School of Information Alumna Marquita Gooch-Voyd Receives Honors in Her Field

Marquita Gooch-Voyd graduated from Florida State University’s School of Information in 2011 with a Master of Library and Information Studies. She went on to work in various libraries, earning many awards and honors celebrating her initiatives and inspirational work in this field.

“Florida State University gave me three things: direction, clarity and innovation,” said Gooch-Voyd. The school brought light to the various opportunities and paths within the library field, offered new, innovative practices within the library world, and prepared Gooch-Voyd for entering a field where many workers didn’t look like her. “Often, I was the only person of color in my classes and that is something that often stands out,” shared Gooch-Voyd. “I admire Florida State now for acknowledging that diversity in the LIS field is needed and are taking action to improve upon it.”

Gooch-Voyd left her home in Atlanta to work as a teacher-librarian for D.C. Public Schools in Maryland. She said, “each school, while different, taught me a lot of things, including patience and a lot about 3D printing and robotics having established a makerspace at the middle school. It was a fulfilling time in my life, but it also made me miss the public library.”

During her time working in her current library, Gooch-Voyd noticed that patrons either had technology devices with no home internet or data plans with no feasible technology to complete homework, fill out important documents, and more. “The hotspot lending program was my first major initiative for my current library,” she shared. Gooch-Voyd implemented hot spots that provided 24-hour service for patrons, helping over 90 families during the start of the pandemic’s shutdown. “Since then, in addition to hotspots, I created an Entrepreneur in a Bag kit that allows patrons to take home a laptop, hotspot and full color printer all in one bag,” she shared. “I’ve also implemented a free trades skills training program using Interplay Learning that has garnered us a feature in Library Journal.”

In 2021, Gooch-Voyd was named the Georgian Librarian of the Year. She was the first person of color to receive this honor, and the last person to receive the award under this title. Her initiatives have garnered national attention from library systems and publications, consistently reinventing the way that information systems operate and are recognized. In the future, Gooch-Voyd plans to continue challenging the stereotypes placed upon libraries and librarians. By embracing and adapting to change within this field, she inspires others to go after their passions, no matter the adversities they may be met with.

For more information on Marquita Gooch-Voyd, click here.