The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student Emmon Rogers and her mother, UW-Madison alumna Anne Hedrich. They not only mapped their educational paths through Madison…
“I was an undergrad here from 1979 to 1985,” explained Hedrich, who returned in the spring of 1986 to take one undergraduate course as a non-degree earning student. “Then I came back again in 1989 to get my library degree.”
“I finished my undergraduate career here, and now I’m getting my library degree as well,” said Rogers.
They have literally been walking the same paths through their time on campus – right through the Geography Building.
“I like geography and I was looking for a job on campus,” said Hedrich. “The Geography Library offered me a position and it was just a perfect fit. It was always fun to work here.”
Years later her daughter would find herself in the same role, but for Rogers, the Geography Library has been a part of her life for far longer than just her time on campus.
“My mom actually worked with Geography Librarian Tom Tews! Anytime we would come back to visit Madison, we would come visit Tom,” explained Rogers. “I would always draw on the stories my mom would tell of the fun she had when she was here, so my decision to come to Madison for school was an easy one.”
For Tews, it’s a fun tie that has come full circle.
“It’s neat to see how they’re both interested in the same things,” said Tews. “They have vastly different personalities but working with both of them through the years has been a lot of fun.”
As Rogers noted, she might have the Geography building to thank, in part, for her existence.
“My mom actually met my dad here,” said Rogers.
“It’s true,” continued Hedrich. “[Paul] was a geography grad student working on his thesis. I helped get him a class reserve reading that he needed one day, and that’s how we met!”
For Rogers, who will graduate with a Masters in Library Science in May 2018, the family legacy at UW-Madison is more than just a fun coincidence.
“I’m living and working in the spaces, walking the very floors that helped shaped my parents’ futures, and mine, before I even knew it. It’s a neat experience,” said Rogers. “Madison, this campus, and this building, [and even some of the very people in this building], have always offered me a sense of home and a place of belonging, from a very young age.”
In December 2017, Hedrich, who now works as a reference & instruction and science librarian at Utah State, made a special trip back to Madison. As the Geography Department and the Libraries prepared to close and renovate the Geography Library space over the coming years, Hedrich returned to work the final desk shift in the library alongside her daughter.
“It’s emotional, for sure,” said Hedrich. “But what an opportunity to have this experience with my daughter, and with Tom as well.”
January 2018 marked the start of a transformation for the Geography Library. Books will be moved to other campus libraries or to offsite shelving. The empty stacks will then be removed to make way for a new home for the Cartography Lab, with expanded capacity to teach map-making and data visualization, produce high quality maps for the public, and provide creative ‘makerspace’ for the UW community. The removal of books and stacks will also open up a new seminar room overlooking the Memorial Union. Both projects are underway under close supervision of the Geography Department and the Libraries, aiming for completion by the end of this calendar year. Plans are also being made for a second phase to transform the reading room into more flexible and accessible learning and workspace for the University community, while maintaining the lofty beauty of this large space.
As for Rogers, once she completes her degree, she said she plans to take a slight detour from her mother’s career path in academic librarianship, instead opting for public librarianship. However, this mother-daughter duo note their Badger family roots and Madison will always offer a home away from home.
“It’s a place of great meaning for both of us,” said Hedrich.
“Plus, we have to visit to keep Tom on his toes,” joked Rogers.