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As professor of library services, special collections curator, and director of the annual Children’s Literature Festival at UCM, Naomi Williamson dedicated much of her life to sharing books that touched the lives of thousands of children and young adults.
Retiring in June as professor emerita of library public services, Williamson’s entire 41-year career was spent in service to UCM. During her tenure, she served under six university presidents and four library directors/deans, and was here for three institutional name changes. Williamson is a UCM alumna, having earned a bachelor’s degree in public address, and master’s and education specialist degrees in learning resources. She regularly taught courses on subjects such as Library Materials for Children and Young Adults and Children’s Literature.
One of her greatest passions was her work on the annual Children’s Literature Festival. Williamson got involved with that project in 1980 by assisting Philip Sadler with any job he needed her to do. Following his retirement in 1999, and due to retirements of Doris Brookshier and Ophelia Gilbert, Williamson’s experience was tapped for a new position, which she held until her retirement. She climbed the faculty ranks along the way from assistant professor of library services to professor. Williamson helped build the Children’s Literature Research Collection and grow James C. Kirkpatrick Library assets with children’s literary treasures that include Little Golden Books. She takes pride in having had the opportunity to work with both new and historical children’s literature and individuals who create children’s books.
As she notes, “I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful children’s book authors and illustrators and made some amazing friends in the process. I have also worked with some great people in the library and on this campus. It has truly been an amazing experience.”