Outstanding service and dedication — that’s what the recipient of the Sue Ann Kemp Meritorious Award displays at his or her core.
Records archivist Fermand Garlington won the 2022-23 edition of this award after being committed to customer service for a quarter of a century at LSUS.
“He should carry the nickname, ‘Extra Step Garlington,’” wrote Brian Sherman, dean of the Noel Memorial Library, in his nomination of Garlington. “Fermand is always going the extra mile.
“If a student needs two primary sources, Fermand will help them find 10.”
Garlington, who worked in library circulation before joining the Northwest Louisiana Archives staff, assists students, professional researchers and community members locate items in the library’s extensive archives. He’s served as an archivist since 2005 and is approaching his 25th overall anniversary at LSUS.
“When Fermand joined our staff, he was tasked with developing a records retention plan that would comply with state regulation,” said Dr. Laura McLemore, the William B. Wiener, Jr. Professor of Archives and Historic Preservation. “This was a formidable challenge both in dealing with campus department personnel and with state bureaucracy in Baton Rouge.
“But he met the challenge, accomplishing something that some institutions still haven’t accomplished. He is patient and meticulous, and he brings those characteristics to his duties as an archivist.”
The archives, the largest in North Louisiana, contain copious amounts of primary sources documenting the region’s history, including Shreveport’s Yellow Fever epidemic of 1873.
The country’s third-worst yellow fever epidemic, which is marking its 150th anniversary this year, killed nearly one-fourth of Shreveport’s population (approximately 1,200 deaths).
“Whether it’s assisting a high-profile researcher or a wayward pedestrian in the building, you can always expect 110 percent from Fermand,” Sherman said. “He prefers to stay in the background, but I can absolutely say without a doubt that the effort he puts in makes the lights shine brighter in the front of the house.
“He’s as consistent as the northern star.”
Garlington, who supervised Sherman when the latter was a student worker at LSUS, is also known for stepping outside his job description to allow LSUS to put its best foot forward.
Whether it’s picking up trash, helping clean up after a library event or straightening up an area, Garlington makes sure the library is presentable.
“He will often tell you that any time we can help someone else out in their job, it makes for a better day and positive environment for all,” Sherman said.
The Kemp award was established by Dr. George Kemp, a psychology professor and former dean who was well known for his many contributions to LSUS.