Barbara Pickthorn is a university librarian and educator celebrating more than 50 years of dedication to library and information science and over three decades with Cameron University. As a child, Ms. Pickthorn enjoyed organizing photographs and small items for her mother, and recalls being fascinated by her middle and high school libraries. She describes library science as “something she always felt led to do,” and as a teen, she was an enthusiastic volunteer in the children’s department of the Fort Worth Library. A graduate of the University of North Texas, Ms. Pickthorn earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1967 and her Master of Library Science in 1974.
Ms. Pickthorn began her career working in university libraries in 1968, and settled at Cameron University in 1981, starting as a librarian and assistant professor. Throughout the 1980s, she added the titles of assistant director of technology services and assistant director of public services to her duties for Cameron University. She was named assistant director of library services in 1990, and continued her studies at Cameron University, completing an additional Master of Science in 1992. Ms. Pickthorn would remain assistant director of library services for the next 25 years before transitioning to become interim assistant director in 2016.
During her tenure at Cameron University, Ms. Pickthorn pioneered several major technological and process updates that helped ensure that the library remained at the cutting edge of best practices, including creating a periodicals database to manage the check-in and storage of time-based materials and working alongside a professor to write a program replacing paper card catalogs as early as 1978. She is the former chair of both Cameron University’s faculty council and the Oklahoma Association of Research and College Libraries, which granted her a 1993 Outstanding Service Award in recognition of her work to keep libraries accessible and modernized.
Ms. Pickthorn was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society in 2003 and awarded a 2007 literacy grant by the group. She has dedicated much of her career to promoting the accessibility of arts and culture in the broader community, serving on the Arts and Humanity Council between 2015 and 2020, Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma, and as a member of the executive board of the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Pickthorn credits her continued success to her hardworking and flexible disposition and to the early influence of professional mentors Robert Phillips from Cameron University and Morris Martin at North Texas University, who helped craft her approach to library science as a discipline.
Ms. Pickthorn considers the technological advancements that she has seen during her time in the field to be among the most exciting changes, and looks forward to continuing her work ensuring that crucial information is appropriately archived and accessible to all. In recognition of her commitment to her work, she has been the recipient of the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to her continued dedication to information science, Ms. Pickthorn is a talented cellist and former member of both the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cameron Civic Symphony.