When Karen Hayward was first entering college, she wanted to become a journalist.
“I enjoy writing,” said the native of Youngstown, Ohio. “I love sending email to people and composing letters.”
Today, Hayward, who earned a journalism degree from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, is the librarian at the SSG Paul D. Savanuck Memorial Library at the Defense Information School, the military’s training ground for DoD print and electronic journalists, visual information specialists and senior public affairs communicators.
“I thought it would be a nice fit,” she said.
Hayward, who served 11 years as the librarian at Fort Meade’s Medal of Honor Memorial Library, started at DINFOS on Jan. 9.
“This is the first time I’ve ever had a position that is related to my degree,” she said. “ … I’m looking forward to this. I’m excited to see the students who come into the library. They have a lot of imagination and creativity, and I like that.”
The SSG Paul D. Savanuck Memorial Library is named after Staff Sgt. Paul David Savanuck, a military photojournalist and Baltimore native who was killed in 1969 while covering the Vietnam war.
The library houses more than 13,000 books, 1,000 audio books and CDs, 1,800 videos, 2,000 DVDs, and 500 e-books, as well as current newspaper and magazine titles, and hundreds of vintage publications and other reference materials.
Hayward is the team leader for a two-member staff and will oversee the expansion of the library’s e-resources.
“Our library is committed to serving our students as well as it can,” said Col. Martin Downie, commandant of DINFOS. “This generation is born with the internet, and they expect to find and use information digitally. This is why we’re installing WiFi across the school and establishing the library as the hub of digital resource of acquisition and distribution.
“As we train our graduates to compete and succeed in today’s dynamic and competitive media environment, we need a library that has the right tools to support them.”
Downie said Hayward is ready to lead the expansion.
“Ms. Hayward shared her excitement at the prospect of modernizing our library and adapting it to better meet the needs of our students. She has the perfect combination of in-depth knowledge, experience and vision to take our library forward in an enlightened way.”
Hayward said the library plans to offer an increase in the number of e-books for students to borrow. She said they will be able to read books using their iPads, Kindles, Nooks and iPhones.
“We will offer the same content just in a different format,” Hayward said.
After earning a degree in journalism, Hayward aspired to obtain a degree in library science and work in a newspaper library, which is known as a “morgue.” She went on to earn a master’s degree in library science at the University of Pittsburgh. But her prospects after graduation were slim.
“I was out of work for some time,” Hayward said.
Army Library Training
The personnel director for the Youngstown-Mahoning Library System in Ohio, at the time, only hired librarians from out of town. So Hayward moved to Chicago and worked at the Loyola Law School library.
After three years, she moved to Venice, Fla., to work at the Venice Area Public Library.
A few months later, a representative from the Army offered Hayward a two-year internship to learn how to work in the Army’s libraries. Hayward had applied for a position with the federal government a few years earlier when she was unemployed, and her name came up for the internship program.
Hayward began the internship at the Army’s General Library and Intern Training Center at Fort Monroe, Va., in December 1983 and graduated in May 1985. She was then offered a position as the post librarian intern at Fort Dix, N.J.
During her 33 years as a librarian with the federal government, Hayward has worked at Air University Library at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, the base library at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro Library in Santa Ana, Calif., and the Sgt. 1st Class Rodney J.T. Yano Library at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.
As the librarian at the Medal of Honor Memorial Library, Hayward helped to manage the library’s improvements.
“When I first arrived at Fort Meade and toured the library, right away I wanted to reconfigure the shelving and furniture,” she said.
The task was accomplished in 2011 after the carpeting was replaced. The library’s interior was also painted and a new roof was installed.
Money from the installation’s second-place finish in the Annual Chief of Staff of the Army Communities of Excellence Program in 2007 was later used to purchase 20 computer workstations, which became a mini computer lab.
In addition to expanding the e-resources at the DINFOS library, Hayward said the library may undergo a face-lift by acquiring new furniture and improving the current lighting.
“We want to have a more casual atmosphere so this can be a place where [students] can work on their assignments or come to relax,” she said.
Hayward said she is enjoying her new position.
“It’s great,” she said. “Everybody still needs a library.”