Q&A with Maureen Rust – The Observer

Meet Maureen Rust, CWU Student Engagement and Community Outreach Librarian who, along with Central Washington University Library Access Services, was recently awarded by the 2021 Washington Library Association Distinguished Service Award. Rust aims to encourage cultural conversation and community dialogue within the CWU and Ellensburg.

Q: What attracted you to your career as a student engagement and community outreach librarian?

A: I grew up in Ellensburg and moved years ago, returning regularly to visit friends and family, until I moved permanently in 2014. I started my career at the CWU as a reference and instructional librarian and applied for the SECO position when it was posted in 2015. Prior to returning to Ellensburg, I was a school librarian at a 6th-12th grade high school year in Connecticut. I enjoy working with students of all ages and was drawn to the position for its direct relationship with students and student success partners on campus. Growing up in Ellensburg, I also knew of the strong community networks that support service and literacy efforts.

Q: What inspired the idea of ​​hosting Cultural Conversations at the CWU Library?

A: I served as a counselor for the campus Rotaract club from 2016-2019. Rotaract is a service organization. The club’s then president, a CWU student, attended a leadership conference in Seattle and came away very enthusiastic about the cultural conversation program initiated by the city of Bellevue. We saw it as a good fit for our campus and our community. These quarterly programs provide opportunities to bring people together to make new friends, learn about other cultures, and understand the immigration experience in the Ellensburg community.

Q: How can the CWU better connect with the Ellensburg community?

A: The CWU is currently doing a good job of connecting with the community, bringing students and businesses together with activities like Bite of the ‘Burg and service projects like the downtown beautification in the fall and spring and cleaning up the Yakima River. The Cultural Conversations program is a joint effort between CWU Libraries, the Office of International Studies and Programs, and the Ellensburg Public Library. Continuing to develop these types of collaborative programs can only help bring campus and community closer together.

Q: Where is your favorite place you have traveled to?

A: ​I find it hard to narrow down my favorite places to visit – they can vary wildly, each with their own unique experiences. Just before COVID hit, I bought a 1997 Scamp 13′ trailer and enjoyed exploring the Pacific Northwest with my doodle, Ziggy, visiting parts of Oregon and Washington that I didn’t. never visited or haven’t visited for years. We live in an incredibly beautiful and varied state.

Q: What is your favorite movie?

One : So many choices! For comedy it is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. For serious movies, it’s a toss-up between Reds and The Constant Gardener. And for anything in between is In Brugge.

James C. Tibbs