July 2009 Staff Spotlight: Colleen Smith and Daniel Akins

Our Staff Spotlight recipients for July 2009 are Colleen Smith and Daniel Akins.

Kathryn “Colleen” Smith was born in Mountain Grove, Missouri, but she never lived there. Colleen received  a B.F.A. in Art from Culver-Stockton College.

Colleen began working at Ellis Library in the Gifts section of Acquisitions in February 1989. She took a position in the Cataloging Dept. in 1991. She quit to stay home with the kids in 1999. She worked from home for MOBIUS for 5 years. While working for MOBIUS, Colleen worked on deduping and other cataloging projects for many of the MOBIUS clusters throughout the state. She started back at Ellis full-time again in November 2006.


Colleen has had 15-year-old Silkie since kittenhood.  Her family recently adopted a 3-year-old Border Collie mix named Shadow.  Shadow’s job is to help fill the void that will be left in their house when daughter Sarina leaves for college at UMKC in the fall.  A tall order for a small dog, but he’s so sweet he might just pull it off.

Colleen loves to read with her children.  Thanks to daughter Brittany, she believes that she has read every book that there is in the Midway Heights Elementary Library about dinosaurs (some of them more than once!).


Colleen is the nursery attendant for the 8:00 a.m. service at Broadway Christian Church (Yes, that’s right. She gets up early on Sunday mornings to go to church and play with babies!).  She is also a member of BCC’s Chancel bell choir which typically performs at the 9:30 and 11:00 services once a month during the school year.


Colleen likes gardening.  She considers her flower gardens to be Heirloom gardens because so many of the flower bulbs and plants have been given to her by her mother and grandmother.  Anyone who also likes gardening and would be interested in exchanging plants is invited to contact her.


Colleen has not done a lot of traveling, but the “Praying Hands” sculpture in Webb City, MO (birthplace of Colleen’s husband, Randy) is pretty awesome. Conceived and constructed by Jack Dawson when he was a college student, the 32-foot hands are a reminder of the simple but profound act of prayer.


Colleen doesn’t think she would want a movie to be made of her life, but thinks that Lily Tomlin could do a tour with a comedy act based on it. She’s sure that her family could supply Lily with plenty of material!


Just in case you didn’t know, Ruthe Morse (who also works in Cat. Man.) is Colleen’s sister. Their brother, Sam, is the manager of the Peace Nook.  Their older sister, Dorothy, who now lives in Kansas, is a Mizzou alumnus and worked at the Journalism Library when she was a student here.


Colleen and husband Randy will celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary in October.  In addition to 2 daughters, Sarina 18 and Brittany 10, Colleen also has a step-son, Collin, who lives in Tulsa with his wife, Maura, and 2 sons: Sean and Aidan. They will turn 3 and 2 in October.



Daniel Akins, originally from Mexico, MO, worked off-and-on at various jobs at MU while hewas enrolled in school.  Since earning his Bachelor’s in General Studies he has been working for MU Libraries (about 7 years) and works at UMLD, on of the University’s remote storage facilities for library materials.

Daniel has two cats and enjoys hiking, praciticing Tai Chi and playing video and other kinds of games.  He also likes learning new things, listening to music and playing around with his computer.

Asked where is the coolest place he’s ever visited, Daniel replied: “I spent about a week in Penang, Malaysia.  It was a lot of fun with wonderful people and great food.”

Daniel thinks Charlie Chaplin would best portray him in a movie of his life.

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