Jim Frutchey, Associate Professor, Collection Development
Having grown up in nearby Clarks Summit, it has been terrific to work for an institution as familiar as Marywood for the past seven years. Many years ago, my mother earned her master’s degree from Marywood College, and she often would bring me along to the library when there was research to complete. Following a lengthy career in the Abington Heights School District, my father began teaching history classes at Marywood. His visits to my office and our lunches together in the cafeteria have been priceless.
My arrival at the library of Marywood was preceded by a somewhat meandering path. I majored in American studies (emphases on history and political science) as an undergraduate and completed a couple of museum internships. Although I enjoyed my studies, I quickly learned that finding a living wage position somewhat associated with my degree was not the easiest thing to do.
In what turned out to be a quest to never leave school, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in history while taking a job as a college resident director. After earning my M.A., I discovered that positions that paid a decent salary were difficult to find even with an advanced degree in some fields. I then decided to continue working in student services, and I pursued a second M.A. in student affairs in higher education. Following nearly a decade in residence life positions, I was ready for a change. For the most part working with college students was enjoyable. However, being required to live in the residence halls and to regularly deal with late-night shenanigans made beginning a relatively calm family life seem impossible. Clinging to my enjoyment of U.S. history and culture, I was accepted into a Ph.D. program in American cultural studies. When discussing future possibilities with the director of the Ph.D. program, I mentioned that I was also looking into a master’s in library science. Thankfully, the director honestly told me that job prospects would be more plentiful in the library field. I would have enjoyed the American cultural studies classes. However, had I gone that route, I have the feeling that I would have become a well-educated cab driver. Thus, I studied library science, found a wife, landed jobs that eventually led to a position at Marywood, and had two sons. The goal of mine to never leave school remained on track.
My time at Marywood has not left me wanting for diverse responsibilities. I began as a research librarian helping freshmen beginning their journey in higher education through doctoral students finishing their dissertations as they searched for resources to support their academic projects. I then became a collection development librarian, and I was able to select book and audiovisual titles for the library. In the midst of planning for the new learning commons, I served as the interim library director for 16 months. Currently, I am splitting my time between collection development duties and working with the University archives. My various roles have afforded me wonderful opportunities to indulge my passion for U.S. history and culture. Examples include, helping many students with history projects, publishing an article dealing with professional baseball in Scranton, reading about and purchasing numerous books in the social sciences, writing many reviews of history and culture-related books, and sorting through a multitude of artifacts belonging to the archives of Marywood. It has been a psychological bonus for me to feel that my seemingly disparate past work experiences and studies have coalesced to make me better at what I do now.
In retrospect, I may have been destined to work in libraries all along. I have always been surrounded by numerous books at home. Most of the time, the books were sorted by subject and chronologically within subject areas. I would sort and resort my baseball cards again, and again, and again. My albums (yes, vinyl albums as I am getting old) were sorted by artist and then year of release. Although I now live with someone who tends to lean more toward Oscar Madison as compared to my Felix Unger, I am still able to keep parts of the house well-organized. While at work, I am always near to a terrific collection of books, and in the archives, there are enough artifacts to sort and make sense of until the bicentennial of Marywood.