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My Mother, the Librarian

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March is Women’s History Month in the U.S., and while I strive to support and uphold the women in my life daily, I also think it’s essential to use this time to reflect on the women who have profoundly impacted our world. I have the greatest blessing in that one such woman is my own mother.

Born of the royal bloodline of the ancient Kingdom of Benin, Princess Lucy Amadin Osemota (nee Ogbeide) carved out a future for herself at the University of Tennessee in the USA before returning to Nigeria to contribute her talents to nation-building.

My mom is many things: a trailblazer, a teacher, the first female professor in her community! She is also a librarian, and in this capacity, her commitment to bettering the world truly shines.

Library science is a field dominated by brilliant females: over eighty percent of librarians are women! This fact doesn’t surprise me. My mother is a beautiful example of the care and compassion that comes along with serving as a protector and guide of information.

She instilled in her children a desire to search for truth, share our talents with the world, and wield knowledge to uplift our communities. She is an inspiration to each person she encounters. She is a living example of how knowledge belongs to everyone, even a little girl from a village in Nigeria—no, especially to a little girl from a village in Nigeria. 

My mom has worked as a reference librarian and professor at an elite university in the USA for over two decades and was a public county’s librarian for years before that. She has bestowed the gift of literature and learning on thousands of students, many of whom affectionately call her “Mummy.” I am the lucky son who gets to call her “Mum.”

My parents raised my siblings and I to live in the light of Christ, give back to our communities, and fuel our passions through education. Our dad went to be with the Lord last year, and though we mourn his departure, I still see the same humility, service, and determination that he exemplified when I look at my mother.

How blessed I am to have both a father and a mother who are true role models.

My mother, and other librarians, are more than organizers of books or “shushing” matrons seated behind circulation desks. They are experts at finding answers, turning students into lifelong learners, and serving their community with the tools they need to succeed.

Like so many female-dominated professions, the service and impact of librarians have been overlooked and undervalued. It’s hard to believe that all over the USA, people are arguing that libraries and librarians aren’t necessary.  My mother would tell you that with the influx of information available to the masses today, librarians are more essential than ever.

Women like my mother are more necessary than ever: leaders, truth-seekers, servants to the greater good.

Thank you to the women who quietly fight each day to improve our world.

Thank you, Mum!

Written By: Emmanuel J. Osemota son of Prof. Lucy A. Osemota

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