Centre News

Getting to know...the library’s Mary Beth Garriott


November 11, 2010
Garriott Reference librarian Mary Beth Garriott (center) with fellow
Centre reference librarians Carrie Frey (left) and Lesley Jackson.
1. Position at Centre?
Reference librarian

2. Where did you grow up?
Nashville, Tenn.

3. What are your hobbies?
Traveling, knitting, gardening, watching sports

4. What is your dream vacation?
Going to the beach with my entire family or visiting Southern France or going back to Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m pretty easy to please!

5. Favorite artist and/or work of art?
There’s nothing like seeing an original work of art after having seen many reproductions of it. When I saw Grant Wood’s American Gothic, I was amazed at how sweet the woman’s face was in the actual painting. That aspect of the work just doesn’t show up in reproductions.

6. Favorite novel or poem?
Anything by Eudora Welty

7. Favorite sport to watch or play?
I actually enjoy watching football, tennis, soccer and college basketball.

8. Favorite TV show?
I don’t watch that much TV, but I enjoy The Office, The Today Show and 60 Minutes. My two guilty pleasures are The Apprentice and (gulp) The Real Housewives of Orange County.

9. Favorite album?
I have fairly eclectic taste in music, but I’m awfully fond of anything by Bach. The beauty of his music can bring me to tears.

10. Favorite holiday?
Probably Christmas, which always makes me realize how blessed I have been in my life!

11. Favorite food?
Fortunately, I like all kinds of food, but I could eat a lot of Brie cheese before I got tired of it!

12. Most prized possession?
My family

13. Three people, living or deceased, who you’d invite to the same dinner party?
I would love to chat with my relatives who left their homelands and traveled to the U.S. in the 18th century to begin new lives in what is now North Carolina. I can’t imagine the courage and fortitude it took to make new lives for themselves.

14. Favorite aspect of your job?
It’s a real privilege for me to work with our amazing students, plus I still have the opportunity to learn about topics that are unfamiliar to me as I help them with their research.

15. Most memorable experience of your youth?
It would have to be my summer jobs in Nashville: selling hosiery, gloves and purses; working in the records department of the Nashville Police Dept.; filing invoices all day at a lingerie manufacturing company and working in a furniture store where my job was to type and send increasingly threatening letters to people who were behind in their payments for their furniture. Those jobs were character-building!

16. What would you be doing if you weren't working at Centre?
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have spent my entire working career at Centre. I think I might have enjoyed marketing, retail or some occupation that involved working with people.

17. Favorite place on campus (and why)?
The library, of course! Isn’t it the best place on campus?

18. Advice you'd give to a first-year college student to make success more likely?
As far as learning how to do research at Centre, ask the reference librarians. Don’t be shy. I love helping students and seeing that light bulb go off when they catch on to the research process! It can make their academic life so much easier!

Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail Leigh Cocanougher with your feedback.



Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 24th among all the nation's colleges and universities and No. 1 among all institutions of higher education in the South. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices.
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