category: Faculty Emeriti - In Honor Of

Ramona ‘Mona’ L. Czarnecki

Associate Dean Emerita of the Library

Mona L. Czarnecki

Mona L. Czarnecki was born in Lincolnton, N.C., on Dec. 21, 1951, and grew up in Thomasville, N.C. Her mother was from Lincoln County and her father was a native of Warsaw, Poland. After World War II, he came to live with an uncle in America to further his education.

Her parents met at High Point (N.C.) University and raised their two daughters among a community of family and friends. The family took trips to Florida and other beaches. They had horses and loved riding and caring for them. A 1970 graduate of Thomasville High School, Czarnecki was involved in student government, the debate team, National Honor Society, and was business manager of the yearbook staff.

She chose to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, because of all the options available to her—and she loved Carolina basketball. “I had no idea what I wanted to do,” she related. “I changed my major at least four times in my first three semesters and still managed to graduate on time.”

Part of the reason for her dilemma was that she loved reading and thought about being a librarian, but she did better in her science classes. After exploring different subjects, she finally settled on dental hygiene. “I could use my science courses that I love,” she concluded, “and I could be of service to people.”

She graduated in 1974 and went to work as a dental hygienist. In 1978, she and her then husband moved to Rutherford County, N.C. She worked until the birth of her daughter in 1979, and for the next 19 years stayed at home with her children, Stephanie Caroline Bell and Weston John Bell. She also volunteered in the community, dedicating many hours to the inception and creation of the McNair Educational Foundation in Forest City, N.C. The Foundation’s mission is to provide support and services to ensure that all students are academically and financially prepared for college and career.

In 1995, Czarnecki decided it was time to go back to school and get the degree she always wanted—a master of library and information science. She attended a satellite program of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She was inducted into Beta Phi Mu, an international honor society for library and information studies. She earned her degree in 1998 and received three job offers.

“I liked Gardner-Webb the best, because I liked the idea of working with graduate and undergraduate students,” she offered. “I was able to do reference and cataloging and I enjoyed both of those things.”

When she started in the late 90s, the GWU library was still in the process of transferring books from the card catalog to an online system. Every book in the library had to be touched by hand. “If a student brought a book to be checked out that didn’t have a barcode on it, we put one on it,” she explained. “When the book was returned, it was placed in a special bin, so that we could make sure it was labeled properly.”

Czarnecki worked as a catalog/reference librarian until 2008, when she was promoted to associate dean of libraries and became an adjunct instructor for the GWU Degree Completion Program (DCP) and an instructor for University 111 (first-year programs). “The best part of my job is working with students, whether it is one-on-one helping them with a research project or working in the classroom,” she observed. “The students are just amazing. They are nice kids, appreciative and polite. Young people keep you on your toes, because you have to stay one step ahead of them.”

Czarnecki also created an interactive fall orientation activity for all entering freshmen, developed and managed the library instruction for University 111/101, managed all Level 3 information literacy instruction, and handled the information literacy teaching responsibility for all health sciences and natural sciences courses. She taught LIB 301 Research Skills for DCP students every semester since its inception and participated in the evaluation and improvement of that course.

Additionally, Czarnecki served on various faculty committees—such as the Faculty Development and Improvement of Instruction Committee (FDIIC), First Year Committee, and Information Literacy Designated Course Committee as Chair. She also maintained a rigorous schedule of professional development including attendance at the state-wide North Carolina Library Association workshops and conferences and the Association of College and Research Libraries national conferences. 

“Gardner-Webb has given more to me than I could ever give to Gardner-Webb,” Czarnecki offered. “I am so appreciative of the chance to be here—to spend my time here. Every day was a blessing. Some days were hectic, some days were wild and some days we didn’t get everything done that we needed to, but it was always a joy to be here and I am going to miss it. I feel blessed to be here and I have from the minute I stepped on campus. It has helped me grow in my faith and grow as a person—that’s Gardner-Webb’s legacy to me.”

Sources: Personal interview by Jackie Bridges (2018), emerita presentation speech by Dr. Ben Leslie and GWU files

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