Staff ID - Meet Jinny Mason

Learn more about the libraries’ Administrative Assistant and avid Morris Dancer.

Jinny Mason and her family.

As Administrative Assistant to the Libraries, Jinny is the self-proclaimed “dragon at the gate” of the office of the Director of the Libraries. She is, in fact, the hub of the administrative operations of the libraries upon whom the entire staff relies upon for supplies, funds, general knowledge, and moral support. She also lends her administrative expertise to the Sophia Smith Collection a few hours each day. 

Jinny was born and raised in Northampton, England, and emigrated at 18 to see the world. She mainly stayed in the northeast corner of the U.S.A., and eventually settled near her birthplace’s namesake town, Northampton, MA. She has worked at Smith College for over 33 years. 25 of those years were spent in the employ of Stanley Rothman—in his day, a formidable professor in the Government department. Before she came to the Valley, Jinny was a teacher’s aide for the Head Start program in Philadelphia.

We asked Jinny a few questions about herself.

What is the best part of your job?

Brewery Night! [Editors note: Smith Libraries' staff get together once a month after work for Brewery Night at a local pub.]

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

Besides books, we have an extensive collection of movies and TV shows on DVD.

What are you reading right now, and what’s good about it?

The Black Count by Tom Reiss.  It’s about the real Count of Monte Cristo.  It’s mostly well-written, and about a person I knew nothing about.

What is your favorite book from your childhood, and why?

The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy, perhaps because I shouldn’t have been reading it!

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

I hope they will remain cozy places for people to relax, learn and enjoy themselves. I just hope there are still quiet spots in libraries. When they put up the three TVs simultaneously playing different shows, then we are all doomed.

Got any funny reference questions or weird library incidents to share?

I once had a student working for me who claimed she had returned many books owed to the library.  For one reason or another, she had hidden them in a hedge near Neilson!

What do you like to do the most when you are not at work?

Sing in pubs and Morris dance. [Editor’s note: Morris dancing is a traditional English step dance in which the dancers wear bells on their shins, and often perform with props such as wooden sticks, swords, or handkerchiefs.]

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

That I am very shy. [Editor's note: If you know Jinny, this IS rather surprising!]

Visit Jinny Monday through Friday at the Alumnae Gym from 8:00 am-10:00 am, or in the main administrative office from 10:00a-4:00p.

In the photo, Jinny is the first one on the left Morris dancing.