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After 31 years, research librarian is retiring

By VERSHAY BURKS / VN FEATURES EDITOR
On February 15, 2017

After more than 31 years as a research librarian working on the first floor of the McNichols campus library, Sue Homant has retired.

On her last day, she still placed the students’ chairs back under the tables.

In a daze, she paused to recall all the changes that have occurred in the library.

She remembered when the first floor had walls lined with books and when there were no private study rooms.

“I’m going to miss you guys a lot,” she said to a student. “You energize me. I get out there at the desk, I’m tired, I’m grumpy and somebody comes and asks me question and I’m fine the rest of the day. I just love it.”

She sometimes even went out of her way after work hours to provide students with needed articles.

She loved to show students how to search for authentic scholarly information – “not just Google stuff,” she said.

Over the years she served as liaison to the central intelligence analysis, criminal justice, education and business departments.

Homant also helped implement change on campus.

Years before the University of Detroit merged with Mercy College, students and faculty were allowed to smoke in the library and various other buildings on campus – until Homant and some colleagues petitioned to prohibit smoking in the library.

“We got articles showing how secondhand smoke was bad for you, let alone firsthand smoke, and bad for the conservation of libraries,” said Homant.

As a result, the dean of the library banned smoking. Years later, other buildings on campus followed suit.

Homant also was responsible for starting the pay-it-forward program on campus. It helped students who had fallen on hard times. It gave students in need money for food, gas or the city bus.

She recalled a previous student who had lost everything in a house fire, and how the program helped her.

Colleagues Betty Nelson and Julia Eisenstein described Homant as a support system, a great listener, a conversationalist, an explorer, a big Titans basketball fan and a delight.

Sandra Wilson worked with Homant for 20 years.

Wilson said she already misses Homant.

“We’ve had a good time together,” she said. “She’s been a great inspiration, a wonderful mentor and we used to have lots of great discussions and lots of laughs.”

Homant was thrown a retirement party in the library, and peers showed her just how special a person she is.

In retirement, Homant plans to be busy.

Her plans include watching her grandson, taking care of her mother, catching up on some reading, improving her home, doing woodwork and traveling.

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