Position: Librarian IV,
Institution: National Library and Information System Authority
Born and Lived: I was born and live in Trinidad and Tobago which is the southern most island in the Caribbean. I did my undergraduate studies at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Then I was awarded a scholarship to pursue my Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I spent three years at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN studying for my MLS and gaining practical working experience which I could take back to my country.
Professional Career and Activities: At present, I supervise the operations of the Technical Services Department which supports all of the public libraries in Trinidad and to a lesser extent Tobago. I teach part time as part of my professional development so that I can ensure that there will be a cadre of para professionals and professionals to keep the profession and craft going.
Family: I come from a small family whose background is in teaching. I believe that I continue to carry on the tradition but, I have taken a slightly different path to get there. I have one son who is the light of my life.
In My Spare Time: In my spare time what do I do except read. Yes I am your typical librarian whose nose is always in a book. In my case, a Kindle or an iPad – Kudos to technology. I can now take my books literally anywhere and read anytime. I also like to hike as we have a lot of trails in Trinidad where you can enjoy the natural flora and fauna. And of course a Trinidadian would not be a “Trini” without “taking a lime.”
Favorite Books: Far away in the sky: memoirs of the Biafran airlift by David L. Loren is one of my favorites as I have recently started researching material on the Biafran War. I stumbled upon this one which is fairly simply written. I also, love to read romance novels. Jennifer Connors and Angeline Fortin – “A Laird for all times” .
Pet Peeves: People who just do not get what you do. They think you go around the library saying “shh”.
Philosophy: To live life to the fullest
Most Memorable Career Achievement: Being part of the team that was successfully able to migrate our old ILS system to a new one.
Goals I Hope to Achieve Five Years from Now: I hope to be able to hone my IT Skills as I would like to get more involved in the Systems part of libraries.
How/Where Do I See the Industry in Five Years: There will always be a need for librarians and libraries. However, we will have to be more tech savvy in order to ensure that we show patrons how to use the resources that we have. Google still uses librarians to organize its information so let us embrace the technology – set up our web pages so that we provide a one stop shop for information but through the library’s website. And yes, people will still come in to read those books. I do not need to be fully charged or the Internet to read my print book.
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.