Position: Head of the Charles L. Brown Science & Engineering Library
Institution: University of Virginia
Born and Lived: I was born near State College, PA when my dad was a student at Penn State. We moved to Blacksburg, VA when I was four years old so I consider myself a Virginian. I did live in Maryland for eleven years and then moved back to Virginia – Charlottesville and the University of Virginia, this time. I’m happy to report that I am still living (present tense!).
Professional Career and Activities: I’ve been at the University of Virginia since 1997 in various positions: Distance Education Librarian, Google Book Project Manager, and now I am the Head of the Science & Engineering Library. A few activities include usability testing/user requirements gathering, serving on the services team for our institutional repository (Libra), serving on the Promotion Review Board, writing book reviews, and chairing the Virginia Library Association’s Chapter of ACRL (VLACRL).
Before working a U.Va., I was a law librarian at Dept. of Justice and the Federal Reserve board, a legislative librarian at the Maryland General Assembly, and also held paraprofessional jobs at University of Maryland and Virginia Tech.
Family: I have a husband, a sister, and my cat. (she’s a cutie)
In My Spare Time: I like to hike, ride my bicycle, spend time with my cat, read all kinds of books, knit, watch old movies with my husband, etc.
Favorite Books: The Man Who Turned into Himself, The Incredible Journey, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Balkan Trilogy/The Levant Trilogy, The Ladies of Missalonghi (to name just a few)
Pet Peeves: people who spend their outdoor time entirely engaged with a device instead of their surroundings AND name-dropping
Philosophy: My professional philosophy is to represent the Library to my clientele (students & faculty today, but in the past to attorneys and state citizens) in a light that reflects the Library’s transformative value to their pursuits, whatever they may be.
Most Memorable Career Achievement: I have to mention two:
1. getting a standing ovation BEFORE my library instruction session for a class of doctoral students at one of our distance education class sites.
2. being promoted from Asst. to Assoc. Librarian – the promotion package took concerted effort.
Goals I Hope to Achieve Five Years from Now: I hope to have made the U.Va. yearbook, Corks & Curls, and the U.Va. student newspaper, Cavalier Daily, available online, especially for alumni, but certainly to all potential users.
How/Where Do I See the Industry in Five Years: If the industry is higher education, I see increasing emphasis in fund-raising, looking to business for financial models, and assessment requirements. That means that the kinds of staff at universities and academic libraries will probably include greater numbers of people devoted to administrative functions. I think this indicates that our mission is becoming more diverse and hard to manage.
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.