Alex Baker leaves Washington College to pursue a new library leadership role closer to home

By Grace Hogsten

Copy Editor

After working at Washington College for four years, Director of Public Services and Faculty Librarian in STEM Alex Baker will be leaving WC and taking on a new position at George Mason University, which will offer her a larger leadership role and an opportunity to move closer to her family.

Baker joined the staff of the Clifton M. Miller Memorial Library in August of 2020 and quickly became a leading member of the community despite the obstacles of virtual work and learning.

“It was a difficult time to join a new community, but given our shared experiences with COVID and the size of the college, which necessitates collaboration, I was able to quickly make connections with people via Zoom and email interactions that flourished when we returned to in-person.”

According to Dean of Library and Academic Technology Mary Alice Ball, Baker provided vital insight on virtual learning and led events to foster community during the era of


In collaboration with several campus organizations, Baker spearheaded one particularly impactful series of events called “Poetic Justice,” which offered a space for WC community members to read their work and engage in meaningful discussion, according to previous Elm coverage.

Baker’s community involvement grew to include a wide array of organizations and programs; early on in her career at WC, she collaborated with Director of Digital Media Services.

Brian Palmer to create a first year seminar course based on designing escape rooms. Additional projects led her to work with faculty and staff across departments and disciplines.

Alongside other librarians and members of the Bias Education Response Team, Baker helped lead WC’s Human Library, a project that allows members of the community to share about their life experiences and encourages open dialogue between participants, according to previous Elm coverage.

“If anyone knows Alex, they know that any conversation with her can lead to a spark of an idea, a new collaboration, a connection, or more,” Public Services Librarian Andrea Boothby-Rice, who worked with Baker on the Human Library project, said.

According to Ball, students can see the results of Baker’s work all around the library; Baker has worked on informational displays, expanded the library’s collection of graphic novels in the Diversions section, and welcomes students into her office with an “open door policy.”

“Alex is such an amazing librarian not only in the aspect that she is incredibly helpful with research, but also for her dedication and support to the community. Whenever there is an event, Alex is there and supporting our community,” Miller Library student worker senior Paige Dauplaise said.

In addition to meeting with individual students who visit her for help with research, Baker works closely with student organizations to plan events and foster a sense of community on campus.

“What I think has been so powerful is to see the role she’s filled in supporting students of color, particularly female students of color,” Ball said. “She’s very, very open to being there, to doing that little extra to show [everybody] that she cares. I think that’s what she’s done so well: she cares, and she communicates that to everybody.”

Due to Baker’s many connections to the student, faculty, and staff of WC, her departure will be an emotional one.

“I will truly miss this community and its wonderful people who continue to show up with kindness, curiosity, and a spirit of collaboration for the betterment of our collective experiences,”

Baker said. “If I were to rattle off a list, it would be far too long, but these amazing people work across departments and spaces.”

Nevertheless, it is time for Baker to start her next chapter as she takes on an exciting new role at George Mason University. Unlike her current position at WC, Baker’s upcoming role will not be instructional; rather, she will be spending more time in research spaces across the university’s campus.

“I’m grateful to join the GMU community at a time when they are seeking out voices to build new pathways with so many projects on the horizon,” Baker said. “I’m looking forward to working with experts who are innovating within the world of gamification in theory and practice, supporting the research of those leading in the field of forensic science.”

Furthermore, the university’s graduate program will allow Alex to continue her own education as she works.

“I look forward to furthering my education after getting comfortable in my new role,” Baker said. “As a benefit, I am able to enroll in courses and complete programs while employed there. Working with graduate students and having the bandwidth to engage in scholarship for myself will be delightful.”

In addition to her new professional and educational opportunities, Baker said she is “most excited” to live closer to her family members.

While Baker’s friends and colleagues are happy for her many new opportunities, WC will miss her many contributions as an active and welcoming member of the community.

“Her investment in her community and joyous presence will be sorely missed in the library,” Boothby-Rice said.

According to a campus-wide email sent by Ball, the library will host a farewell party for Baker on Wednesday, April 24 from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Newlin Room.

Photo Caption: A farewell for Alex Baker will be hosted on April 24 in the Newlin Room of the Miller library.

Photo courtesy of Alex Baker

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