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Rising Star: Alena Manjuck

Headshot of Alena Manjuck over a field of starts and a shooting starAlena (Principato) Manjuck (MSLS ’17) has loved libraries since childhood. As a library page in her teen years, she realized that working in a library could be a career—and her path was set.

Her interest in working in libraries took her first to Lafayette College. She won numerous awards and honors, including the school’s highest academic scholarship and a library prize awarded to an exemplary library assistant. She graduated with BAs in both English and Art.

As a student worker, she got to know Lafayette College librarian Ben Jahre (MSLS ’13). Through conversations with him and his colleagues, she developed an interest in becoming an academic librarian. Jahre told her about his experiences in the Carolina Academic Library Associate (CALA) program, which convinced her to apply.

“At that point I knew I was interested in academic librarianship, so the opportunity to gain experience in an academic library setting while receiving a top tier education really appealed to me.”

Recalling her excitement at being accepted into the CALA program, Manjuck says, “It was one of those moments that you know will change your life.”

Her CALA position involved working in the SILS Library in Manning Hall. Manjuck wanted to share her passion for libraries and asked for opportunities to develop library programming focused on the library’s unique collections. Creating a pop-up book club and organizing a Wikipedia edit-a-thon to increase representation of diverse graphic novel and comics creators were some of the highlights of her time as a CALA.

That also leads to Manjuck’s advice for current students.

“Take advantage of every opportunity you can. If you want to get experience in something that’s not currently part of your position, don’t be afraid to ask. Get to know your peers, instructors, advisors, and library staff. These connections are what make a SILS education special.”

Today, Manjuck has her dream job as the Outreach and Engagement Librarian at Nevada State University. Her responsibilities include designing educational programming, helping students and faculty connect with library services, and supporting the library’s teaching and learning program. She has presented and written on library marketing and outreach topics and her work was recognized with a PR Xchange Award from the American Library Association in 2020.

Manjuck found a professional mentor in her current supervisor, Nathaniel King (MSLS ’09).

“Especially in the early stages of your career, it’s so important to find a supervisor who will support your professional development. Nathaniel has been an outstanding mentor and supporter of my professional growth.”

Reflecting on her professional journey, Manjuck credits her SILS experience with fueling her passion for outreach and engagement work.

“SILS highlighted for me that access to academic resources and community-building opportunities are crucial to student success. This award motivates me to continue to focus on work that has a meaningful impact on our students and campus community.”

Alena Manjuck is one of two recipients of the SILS Alumni Association’s inaugural Rising Star Alumni Award. The award recognizes recently graduated alumni who have demonstrated exceptional growth in their profession or chosen field, early professional library or information science achievements at national, state, or local levels, and/or who have provided outstanding service to SILS or its Alumni Association.

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