early life: After graduation from Towson State College in MD, I didn’t find a suitable teaching position. I started working as a Library Clerk at the University of Maryland Health Sciences Library. After another false start in Social Work, I decided that a Master’s degree and career in Library Science was my calling.
professional career and activities: My first professional job was a “dream” job because it combined my experience, education, and interests. I worked at Western Carolina University as a Reference Librarian and the coordinator of the government documents depository. I was library liaison and bibliographer for the School of Nursing and Allied Health and the Department of Political Science. My next job was working as a circuit-riding Area Health Education Center librarian in Northwest NC. I was hospital-based and regularly visited five other hospitals to deliver library services. For two years, I worked as the Head of Reference at the University of Mississippi Medical Center library in Jackson. For ten years, I was the Director of Library Services at Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville, NC. Before coming to my present position, I worked as the hospital-based consumer health librarian for Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
family: I share my life with Ken Zutavern. My cat is named Clemson because he is an orange striped tiger like the ACC university’s mascot.
in my spare time: I like to read (of course!), hike and picnic, and explore historic places.
favorite books: My most important book is The Bible. To Kill a Mockingbird and Exodus left indelible impressions on my young mind. I like everything written by Thomas Hardy and Margaret Maron (a living NC fiction writer).
pet peeves: I try not to have them, but I do not relate well to people when they are being closed-minded.
philosophy: From the Rolling Stones – “You can’t always get what you want, but ya just might find, if ya try some time, you get what you need.”
most memorable career achievement: My most memorable collection development achievement came after the Acquisitions Librarian at the WCU library passed away. I was one of three members of the library faculty appointed to a committee that managed the equitable allocation of funds, monitored spending progress, and provided support to the rest of the library faculty.
goal I hope to achieve five years from now: Retirement!
how/where do I see the industry in five years: Because of the increased life expectancy of patients, a comparative dwindling of the healthcare workforce, and the need for clinicians to spend as much time as possible engaged in patient care, the need for hospital librarians will increase. The librarian will be fully integrated into the patient care team.
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.