February 23, 2021
Laura Wiegand McBrayer’s interest in libraries began with a love of reading and evolved, along with libraries themselves, into a lifelong career.
“My mom instilled a love of reading in me,” said McBrayer, who was promoted to senior associate director for Randall Library earlier this year. “In fact, she used to check out so many books from the local library for me and my three younger sisters that it was almost embarrassing (even more so when we couldn’t find them to return on time). So, when I was looking for my first job in high school, my mom suggested the library.”
After earning her undergraduate degree in philosophy from Loyola University Chicago and master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, McBrayer worked in several libraries, including the University of Minnesota Libraries. She joined Randall Library in 2008 as an information technology librarian.
In her new role at UNCW, McBrayer oversees the Library Information Technology Department and the newly formed Scholarly Research Services Department, as well as having an expanded role in library administration. And while still likes books, she finds that libraries are so much more than a series of stacks.
“Honestly, what I love now about libraries has little to do with books and more to do with discovery and access to information in all forms, the role libraries play in student success and the connections and collaborations we foster,” she explained.
In addition to her job at Randall Library, McBrayer has also taken on the role of student. She is in the Ed.D. program in the Watson College of Education.
When it comes to books, she doesn’t play favorites.
“My philosophy is that, like music, books have a time and place and so it is natural that favorites are not static,” she explained. “That said, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert is one I could read again. I enjoy bits of science and history woven into good stories.”
-- Tricia Vance