The path to professional success wound through Newman Library
Leslie Homzie ’91 remembers Newman Library as a bridge between town and student life with its location close to College Avenue and the restaurants and activities vibrant college towns are known for.
The library also played an important role in her transition from student to professional during her three-and-a-half years as a student employee in the University Libraries.
Currently, Homzie serves as senior research librarian for communication, sociology, and women’s and gender studies in the Boston College Libraries.
“I enjoy working one-on-one with students to help them with their research needs, and I’m very involved with library instruction and teach a lot of classes. I also understand what faculty need from our library and I find satisfaction in helping them with research and teaching,” said Homzie. “I recognize the importance of libraries in academia and enjoy the academic setting.”
Her library interests began while she worked as a shelver in Newman Library. She would organize and shelve the thick-bound engineering scholarly journals in the stacks and then moved on to assisting at the reserve desk and circulation. She also remembers greeting fellow students as they walked through the main library doors and checked out their books.
“That was back when there was very little content online. Working at the course reserves service desk had its perks because professors used to put a lot of physical course materials there,” said Homzie. “You were able to see what was coming in and out of the library and give your friends a heads up when the materials they needed were available.”
Homzie said working in the library fit her interests and personality. She was never pressured by her family to be pre-professional minded in her college years, but to find her interests. Her late father was a faculty member at the University of Virginia, and she was raised in an environment that emphasized the exploration and discovery of knowledge.
After graduating from Virginia Tech, she spent a year in Israel and then worked in New York City for the publisher Springer and Holmes & Meier Publishers. While at Holmes & Meier she regularly worked with librarians from academic libraries with permissions requests. It reinforced her love for academic libraries and she enrolled in the master’s degree program in library and information science at Indiana University-Bloomington.
With her master’s degree completed, Homzie’s first professional library position was as the political science and urban affairs librarian at the University of Delaware. Her political science undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech was beneficial in landing the position working as the liaison to those departments. Now, Homzie is in her 15th year at Boston College Libraries. She said that this is the perfect position that allows her to juggle work and being a mom to 10-year-old triplet girls during this mostly virtual year.
“Earlier in my career, I was more involved in the American Library Association and many professional committees,” said Homzie. “Work-life balance now is very important, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been fortunate to work for a library that supports work-life balance.”
She’s in the thick of helping Boston College faculty and students with their research and teaching needs. But also makes time to be a Girl Scout leader, ski with her family, and cheer on her daughters’ soccer and softball teams with her husband George.
In between family activities and work responsibilities, she thinks back on her breakfasts at Gillies in Blacksburg or a lunch at The Cellar. “I miss Blacksburg,” said Homzie. “I enjoyed exploring the town just as much as I enjoyed my life at Virginia Tech. I look forward to my next visit.”