During Lois Dye’s 17 years as the reference and instruction librarian of Calvin’s Hekman Library, she was most thankful for feeling as if she had vicariously traveled the world through her relationships with student research employees.
“Over the years I had a variety of students. I used to tell them that I got to travel but still sleep in my own bed because of them, since they brought their cultures and richness of who they were into our close-knit group,” Dye said. “We planned outings and dinners and school events together. They became a second family to me.”
For 15 years, Dye had ten student research employees per year who would help fellow students find library materials and check books in and out. She was able to travel to some of her students’ homes over the years, even as far as Ghana.
Dye’s own college education began with earning a bachelor’s degree in social work from Grand Valley State University, then master’s degrees in counseling at Western Michigan University and in library science from Wayne State University.
As the reference and instruction librarian, Dye would help students find research and teach them how to do research themselves. Her specialty areas of research included nursing, public health, biology, education, pre-medical and pre-dental studies.
Over the past two years, Dye has also served the Calvin Prison Initiative (CPI) as the program’s librarian. Since the inmates of Handlon Prison are without Internet, Dye would help them with the research process for their academic papers and do advanced research for them.
“The best part of being involved with CPI was seeing the gratitude of the students,” Dye said. “They were so very grateful for the library and would always let me know that through notes or when I was out there.”
Dye taught beginner research classes at Handlon as she does for English 101 classes at Calvin’s Knollcrest campus. She also set up the prison’s library, which holds 4,000 volumes, and took care of processing all the books into a working system.
Prior to her Calvin career, she was a social worker to the homeless and an academic counselor. “Some of my past careers have actually helped me with my work in CPI, since I have experience working with people that have been incarcerated.”
Dye is ultimately thankful for the way Calvin widened her perspective on the world. “In my contact with international students, I’ve been able to travel more and understand cultures different than my own, and that’s the richness that has shaped me, as well as being in an environment where my beliefs as a Christian are honored.”