Meet Brionna Johnson, Cataloging and Metadata Services Fellow

Princeton University Library (PUL) is delighted to announce the appointment of Brionna Johnson, Cataloging and Metadata Services Fellow. Johnson joined the Serials and E-Resources (SeERs) Team on June 3, 2024.  She will work collaboratively with colleagues on the SeERs Team and the Electronic Resources Management Group to learn how to manage and catalog e-resources.

Brionna Johnson

What did you study as an undergrad and why did you choose it?

While at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I majored in English with a concentration in Literature and Culture and a minor in Film Studies. I chose a major in English with a minor in Film because I’ve always enjoyed stories! I believe in the power of storytelling. I grew up listening to my grandmother who would tell me anecdotes about her life and her mother, and her mother’s mother. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’ve always been passionate about literature, and sharing that with other people. Studying English and Film at UNCC was an amazing experience! It allowed me to learn more about myself, my culture, and other cultures across the world! 

What sparked your interest in pursuing a career in librarianship?

I grew up visiting libraries as a kid. My mother would take me with her when she was enrolled in grad school and when she had meetings at the public library. It always felt like such a treat to go! She worked on her own things and gave me the independence to explore. It was a third place for me before I knew what the concept of third places were.

My first library job was in undergrad at the university’s main library. It is what initially sparked my interest in pursuing a career in libraries, though at the time I worked there, I had plans to be an English teacher! I would chat with my supervisor at work about how she became a librarian, and I would walk through the many stacks in J. Murrey Atkins Library, scanning bar codes and referencing inventory lists. I’d sit at my little cubicle, looking up subject headings to assign to books donated to the collection. It was just such an awesome experience, I thought “wow, I could do this every day for a living!” I always knew libraries were a space I belonged in as both a patron and worker!

What drew you to this role at Princeton University Library?

Initially, I was really nervous about applying to this role! I really enjoyed the current fellows coming to class at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) to talk about their experiences in the program! Hearing their stories and how awesome the culture is at PUL really drew me in. The opportunity to learn more about cataloging and managing metadata as a recent graduate and early career librarian really attracted me to the role. I enjoyed my classes at NCCU, and I really wanted an opportunity to get hands on experience from skilled librarians! I love how welcoming everyone is, and just at day three, I’ve already learned so so so much!

What do you hope to accomplish in your two years here?

I’m interested in cataloging and metadata creation from a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging lens. I hope to do some reparative description work in cataloging to remove harmful language and suggest changes that allows for more inclusive descriptors and subject headings for discovery. The ways that folks search for information is closely tied to our identities and the communities we come from, and I hope to make information seeking enjoyable and discoverable for all users. I’m excited to see the ways that cataloging and managing e- resources makes this possible!

Additionally, I hope to be an asset to my team, to learn new skillsets, and to gain a real sense of community in the library world.

What aspect of the job are you most excited about?

I’m most excited for the opportunity to learn in this role! I believe in being a lifelong student! You’re never done learning, and I’m so excited that the fellowship encourages you to learn new skillsets, hone the ones you have, and explore your career interests in the field. I’m excited to have a cohort I can lean on and grow with. I’m excited to be mentored and taught by such skilled and seasoned librarians at PUL!

What are your career aspirations?

One of my favorite quotes is, “once you learn to read, you will forever be free,” by Frederick Douglass. Another is from my mom. She always told me as a kid, and even still as an adult, “knowledge is power, and no one can take that away from you.”  

I believe everyone deserves the same access to knowledge. It holds power, and once you learn something or you read something, you have that information with you. It can stay with you forever. I aspire to make information as attainable as possible for all users.

I really believe librarians are change makers, and I hope to influence change in my community as a librarian.

I plan to continue to work in academic libraries full-time.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I really enjoy being a fur mom! I have two dogs, Zak who is 14, and Chance who is 5! I occasionally dog-sit my mother’s dog, Luna who is 1. I love taking the dogs out for walks, taking them along for car rides, reading them books, and watching Bluey with them on TV! I enjoy reading and watching horror films. I’ve recently connected with the Boys & Girls Club Wake County, and I hope to spend more time volunteering at the center, helping the kids with their new reading corner! I’ve recently signed up for a half marathon, and I plan to get back into some long-distance running.

Who inspires you?

My grandmother, Bernice Virginia Holley who passed away in 2019 continuously inspires me. She was such a hard worker and had such a vibrant personality. She was nurturing, and she treated everyone with this easy-going, natural kindness. Every day that I wake up, I aim to honor her by believing in myself, taking care of myself, and working hard. I like to think of how proud she is of me for pursuing my dreams!

My dogs inspire me as well. I really want to give them these awesome lives, and I work to make sure they are well taken care of and get to have some fun!

Published on June 18, 2024

Interview by Brandon Johnson, Communications Strategist

Media Contact: Stephanie Oster, Publicity Manager