Staff Stories: An Interview with Barbara Townsend

Tayler Lord is one of UNP’s newest staff members. She works tirelessly as a publicist, cool aunt, and dedicated Beyoncé fan. For the Press’ 75th anniversary—and out of her own curiosity—she is interviewing her more experienced co-workers to put a face on the twelfth-largest university press in the country.

Barbara Townsend is the Business and Acquisitions Assistant at UNP. She also puts candy in the break room every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 3 p.m. and for that we thank her endlessly.

Tayler Lord: So, the first question: What is your current position at UNP and how long have you held it?

Barbara Townsend: My current position is business department assistant and acquisitions assistant. I started in 2007 and I’ve held the business position since then, and began working in acquisitions in 2011.

TL: Have you held any other positions with the press?

BT: I worked in the copyrights and permissions department for a few months after the previous individual retired. UNP eventually filled the position.

TL: Could you describe one of your most memorable moments at the press? Or one of your favorite moments or favorite memories?

BT: One of my favorite memories and moment is when I came in for my interview and was hired the same day! So I’m very happy and thankful that I was given the opportunity to interview for a position at UNP!

TL: That’s a really good memory!

BT: It’s a very positive memory for me! It’s like, “Yay, I got it!”

TL: I guess kind of going with that, what brought you to UNP? How did you end up here?

BT: I worked with the Director of the University Child Care Center and our lease wasn’t renewed, so the center closed. And then an individual that works at UNP, who had one of her children in the daycare at the time, told me about the job opening at UNP.

TL: What author will you never forget? Do you work very much with authors?

BT: I don’t come in contact with a lot of our authors. Ron Hull, author of Backstage, stopped by UNP to discuss his book and then we had the opportunity to ask him questions. It was very interesting and entertaining, so I’ll always remember Ron Hull!

TL: What advice do you have for people starting a career in publishing?

BT: It’s hard for me to say because my degree isn’t in publishing.

TL: What would you say based off of working around publishing?

BT: Be patient! There is a lot to learn in the publishing field. Don’t try to take all the info in at one time and appreciate all the hard work that goes into publishing a book! It’s definitely a team effort!

TL: That’s really good advice. Okay, our last question is, “Finish this sentence: Remember when….”

BT: Remember when we couldn’t use the women’s restroom! We had to use Olsson’s restroom, another business in our building, or go across the street. We weren’t able to use our restroom for about two days.

TL: That sounds like a pain!

BT: It was a pain! We would have to ask Olsson employees if we could use their restroom. You just feel bad going into another business to use their restroom! I guess that’s hard to forget.

TL: Do you have anything else you want to say?

BT: I’m just very happy that you’re here with us.

TL: (starts giggling, thanking Barbara effusively)