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Moore Making the Most of SILS Education

Headshot of Anne Cooper Moore standing outsideReceiving the SILS Distinguished Alumni Award might seem like a suitable capstone to Anne Cooper Moore’s 40-year library career. After all, she retired from her position as dean of the J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte in December 2023. She spent 32 years in library administration and management. But Moore isn’t ready to settle into retirement quite yet. As you might expect from such an accomplished professional, she has upskilled for a new career as a technical writer and plans to continue making an impact in libraries as a consultant.

Moore grew up in South Florida libraries. Her mother worked as a volunteer and in advancement roles in public libraries and took Anne with her to ALA meetings. She got to know administrators, librarians, and volunteers across Broward County as their library system was being established. Broward County Library, one of the first countywide library systems in the country, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024.

She attended Duke for her undergraduate education and worked at the Perkins Library after earning B.A.s in both Spanish and English. She held paraprofessional positions in the cataloging department, which sparked her interest in academic libraries.

Given both her childhood and post-college involvement in libraries, Moore says it was a “no-brainer” that she chose to attend UNC’s School of Information and Library Science. She worked in the UNC libraries as a graduate assistant and para-professional and earned her M.S. in Library Science.

“I think the thing I love the most about working in libraries is the constant change and evolution of what we do,” said Moore. “People think you sit around and read books when you work in a library. And we do read books! But that’s not what we’re focused on. We’re focused on evolving services to meet the needs of our constituents, and that has entailed tailoring technologies to help us meet the needs of constituents better. Libraries were one of the first industries to automate. We started using computers because we had a classic inventory system, so we developed systems to track the books and the catalog cards. It has constantly been changing ever since.”

Moore points to the ways many libraries, such as the library at UNC Charlotte, were able to meet the needs of the moment as COVID hit. Because they had already ensured that services were available in various ways that patrons wanted them, they were able to continue supporting communities even while the physical facilities were closed.

“I think about librarianship as being constantly one step ahead, or right at the point where users are and being innovative in trying to meet their needs. Libraries now have social workers and innovation stations. We had maker-spaces very early. I feel libraries are always on the cutting edge of change, and that’s exciting. For my whole career, I’ve felt like it’s just been one positive change after another because we’re service oriented.”

Moore points to full text access to articles and books as one of the most significant changes that she’s seen over her long career. As a student at SILS, she remembers going to the library to find bound volumes of journals and making copies of the articles she needed for her research. Now, students can use Google Scholar to search for and find the full text of research articles–and soon articles coming from government grants or federal funds will be free and open to all!

Moore is also excited about what AI will bring to society and is passionate about the role librarians need to play in this developing technology.

“The library’s role has always been to help people manage information and make the distinction between misinformation and disinformation and accurate, authoritative information and I think that is the role that we’re trying to assume and that’s going to be our challenge – how can we speak to the engineers who are developing the AI language models and other forms of AI. I think one of the library’s roles is to articulate to those who are developing the technologies for our patron’s need, which is for accurate information. Using our grounding in service and what humanity needs and how they get trusted information with the development of new tools, I think, is the key thing. We can no longer just be librarians.”

Because Moore’s ex-husband was an Air Force pilot, she and her family moved often. This allowed Moore the opportunity to work in a dozen academic libraries in several states, giving her a unique view of the profession.

“I think moving and working in a variety of libraries has given me a perspective on the consistent role of the library in society, and our focus on improving society and sharing authoritative information. And what has really been a major takeaway for me, is that the profession of librarian is continually evolving. But we are also a force in society that tries to help people. It was so consistent wherever I was. I’d walk into the academic library to have an interview or begin a job and it was the same people. They were professional and motivated and committed and passionate in each of those locations – trying to help their community grow and prosper.”

Reflecting on the Distinguished Alumni Award, Moore said, “I wouldn’t have had such a rewarding career if it wasn’t for SILS. I’m thrilled to have this honor because I think it reflects not just on me, but on the quality of the education that you get at SILS and have gotten for decades and decades. I’ve had the opportunity to work in librarianship in a lot of different places and in a lot of different ways, and that’s a reflection on SILS and UNC.”


Related Programs: Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS)