Student ambassador enjoys being part of ‘something bigger’ through KU Libraries 

KU Libraries Student Ambassador Weston Curnow was recently selected to serve on the National Humanities Leadership Council, part of a cohort of 32 undergraduate students that will receive professional development and mentoring from leading scholars and other humanities professionals as well as research support, opportunities for networking, and access to NHC programming and expertise. Council members were nominated by faculty from colleges and university from across the country and represent a variety of majors. Curnow is one of two KU students on the council, including Nafiza Akbar. 

The following feature on Curnow ran in KU Libraries’ Annual Review publication from summer 2024. 

Weston Curnow in the Watson Library stacks.

As a student of philosophy and English, Curnow has a deep appreciation for truth, ideas, and the written word -- values that formed a natural connection to KU Libraries. The senior from Kansas City has been a consistent user of library materials and spaces during his time at KU, and through his participation in the KU Libraries Student Ambassador Program (KULSAP) contributes to be part of “something bigger than [himself].” 

Curnow came to KU in the fall of 2020, a time when the library stacks were closed to browsing and services were limited due to the pandemic.  

“My first experience with the libraries was frustration,” Curnow said. “I came into the building and there were big red X’s on all the doors. You couldn’t look in the stacks, and the call number organization system for materials confused me.” 

Curnow gave up on the library for a while, avoiding visits and usage — but eventually he needed a book for class that he couldn’t find elsewhere. He asked library staff for assistance ordering it and was able to pick it up quickly and easily at the service desk.  

“That experience was really good,” he said. “And once I started using the library, I started to realize the wealth of material and support we have here. I started to think about how I could contribute and be a part of that.” 

KULSAP was the perfect opportunity for Curnow to further connect with the libraries. A platform for student involvement and leadership, the group is a collaboration between students and library leaders, focusing on student input to enhance library services, programming, and facilities.  

“Working with the libraries through KULSAP is participating in something bigger than myself but also something that I as an individual benefit from,” Curnow said. 

He sees his participation in KULSAP as part of a long thread of stewardship and investment in the foundational values shared by the libraries and university. 

“Historically the university was created amid the struggles of surviving in a new place, growing food and making homes and organizing government. It shows the aspirations of Lawrence and the State of Kansas that in the midst of all that, there was someone employed by the State teaching Attic Greek on Mt. Oread,” Curnow said, inspired by the idea. “Wow, I want to help steward that legacy.” 

Curnow will embark on his third year of service in KULSAP during the 2023-24 school year,  his final year at KU. After graduation in the spring, he plans to seek a master’s degree in divinity and pursue ordination in the Episcopal Church, eventually serving in the parochial ministry, a position that feels central to who he is and combines many of his interests, including scholarship, community, and pride of place.  

“Being with people; being there for people. You’re in the room where it happens, immersed in the first principle of everything,” Curnow said. “The whole thing excites me, even the challenges.” 

Curnow sees the libraries as an essential part of his university experience, with benefits he’ll carry with him on the next part of his journey. 

“What does a library do? It nourishes all the parts of a person,” Curnow said. “It nourishes civic needs, positioning you within this larger collective body that gives of itself for the sake of the community. It nourishes you spiritually as you plug yourself into this aspect of learning that’s so much bigger than you, reading books written 10, 20, or even hundreds of years before you were born, and you’re still learning from them. A library ministers to all the parts of you.”