Video by Massaran Kromah
Growing up in dry and dusty Midland during the oil boom, Risa Brown was raised in a loving home with father Jene Wyatt, mother Joann Wyatt and younger sister Manda Martinez.
In school Brown developed a love for English; at home she grew passionate about reading from her mother and storytelling from her father. In high school, Brown worked in a library, giving her the opportunity to research various subjects.
“English was a fun subject for me because I like to do research. In high school, I worked in the public library all three years that I was in school,” said Brown. “When I was done with school, I would walk a few blocks to the city public library and do my research there while I worked.”
After high school, she attended Odessa College, where she obtained her associate degree. Next, she went to The University of Texas at Arlington, where she worked on a certification in social work.
While working on her certification, she married Joe Brown, and after her marriage, the couple moved back to West Texas where she attended The University of Texas of the Permian Basin; while there she received bachelor’s degree in English along with a teaching certificate.
“I wanted to be a social worker as quickly as possible, but that was the year my husband and I got married, so we ended up moving back to West Texas. While we were out there, I realized that I wanted to do something else,” Brown said.
Brown joined the Texas Wesleyan library staff three years ago, through an ad she saw for a part-time position that opened at the school. At the time she worked for Barnes & Noble, and the opportunity to work at Wesleyan would give her a chance to work with students and go back to being a librarian.
“It was almost three years ago, I saw the ad, and I applied for the position,” Brown said. “I missed working with students, so I wanted to go back to being a librarian.”
During her time at Texas Wesleyan University as a reference and instruction librarian, Brown, along with other staff members, has hosted many of the library-sponsored events such as The Banned Book Talks and The Lunch and Learn events. She credits her curiosity for helping her come up with such ideas to contribute to the libraries-sponsored events.
“I`m attracted to how people have dealt with a problem, or the situation at hand and getting a feel for their experiences, so that helps me to form my own opinions and help bring awareness to the situation or problems at hand,” Brown said.
Aside from working at Texas Wesleyan, Brown said, she is a published author, who has written more than 16 books. Some of her books are online at Amazon.com, and some are in the library. Reference and instruction librarian Marquel Anteola described Brown as a helpful person who contributes new ideas to the team.
“She brings a lot of ideas; she will not hesitate to help. If someone needs help she is there to help,” Anteola said. “If she is planning an event or helping plan an event she will give input on things we can do and look at new ways we can approach the problems.”
Coworker and reference and instruction librarian Dennis Miles said working with Brown is a lot of fun, and her personality makes it easy to work with her on a daily basis. He admires her outgoing and helpful nature.
“She is a lot of fun to work with, she has a good personality where it’s really easy to work with her,” Miles said. “She is very outgoing with the students and very concerned with doing the best jobs she can in a very friendly and approachable demeanor.”