Organization: University of Houston Libraries
Born and Lived: I was born in Somerville, New Jersey in 1986. In 1999, I moved to Spring, Texas with my family and have had no desire to leave Texas since (although I have left Spring). I currently live in Houston, Texas.
Professional Career and Activities: I am the Resource Discovery Systems Fellow at the University of Houston Libraries. I received my MSIS from the University of Texas School of Information in May 2011, and I am currently working in my first professional position. I could not be happier than to start my career in a fellowship because I have been able to gain experience in so many areas, particularly electronic resources management and discovery systems.
I am a member of the Texas Library Association where I serve as a programming chair for E-SMART (Electronic Serials Management and Acquisitions Roundtable). I will be giving my first conference presentation at Charleston this year, and I am very excited about my future professional involvement.
Family: I live with my sister in Houston, Texas. She is a high school AP US History teacher in Houston ISD. My mom still lives in Spring, Texas and she is professor in the fashion design department at Houston Community College.
In My Spare Time: Right now I am training for a half marathon, so I run several days per week. I love to cook and try new recipes. I enjoy cross-stitching and doing other step by step crafts. I also love to hike and be outdoors, but I am still trying to figure out how to do that in Houston.
Favorite Books: Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut; Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Pet Peeves: I am a very laid back person, I can barely think of a pet peeve. I do try to avoid aggressive and tense situations, and get irritated when these situations arise, if they are unnecessary.
Philosophy: Live and Let Live. Also dogs and friends make your life better.
Most Memorable Career Achievement: So far my most memorable career achievement has been getting the job I currently have. Getting your first job in an academic library is no easy task. It was a long road, but it totally paid off. I could not be happier than where I am now professionally.
Goals I Hope to Achieve Five Years from Now: In five years I hope to still be working in an academic library, but in a permanent position rather than a fellowship. I enjoy working technical services, but I hope to have a position that allows me to use my knowledge of behind the scenes practices to make the whole library experience easier and more enjoyable to end users. I particularly would like to decrease the amount of time and frustration involved in getting users to the resources they need which I believe involves optimizing the systems used to bring people to resources and educating end users about how they work.
How/Where Do I See the Industry in Five Years: I really do not like when people take an ‘apocalyptic’ view of the future of libraries. I think as long as we are willing to be adaptable and change according to what people need at any particular time, then we will be here and relevant. It is impossible to say where the industry will be in five years because we cannot predict the technology that will be available to us. One thing I do think is certain is that every year, there will be less face-to-face interaction between librarians and patrons.
I went to college, and I needed the library in order to be successful. I think it is very important that we show the value of libraries to young, undergraduates, and they will not forget it when they leave their colleges and universities. I want the idea of cutting library budgets to appeal the average American.
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.