Ellice Yager

Ellice Yager


Personally, it is so rewarding to help our students. If I am able to help just one student on any given day, I go home feeling like I accomplished something important that day.


MSU Degree:

BA in English, 2008

Any other degrees:

Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from University of Southern Mississippi, 2012

Favorite memories of being an undergraduate English major:

Oh goodness, I have so many fond memories from my time as an English major at MSU. Perhaps my favorite memory, though, was the semester that I took Advanced Composition (which I believe is now called Critical Writing & Research in Literary Studies). It was the first English-specific course that I took, and up until that point, I thought I was a skilled writer. I remember our instructor, Dr. Claggett, warning our class not to panic when she handed back our first drafts of our first assignment, but I was still naïve enough to think my paper would be an exception. It’s funny to think about now—she had marked all over that first draft! A friend & I jokingly referred to that class as Writing Boot Camp, but truthfully, it was one of my favorite classes as an English major. The class was small, & I felt as if I had known my classmates for much longer than a semester. I learned so much-- things that I still use every day when working with students at my own campus. I remember that we ended the semester watching the Muppet’s version of A Christmas Carol, drinking wassail, & eating mincemeat pies. How appropriately Dickensian of us!

I am not exaggerating when I say that I think of my English courses & professors often. I truly loved all of them. I especially enjoyed my Contemporary Literature course with Dr. Marsh; it was in this class that I first read The Handmaid’s Tale (this was long before The Handmaid’s Tale was “cool”) & In the Time of the Butterflies, two novels that left such an impact on me. My 19th Century British Novel class with Dr. Claggett was another favorite--we studied Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, & Alice in Wonderland in the same semester. It can’t get much better than that!  

Current Position:

Library Director        


Northeast Mississippi Community College


When you graduated with a degree in English from MSU, what were your plans for your future?  Has your career path mostly realized those early plans, or have you discovered new plans and goals along the way?

I originally planned to teach English at a college or university. Working toward that goal, I continued with a semester of grad school in English, but at that time, I was so shy that I couldn’t imagine teaching a college class. I investigated other options, discovered the master’s program for Library & Information Science at USM, and finished my MLIS there.  I am now a library director at a community college, where I also teach an introductory research class to students in the Honors Institute (my shyness disappeared a long time ago!). Though I’m not teaching English in a classroom, I feel like I have mostly achieved my original goal since I am working in higher ed!


What is your current occupation, and what does your work mostly consist of?

I am the library director at Northeast Mississippi Community College. At NEMCC, this is considered an administrative role. I manage the library staff, serve on campus decision-making committees such as Administrative Council & Instruction Council, collaborate with faculty across campus, & teach library orientation courses, among many other duties. Technology is a major focus at NEMCC, so a lot of my job revolves around learning new technologies so that my staff & I are able to help students. We have started an academic makerspace to promote project-based learning in the classroom, which is starting to become a more popular form of assessment for our instructors.

In addition to my primary role of director, I am also an academic advisor for Education majors. I love being involved in academic advising—I had several great advisors who helped me during my college journey, so I strive to be that person for my students. Also, I teach an Introduction to Research course that is a requirement for students in the Honors Institute. I utilize many of the skills that I learned as an English major when teaching this course!


Which skills that you learned as an English major do you use most in your job?

I really couldn’t imagine a better foundation than an undergraduate degree in English to prepare me for my career. I use those skills daily. Often, the library acts as an unofficial Writing Center—I proofread papers for students, suggest ways they could improve their writing, or help them determine their theses. I teach information literacy & library orientation lessons to our students, and I first learned these skills while majoring in English at MSU. Also, as a result of my English background, I was involved in the writing and proofreading of our last SACSCOC accreditation document. These are just a few examples of how I use my English skills; there are many more!  


What additional skills did you need to learn in order to do your job, and how did you learn them?

I learned many of the necessary skills while acquiring my MLIS at USM. However, there are a lot of skills I have had to acquire that really aren’t taught in school, and I suspect it’s that way in a lot of careers. Interacting with a diverse student population is something that I have just learned by experience.

Also, in this career, technology is always changing, so I am always having to learn how to use a new piece of equipment, a new app or program, or a new concept (such as AI). Besides some professional development sessions, a lot of those skills have been self-taught.


Are there common misconceptions about your career field, which current English majors might share, that you have learned the truth about?

Oh yes, I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about being a librarian. I remember not long after I first started working at the library, a student was making small talk & asked, about my job. I told him it had been a busy day, & his response was, “You’ve got it made. You just get to sit around, read books all day & shush people.” Unfortunately, that isn’t the only time I have heard a similar assumption about being a librarian. I assured him that there is much more to this career than that. At my institution (and many other higher ed institutions) librarians are members of the faculty. We are very involved in academics, and we collaborate with instructional faculty regularly. As I previously mentioned, we also work on the forefront of technology. Librarians are quite innovative! Only a tiny part of the job involves books & shushing. :) 


In what ways does your career enrich your life and help you to achieve your personal as well as your professional goals? 

Professionally, I have always wanted to work in higher education, so I am proud that I was able to achieve that goal. Personally, it is so rewarding to help our students. If I am able to help just one student on any given day, I go home feeling like I accomplished something important that day.


What advice do you have for undergraduate English majors right now who might want to follow the career path you did?

You are on the right path! Finish your English degree. It will help you so much in this field. If you are interested in pursuing a career in Library & Information Science, apply for a work study position in the library while you’re at MSU. Talk to one of your librarians there, or please feel free to contact me with any questions.


[Updated May 2024]