Lydia Burruel Johnson

Lydia Johnson is the Co-Manager of South Mountain Community College Library. She strives to bring advancements in education by pushing for better curriculum and knowledge to South Mountain campus.

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Lydia Johnson was born in Tempe, Arizona in 1953, to a Hispanic family of hard workers. She had three other siblings. Her mother worked at a hospital providing dietary information and support for patients. Her father was a construction worker. In addition, they both picked cotton while Lydia was a young girl. These financial struggles motivated Lydia to go to college and get a higher education.

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When Lydia was in 3rd grade, the teacher told her mother that Lydia was bound for college. The stage was set. As soon as she graduated from high school, Lydia attended Phoenix Community College and then Arizona State University. Later she transferred to The University of Arizona, where she graduated. Not long after she, she decided to go to graduate school. During her graduate program, Lydia gained an internship at a public library.

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Lydia’s career began in a library. Her uncle, a teacher, helped her get a job as the librarian at Isaac Junior High. While in the middle of her second year at Isaac she was offered a position at Mesa Public Library. She ended up taking the offer, which lead to a career as a reference librarian. Later, she became a mother of two and began a part time job at South Mountain Community College Library in 1999.

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Soon after, Lydia and her colleagues at SMCC began preparing for a major move. South Mountain and the City of Phoenix were launching an innovative new library concept – a shared campus and public library system, all housed at SMCC. Before the new library opened in 2011, Lydia applied for a full time job. With her years of experience as a public, school, and academic librarian she was a perfect fit for the new opening. Eventually she became. Co-manager of the award-winning South Mountain Community Library, a position she has held since 2013.

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While working at South Mountain, Lydia worked with the faculty to expand the limited curriculum and resources to include literature classes and more dynamic materials in the library. Lydia wanted to offer students more education and options. Through her efforts and giving attention to these problems she helped bring improvements to the literature at the library and campus.

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Lydia’s proudest career achievement is being the Co-Manager of the Library. She is proud to work for SMCC and proud of the impact she has made with her employees. Lydia hopes that the South Mountain Community College Library and what she has done to make it’s vast collection of books and curriculum can leave her legacy.

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Student Researchers: Ivonne Godinez & Reno Pastrano, Fall 2019