Humans of JCU: Amy Wainwright

Wainwright poses outside of the library on a beautiful spring day.

Amy Wainwright

Wainwright poses outside of the library on a beautiful spring day.

Aiden Keenan, Photo Editor

Situated in a small corner office on the ground floor of the library, Amy Wainwright spends her time at JCU as the Head of Research, Learning, and Outreach for Grasselli Library. She explains that she enjoys her time at John Carroll, but before coming to JCU, Wainwright grew up in Toledo, Ohio and graduated with a major in fine arts from Bowling Green State University. She pursued a couple of graduate degrees, the first she earned in Photography from Columbia College in Chicago. The second was in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, the highest-ranked American graduate program for the field. 

After receiving her Masters degree, Wainwright had two goals in mind — stay relatively close to family and enter into the library field. Among her prospects, Wainwright applied to John Carroll. Falling in love with the community, the city and the campus, she found a home at JCU.

Wainwright says that she gets to be the “cheerleader for the library” every day as she promotes and expands the resources and amenities of the library for students to feel comfortable, ensure effective work and have a safe space. Further, she “oversees all of the public services aspects of the library.” Throughout her life, Wainwright has had a passion for education and teaching but always found herself back spending time in the library.

On top of promoting the resources and encouraging their use, Wainwright works to expand and improve the library. She works with Student Wellness to, “…analyze ways to supplement co-curricular learning.” She also builds connections with faculty and the library “…to ensure that they are utilizing the most relevant information literacy practices and to arrange ways that the faculty librarians can work on research skills directly with students.” 

If a student is using a resource from the library, it’s very likely that Wainwright helped connect them somehow. Through this role of empowerment, she is able to give students space to learn on their own and inform the University about innovative uses of the library spaces. 

This place continues to be home, she noted especially her love for the Coventry area, her appreciation of the Jesuit experience of being people for and with others and her opportunities to make positive change on and off-campus. 

A longtime faculty member of JCU, Amy Wainwright highlights resources for students in the library and helps expand its horizons. (Amy Wainwright)

“What I have absolutely fallen in love with is the social justice aspect of Jesuit pedagogy, learning and experience,” Wainwright told The Carroll News. “And I have a wonderful community of colleagues here! We all are passionate, we all care about students, we all want to make this University experience — this college experience — the best as possible for students.”

Shannon Callaghan ‘22 appreciates Wainwright for her help in utilizing the library space for various clubs ands initiatives. She says, “Amy assisted OIPu in coordinating a temporary display in the library last spring — she was so helpful and thought of great ways to increase foot traffic and viewership too!”

When she isn’t in the Grasselli Library, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Future Heights, working to help local development in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. 

Wainwright says that her work outside of JCU and her research helps her build connections. She specifically mentions that “it’s all about collaborations and partnerships to support each other.” 

Though her work remains primarily in the library, she strives to bring non-academic departments into the library too. 

“I love teaching because, unlike my [library] job, I get to form these more deep relationships with students over the course of a semester.” Of course, students who know Amy Wainwright appreciate all she has done for the library and for them. 

When off campus, Wainwright looks forward to gardening again and enjoying some time outside.