A (Partial) Farewell to Anna

Librarian Anna Salyer takes a step toward retirement!

Well, it’s happening...sort of!  Librarian Anna Salyer—a familiar face in the UW Tacoma Library and across campus, and mentor to so many—has taken a step toward retirement!  After taking most of the summer off to relax and travel a bit, fortunately, she will return to work at the library on a limited schedule—two days a week—so she won’t be entirely gone!  Still, we thought now would be a great time to reflect on Anna’s career and her contributions to UW Tacoma since she was hired here in 2003...  Librarian Anna Salyer

Anna has been the librarian at UW Tacoma for Criminal Justice, Gender Studies, Grants and Nonprofits, Healthcare Leadership, Nursing, and Social Work.  She is also the longtime contact for the Foundation Center Collection, hosted at UW Tacoma Library; she has trained countless individuals and workshop groups in how to write a great scholarship or grant proposal, and how to use the Foundation Center database to seek funding for their education and nonprofit work.  In addition, Anna is, of course, the Library’s Head of Community Outreach—staffing orientations tables and warmly welcoming students at all levels to UW Tacoma.  She is an expert reference librarian, too, spending untold hours on the reference desk in the Snoqualmie Building, instructing students and community members in how to use the library, and meeting individually with dozens or perhaps even hundreds of students over the years, giving them tailored research guidance for class projects, term papers, Capstones, and dissertations.

With skills as rich as that, it’s clear that Anna is a natural librarian.  Yet she says that, while going to libraries has always been part of her life, she had not considered being a librarian until she was living in Nome, Alaska, in her early 30s.  In fact, her first library job was a bit of an accident:  “I was working at Northwest College in Nome, doing contract typing for their accreditation report, when the library assistant quit right before school started, so I started filling in and then applied and got the permanent position.  The director was not a librarian but had an MBA, and she encouraged me to start taking distance education courses about providing programming and services,” Anna says.

Then she was offered a position at Kegoayah Kozga Public Library, in Nome, Alaska, as the Village Library Coordinator.  “I got to travel to the villages around Norton Sound to help set up and/or manage their libraries, write their funding grants, and provide trainings for their staff.  After doing this job for a couple of years, I decided it was time to go back to school and get my Master of Library Science—which I did at the UW Seattle campus,” Anna explains.  

Eventually Anna found herself hired at the UW Tacoma Library, in July of 2003.  Of her years at UW Tacoma, Anna says that, to her, the biggest change was UW Tacoma going from an institution that only offered upper division and masters-level courses to being a four-year institution—a change that has certainly expanded her work in the library as well.  She adds, “I’ve also seen five chancellors come and go and am hoping #6 stays for a while to provide some much needed continuity.”

How has the UW Tacoma Library in particular changed since she started here?  Anna shares, “There have been so many changes with this library: the new Tioga Library Building and relocating most of the books to that space, the Teaching and Learning Center moving into the Snoqualmie Building with the Library, and the many staff and students who have passed through,” just to name a few of the evolutions she has seen while working at the library.  The most challenging part of her job, she says, is keeping up with the technological changes:  “If it wasn’t for our amazing reference assistants keeping me informed about the latest and greatest tools...I’d be hard pressed to find the time to attend additional workshops and trainings.”

Anna with Margaret Lundberg of the Teaching & Learning Center

It is clear that one of Anna’s greatest strengths on the job is working with people.  Her warm and welcoming countenance has touched countless students, staff, faculty, and community members at UW Tacoma and beyond.  And her seasoned professional skills have enriched research taking place all across campus.

In fact, in recognition of her immense contributions, last year Anna was awarded UW Tacoma's Distinguished Service Award.  “It’s a wonderful recognition that what I do and how I do it is helpful to our students and the UW Tacoma community.  It’s an honor that does not solely belong to me.  All of the staff here hold the same priority of serving our patrons with the highest standards in resources and services and we work together as a team; I feel it belongs to us all.”

But clearly so much can be attributed to Anna!  And you don’t have to take my word for it.  Below, find a sampling of comments about Anna, shared from individuals across campus.  If you'd like to drop Anna a note, you can contact her at anna3@uw.edu.

In closing, Anna, we thank you for all that you have done, the many lives you have touched, the careers you have helped launch, and the days you have brightened with your smile!  We are lucky that you are returning at the end of August, to work a limited schedule.  Best wishes for a relaxing and refreshing summer, and the campus will see you again in the fall!  

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I am writing to say thank you to Anna Salyer for all of her help over the years.  She introduced library resources to students in the Nursing and Healthcare Leadership Program as part of their Transition to Baccalaureate Education course.  Her presentation style was very inviting and helped students feel more comfortable with the potentially intimidating volume of resources available to them.  I could honestly testify to students about my experiences trying to locate resources and the (often immediate) help Anna provided.  I cannot count the number of times I needed a journal article or access to another resource when a quick e-mail to Anna was answered with the exact answer I needed.  She knows her stuff and is generous and humble about sharing her wealth or knowledge, tips, and tricks to help us all be better researchers.  Thank you, Anna!
 

Katie Anne Haerling (Adamson), PhD, RN
Associate Professor, Nursing and Healthcare Leadership 

UW Tacoma

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Anna Salyer is the UWT Foundation Center website expert.  Because of this, she has taught not only countless students in the Nonprofit Studies Program, but shared her expertise with Tacoma-area nonprofits.  I tap into Anna’s understanding of how to best use this service by inviting my students to the library for an intensive session. This enables our students to learn a valuable skill. Anna’s patience and stories make her sessions with the students a great experience. Anna additionally meets with the students as they return to find foundations interested in supporting their grants. In fact, many students return long after they graduate to tap Anna’s knowledge and continue to use the Foundation Center website.  She is always willing to help.  Thank you, Anna!
 
- Ruth Bernstein
Associate Professor, Social and Historical Studies
School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

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Anna, mentor doesn't even begin to describe our relationship. You came into my life and forever changed it...
When I was interested in becoming a librarian, you welcomed me to join the docent program.
When I applied to my graduate degree, you wrote me a letter of reference. 
When I was nervous about my first librarian interview, you coached me.
When I returned to UW Tacoma, you hugged me. 
And when my Oliver was born, you were there (enchiladas in hand for us hungry parents) to meet him. 
I love you so much and am so happy that you'll still be around as I can't imagine my life without you in it.  

- Katie Monks
Head, Instruction Services
UW Tacoma Library

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Although I've only been at UWT for one year, I appreciate Anna's help and support to me and my students a lot. I've sent many students to Anna for help with the research class. As a new faculty member, knowing that students can get quality mentoring in the library is a huge favor and support for me. Thank you.

- Weichao Yuwen, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor, Nursing and Healthcare Leadership
UW Tacoma

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Anna has been a warm, generous mentor to a generation of students on this campus and in the community.  She has been a tremendously encouraging mentor to me personally.  She kept me going when I cringed at the thought of writing a personal statement for grad school, she wrote letters of support whenever I asked, and she always made time to listen.  I can’t list all the students who told me how helpful and encouraging ‘that wonderful librarian that works on Sundays’ is.  Anna is someone I feel blessed to know and call a friend.

Serin Anderson
Collections and Budget Librarian
UW Tacoma Library

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Dear Anna  Although I have only met you a couple of occasions, and very briefly, at that, you have had an enormous impact on our arts students and their ability to share their work with the campus community.  When we arrived on campus in 2003 to create a new arts program, we were given studios for the faculty and a gallery to share student work.  Over time those resources were taken away, and it became much more difficult to share student work on the campus.  I want to thank you for the confidence you have in our arts faculty and students, and express true gratitude for your generosity and for taking our students’ creative work seriously.  We are so happy that you will continue to work with us in your new role.
 
- Beverly Naidus
Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts
UW Tacoma

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Anna has been an enthusiastic advocate of displaying student art in the library, and has deftly, and with an indomitable sense of humor, negotiated gentle re-installation of creaky sculptures, and helped explain challenging content in response to myriad questions.  What she does to support student artwork is an art in itself; we are grateful she is up for including this support as part of her upcoming reduced work schedule!  Congratulations on having a bit more time for new adventures, Anna!  Have a sweet summer; we look forward to working with you again this fall.

- Elizabeth Conner
Lecturer, Culture, Arts and Communication
UW Tacoma

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Anna was (and continues to be) a great resource for me when I first started here.  She is the queen of the reference interview and I learned so much just by observing her conversations with students.  It's clear she wants everyone to succeed, and is so good at helping them get there.  Her sunny disposition also helps brighten the library whenever she's around.

- Meredith Forrey
Graduate Reference Assistant
UW Tacoma Library

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Anna:  Your energy, enthusiasm, and endeavors for the library, students, the campus, and beyond will not be matched any time soon!  It is reassuring to know that you are not really going away (yet!) but it will still be an adjustment.  I hope that your time off is all things wonderful!

- Suzanne Klinger
Head, Reference Services
UW Tacoma Library

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Anna has been a tremendous source of encouragement and support for me during my time at the UW Tacoma Library.  She took a chance when she accepted me as a volunteer, and then continued to support me when I was fortunate enough to be asked to become a student employee.  I struggled through the first few years in that position, and Anna never failed to provide guidance and support when I needed it the most.  I am happy and fortunate to know and work with her. ​

- Laura Richardson
Graduate Reference Assistant
UW Tacoma Library

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Written by: 
J. Angela Wiehagen – wiehagen@uw.edu / June 29, 2017