Born and Lived: Born: Milwaukee, WI
Lived: Milwaukee, WI; Tampa, FL; Tallahassee, FL and Waukesha, WI
Professional Career and Activities: I received my Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and was a Computer Programmer for 19 years before going back to school for my MLIS. Other than a short (50 hour) fieldwork, my first professional Librarian job is actually my first time working in a library.
Family: I am married with two cats, which are probably spoiled worse than any kids would be. I also have three sisters, two brothers, two nephews, and extended step-sister/brothers/nephews/nieces and a brand-new grand-nephew and a grand-niece on the way.
In My Spare Time: I love to read, of course, but I also love to travel — both near and far. Every town has something interesting to see and one of the stops is usually the public library. I recently started to enjoy working in the yard more, and during football season my husband and I always watch the Green Bay Packers.
Favorite Books: Too many to mention; I don’t know if I could pick a favorite. Lately I have been getting into cozy mysteries and recently started the Aunt Dimity series and the Pennyfoot Hotel Mysteries. These are long-running series that I recently discovered because they are still publishing, but I have to read them in order!
Pet Peeves: Dog-earing books. I know it’s cliché, but this bugged me before I even thought about becoming a librarian.
Philosophy: Libraries are the great equalizer in society. When you have access to information there are no limits to your potential.
Most Memorable Career Achievement: I am a trained computer programmer; the stereo-typical nerd who is very much an introvert. My most memorable career achievement is that after three years I can usually stand in front of 20 freshmen for Library Instruction and NOT break into a cold-sweat. And sometimes I’m even relaxed enough to crack a few jokes.
Goal I Hope to Achieve Five Years from Now: I like my job and I like where I work. I actually hope to be in the same position and continue to provide quality service to the next group of students so they are prepared to face whatever challenges come their way. This doesn’t mean I want to be stagnant, because I love to learn new things, but with the ever-changing Electronic Resources environment my job five years from now will be very different from what it is today, even if my title stays the same.
How/Where Do I See the Industry in Five Years: I think libraries and librarians will become even more important, in order to provide people with the necessary skills to be a fully functioning member of society. Technology will continue to expand and we need to adapt with it, yet I feel we need to blend the “old” with the “new” and remember that sometimes “how things were done in the old days” may still be our best option. We need to be flexible and innovative, but not forget to listen to our patrons on what they really want and need.
I think ebooks will become ever more prevalent but I hope in five years that we have resolved the DRM/Access issues and have come up with a workable process that is fair for all. I also hope that the e-journal Subscription vs. Open Access conflict is resolved, so that all of society can benefit from the tremendous research being done while still allowing companies to survive, because without them the research couldn’t be fully-funded.
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.