English Degree Prepared Library Director for Career She Loves (But Didn’t Expect)
Adrienne (Adi) Bracken graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in English literature from Seton Hill University.
“Touring Seton Hill’s campus for the first time was magical,” she says. “I had never been on a college campus that felt like home, and the coziness and friendliness of the college cemented my decision to go there.”
Having started in a different program, Adi continued to feel drawn to the English Program. This decision led her to be on the Eye Contact Literary Magazine staff for four years. She eventually became the editor-in-chief. Adi also served as the arts & entertainment editor on the Setonian, helped run the English club, was a member of Sigma Tau Delta Honors Society, and started a volunteer opportunity called Service Saturdays. One of her favorite jobs on campus, she added, was being a resident assistant.
“My advice for English majors is to appreciate the faculty – there are some truly stellar professors in the English program, and they are always willing to help,” she says. Adi particularly credits Christine Cusick, Ph.D, associate professor of English; Albert Wendland, Ph.D., professor of English;, and Collin Wansor, Ph.D., English instructor for helping to guide and shape her as a student.
Adi has advice for non-English majors as well. “Take advantage of the small school size,” she says. “Meet people you wouldn’t normally talk to, take classes outside of your major, and join activities on campus.”
"There are some truly stellar professors in the English program, and they are always willing to help."
After graduating from Seton Hill, Adi went on to receive her MFA in creative writing from Chatham University. She held office jobs before working in the Learning Center at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and teaching writing classes at the University of Pittsburgh. Feeling pulled to the library field, Adi became the Teen Specialist at her local library. From there, she moved into her current position as director of the Trafford Library.
“The opportunity to focus solely on a library and not juggle jobs was appealing, and I love small communities,” she says. “The Trafford Library is essentially a one-floor, several-room library with a modest collection. It was the perfect fit for me.” Adi also adds that it wasn’t what she planned to do as a career, but she wouldn’t pick any other career path now.
“I love seeing patron’s faces light up when we’re able to get them a book they’ve been hunting for or longing to read,” she says. “I feel like we make a real difference in the community considering its size.”
Running a library can be difficult in and of itself. Now, as Adi explains, “Running a library during COVID-19 is, blatantly put, tough.” She has dealt with fundraisers being canceled, scarcity of money, and a lack of in-person programming. Yet, she does her best to virtually reach patron needs in programming and resource location.
When not in the library, Adi continues to participate in activities that involve her love for literature. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Library Science at Clarion University, and still visits CCAC to tutor English. She also regularly submits creative writing to journals, and has had some published.
She has big hopes for the future of libraries.
“I hope we start breaking the stigma of libraries being obsolete. We are capable of helping with so many things – job applications, government form retrieval, resource navigating, lending materials from books to movies and e-materials, fun and informational programming, research through referenced and archived materials – the list goes on. Visit your local library sometime; I have a feeling you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the services they offer!”