MLIS Alumna Nancy Brockman graduates from Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute Program

Going back to school for a Bachelor’s degree at the age of 50-something is not common in today’s age. But then again, Nancy Brockman wasn’t your average college student. After raising four children, she attended FSU’s Panama City campus for her undergraduate studies in Education and went on to earn her Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) via the iSchool’s online program in May 2014.

After commencement, Nancy began teaching at a new charter school in Panama City and set up a media center for the institution. A year later, she joined the team at the Northwest Regional Library System as a Reference Librarian and Serials Librarian. Today, she serves as Gulf County Library Coordinator and assumes the position of a branch manager for the Corrine Costin Gibson Memorial Public Library in Port St. Joe,  FL.

“Each day is new and different at work. We have a number of different programs for both children and adults. Working in a small, rural branch means that we handle the whole works from emptying the book box to registering and educating our patrons,” Nancy shared.

This summer, Brockman was awarded “Outstanding New Librarian” by the Florida Library Association. The award was in recognition of numerous projects across the Panhandle, including those within the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute (SSLLI), a program Nancy graduated from earlier this week.

The ten-month SSLLI program assists in preparing library leaders to provide the highest quality library services to the citizens of Florida. The initiative was set in place by MLIS alumna Amy Johnson. Each participant works through leadership objectives including career development, building relationships, strategic thinking, empowerment and resilience. During her time in the program, Brockman designed a community book recycling initiative, “Books to Go”,  for people who cannot visit the library.

“We have book stations made from up-cycled real estate boxes in twelve locations throughout Gulf County. Sites include our hospital, an assisted living center, 3 jails, a bus stop, and a day care center. So far, over 1,200 books have been placed in these stations,” Nancy explains.

Along with the success at SSLLI, the Corrine Costin Gibson Memorial Public Library and Charles Whitehead Public Library have been awarded an Innovation Grant from the Panhandle Library Access Network (PLAN). The funds from the grant have allowed the libraries to acquire newer technology.

Since coming to Gulf County, Nancy also initiated a number of programs including “Tuesday Tales” for preschool story time and “Book a Librarian” option for patrons needing personalized service and adult computer classes.

“At this point, I feel very fortunate to be able to work where I am. By having just earned my degree at this age, I listen as my peers talk about their retirement plans and think about the fact that I am just beginning a new career,” Nancy says.

During her time in SSLLI, Nancy was mentored by iSchool Associate Professor Marcia Mardis.

Many members of the iSchool student family have been apart of SSLLI. Also graduating this year is alumna Samantha Hudson, who was mentored by doctoral student Amelia Anderson. Doctoral candidate Laura Spears is a graduate of the program and doctoral student Abby Phillips has also been inducted into SSLLI class of 2015-2016.


A number of iSchool alums were present at the ceremony, including Michael Lane, Nancy Brockman, Jenni McKnight, Kellie Clark, Christy Shorey, Amy Johnson, Lori Leigh Riddles, Amelia Anderson, Lynn Elliott, Samantha Hudson, Natalie Binder, Carol DeMent, Gina Somasundaram and Renae Rountree.

For more information about MLIS at FSU, click here.