell in love with books. Upon moving to Alabama, I was blessed that Dr. Alta Millican took a chance on a painfully shy 18 year old, and gave me the opportunity to start working in the Cataloging Department at Houston Cole Library. 

Q: What is your background?

A: After graduating high school in my hometown of Tallapoosa, Georgia, I moved to Jacksonville, where I took classes in the medical field. But I soon realized my true calling was here at the library. This marks my 37th year here at JSU, all spent at Houston Cole.

Q: What do you do in your role as … at the Library?

A: As Supervisor of User Services, I supervise six full time employees, and am responsible for numerous areas here at the library. I oversee operations at the Circulation Desk, Listening Lab, and Reserves.  I manage the Interlibrary Loan Department, a responsibility I have held for going on 30 years now. I love helping our patrons find materials from other library collections, to enhance their research here at JSU. I have spent my entire adult life working at Houston Cole Library. I started in the Cataloging Department, moved to Serials, became departmental secretary and handled Interlibrary Loans, then became Supervisor of User Services. My time spent at JSU has given me a well-rounded library career.

Q: What is your favorite thing about (or most memorable experience) working at the Houston Cole Library?

A: Although this may be the tallest academic building in the state of Alabama, this library has always had a family feel to it. We have celebrated the birth of our children, the passing of parents and coworkers, and have spent years together in this building, forming friendships that last long after each of us is gone.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not working?

A: I read a lot of books each month, with mystery being my favorite.  Some of the authors that I read are J.A. Jance, Irish Johansen, and Craig Johnson, just to name a few.  I spend a lot of time with my family and wish that my daughter lived closer to home.

Q: Describe yourself in three words.

A: Dependable, Strong, Honest.

Q: What are some fun facts or interesting things you would like us to know about you?

A: I will soon become a grandmother for the first time. I know that my grandson will be a blessing in my life.   I have 13 dogs, strays I rescued through the years, as my country road became a dumping ground for unwanted pets. I couldn’t stand the thought of no one to care for them, so my home became their home.  I love to travel and have been in all the states at least once. I also have covered most of Canada.   I have hiked the Grand Canyon and lived to tell about it.

Q: In your own words… (tell us what you think about our profession, our Library, our University)

A: I think that I work at the best library in Alabama.  It’s awesome to see the library so early in the morning. With the moon and stars sometimes still visible and the sun not yet up, as I walk toward the library, key in hand and ready for my day, the library seems to glow. When I started at the Houston Cole Library, we still used typewriters and print catalogs.  Becoming automated made the job tasks more efficient.  Being automated also made the Houston Cole Library more user- friendly.  We have a wonderful campus that offers our students many opportunities. Of course, my personal favorite would be the library.