Audrey Stewart stewards the library and much more

Stewart likes being a jack of all trades and finds joy in “happy little Fridays”

Audrey Stewart is fascinated by a little bit of everything. She originally wanted to be an architect, then a publisher or editor, then a teacher, and now she finds herself as Trinity’s digital technologies librarian, a job where she can be a jack of all trades.

Stewart came to Trinity in May and runs Coates Library’s website, specializing in instructional technology. In college, she studied English and history, but right now she’s really interested in reading about biology and the microbiome. As a result, she gets to spend time exploring everything.

“I don’t really know that there’s another job where you really can explore literally anything and it still be part of your job and not like you’re just fiddling around on the internet,” Stewart said.

After college, Stewart started substitute teaching and loved it so much that she decided to get a Master’s in Teaching at State University New York: New Paltz. After completing her master’s, she started teaching high school.

“Nobody told me that my first year of teaching was this crazy initiation process. That is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Stewart said. “At the time, I didn’t really think of myself as a confrontational person, but I really had to be the disciplinarian at times.”

With the first year being so difficult, she was not sure if teaching was going to be her long-term plan. Stewart befriended the school’s media specialist and realized that was the perfect gig for her. While teaching full time, she took classes in the evening and got her Master’s in Library Science. She was then hired as a librarian at Coastal Carolina Community College.

“I didn’t realize librarians would still teach, so still teaching first-year students research skills, collaborating with teachers. It was a nice blend,” Stewart said. “I still can teach and use that skill set, so that didn’t feel wasted.”

In 2020, Stewart took on the project of leading the community college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee, which she said grew exponentially that summer. She said that there were 30 to 40 faculty and staff members on the committee.

“We were really meeting to kind of force the college to have an online presence of DEI work,” Stewart said. “That was something that was lacking, so we had this group of people really pushing for it.”

Within the committee, there was some diversity of thought. She said there was one person who appeared to butt heads with her. She ended up meeting with him to have a conversation about their disagreements.

“We both were able to enlighten each other. We had very differing viewpoints on things,” Stewart said. “Essentially, he thought that I was trying to create problems.”

She said that they both walked away smiling because this was exactly why they had the committee. The goal of the committee was not to get a group of people together who all thought the same way.

“We’re not trying to create an echo chamber here on campus, we do want people who have differing perspectives, different walks of life. His walk of life led him to believe X, Y and Z as did mine,” Stewart said. “That was the moment that I felt like a true, adult professional.”

A native of the Northeast, Stewart had access to a variety of cultures and stories that she thinks really helped to shape who she is now. Her mother was a seamstress, and when Stewart wanted to do ballet, her mom offered to be the studio’s costume designer to pay for her classes. Stewart has a tattoo on her left shoulder of a needle and thread that makes a cursive letter “A,” which is her mom’s first initial.

“Her skill set is really what put me through dance school for eight years,” Stewart said. “Also, if you look at her signature, her first name is Adelaide, and this is how she signs her name as a cursive ‘A’ so it’s a needle and thread but it’s also her first initial.”

Stewart said that tiny things bring her joy, and that she’s obsessed with anything in miniature form. On a recent Thursday, she took a yoga class with a teacher from Chile.

“There’s a little broken English, but we finished our yoga practice, and it was a Thursday … and she said, ‘happy little Friday,’” Stewart said. “Little things bring me joy, but so does the phrase, ‘happy little Friday.’”