Staff ID - Meet Cheri Hardy

Learn more about Neilson’s night supervisor and children’s literature aficionado.

Cheri Hardy (right)
Circulation Night Supervisor, Neilson Library, (413) 585-4164


Cheri Hardy is the Night Circulation Supervisor at Neilson, where, as one of a small handful of staff on campus between 9:00 pm and 1:00 am, she finds herself handling the problems that inevitably come up after regular work hours. When she’s not dealing with the unexpected, Cheri assists patrons with research, circulation, and equipment concerns, and supervises the nighttime student workers. Cheri is also the unofficial library gumshoe, having a knack for finding items that have gone missing, whether on our own shelves, or at one of the other five colleges.

Cheri is a Smith alumna who hails from northwest Arkansas. While a student here, she worked at Neilson library for two academic years. Her professional life as a librarian began when she took a job at the Hatfield Public Library, and later became their Assistant Director and Children’s Librarian. She has been working at Smith for over a year now, and still maintains her position at the Hatfield library.

We asked Cheri to tell us more about herself.

What is the best part of your job?

I really get to know our student workers at night, as well as the students who spend a lot of time in the library studying. I really like learning about what the students are studying, what their experiences have been in their projects and programs, and who they are outside of class. I often provide a listening ear and advice to those over-stressed, overwhelmed students who come to the desk and suddenly explode. My hope is that they come away from us feeling better and more on track.

Which library resource do you most like to tell people about?

Honestly, Interlibrary Loan. Students don't realize that they can get anything they could possibly want to read from anywhere in the country. When I explain it to them, they always get so excited!

What are you reading right now?

Being a children's librarian, I mostly read juvenile fiction and young adult fiction. I am also on the Staff Council Diversity Committee and we are choosing a book for the Between the Lines reading program. I am currently reading Enchantment by Orson Scott Card on audio book, This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz (I really like the style of prose, but I'm not far in yet), The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan (I've heard nothing but incredible things from kids, but so far I am not thrilled with the writing style), and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (which won the Printz award last year, but I'm not far into it, either).

What do you think libraries of the future will look like?

I'm always annoyed by that question, because I think people expect me to either say that libraries will never change or that they will turn into electro-pods with all information available at the tap of a touch-screen. Circulation of all kinds of books is increasing (including e-books, but not exclusively) in public libraries, and I can't see that the usefulness of libraries is in any way decreasing. Too many people enjoy the feeling of a book in their hands to make a building of free books obsolete (not to mention that we've had them for 2000+ years), but libraries are also places where new technology can be showcased easily to the general public. I see libraries continuing to meld the old with the new, and being hubs for universal access to information for as much of the future as I can imagine.

Cheri Hardy rock climbingWhat do you like to do the most when you are not at work?

My favorite activities are singing, hiking, camping, biking, swimming, reading, painting, and playing with children. I really can't choose between them except when I'm in the moment trying to decide what to do. I often go out of my way to go to a shapenote singing, so that could be considered my top choice, but I'll also do most of the others with the least provocation.

Is there something about you that others would be surprised to learn?

Well, because I don't really surprise myself very much, that's a hard question to answer from the inside. I think it surprises a lot of people that I am fluent in Italian, that I am a Southerner (my accent only comes out when I talk to another Southerner), and that I know how to sew my own clothing (and would do much more of it if I had the time).

Stop by and see Cheri some evening at Neilson. She can be found at the desk with the tissue paper flowers in the circulation office.