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Meet The Learning Commons Staff
Philip Williams is the Technical Services Specialist for the University Library. He was interviewed by Mary Wu, Digital Scholarship and Metadata Librarian.
How did you get your start in libraries?
I began working in libraries as a student assistant in the Phillips Memorial Library at Providence College. After graduating, I decided to continue working in libraries because of my positive experiences in them, and because I wanted to learn more about the field.
What do you like best about working in the library?
I really like being surrounded by books and other library resources, and I enjoy working in an academic environment.
What drew you to RWU?
I saw the position of Technical Services Specialist at RWU as a unique opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of libraries. I’m excited to be able to assist the University Library behind the scenes in the Technical Services Department.
What does a Technical Services Specialist do in the library?
As the Technical Services Specialist, I help facilitate the Cataloging Department workflow through the cataloging and processing of new acquisitions and I assist with library digital services in areas of metadata creation, digitization, and digital asset management.
Do you have a favorite genre of books or media that you enjoy the most?
I like to read fiction, history, philosophy, and religion. I’ve recently read the Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick, and I subscribe to National Geographic.
What book are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel.
Outside of work, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
I really enjoy reading, playing the guitar, cooking, and walking.
Name: Kelly A. LeMeur
Title: Learning Commons Librarian
Department: University Library
Where can you be found on campus? I can be found at the library or in the pool!
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself or a unique hobby? I love to do yoga, work in my beautiful garden, and travel the world.
Name: Jess Clarke
Title: Access Services Assistant
Department: University Library
Where can you be found on campus? My office is on the first floor of the library.
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself or a unique hobby? I grew up in England and I play the trumpet.
Name: Samantha R. Marshall
Title: Classroom Support Specialist
Department: Information Technology
Where can you be found on campus? Library Basement
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself or a unique hobby? I have been providing technical support to the Higher Ed community for the past 16 years. About 5 years ago I moved to Bristol, and have enjoyed becoming a part of the community. I feel very fortunate to now be able to work here, too.
Name: Bruce Glazer
Title: Technical Services Specialist
Department: Information Technology
Where can you be found on campus? Media Tech Help Desk, in the University Library
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself or a unique hobby? I enjoy sporting events, both live and on TV, old movies, and announcing high school basketball and football play-by-play for Dover-Sherborn Cable TV.
by John Schlinke, Architecture Librarian
You can find the Architecture Library in the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation (SAAHP) at the south end of the main corridor. It is a branch of the University Libraries and its collections are focused on the built environment – architecture, urbanism, and historic preservation. The two-story library space contains about 24,000 books as well as holdings for about 360 journals. Despite being a smaller library with a special focus, the Architecture Library is open to everyone at RWU. There are a variety of seating options–soft seating, carrels, small tables, and larger tables for group study. There are nine thin-client computers available, two flat-bed scanners, a KIC bookeye scanner (very popular), and a combination photocopier/printer (black & white only). Especially at the end of the semester, when study space is at a premium, students may want to come to the Architecture Library for a quiet place to focus.
The members of the Architecture Library staff are:
John Schlinke, Architecture/Art Librarian – email@example.com, 401-254-3833
Claudia DeAlmeida, Circulation Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org, 401-254-3679
Madeline Dalessio, Evening Circulation Monitor – email@example.com, 401-254-3679
Along with a complement of friendly and dedicated student employees, all the staff members are more than happy to help you. Please stop by and see us when you get a chance.
Bob Shea, Associate Provost for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
Interviewed by Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian
- You’ve worked at several other academic institutions before arriving here. What drew you to RWU?
A couple of things really drew me to RWU. First of all, it was very clear to me from the moment I read the job description that someone gave a lot of thought to the creation of this position of Associate Provost for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, and that was exciting. Another very important draw for me was that I noticed RWU’s values aligned very closely with my own, specifically with regard to engaged teaching and learning.
- What is your long-term goal for Center for Student Academic Success?
My long-term goal for the Center for Student Academic Success has two main strands. The first is to develop an integrated student support hub, which is more than just one-stop shopping of services. I see CSAS as being aligned with the Center for Teaching and Learning to provide support for faculty development so that our faculty can best advise our students. The second is the need to establish an outcomes-based, developmental approach to student success.
- The breadth of your position is challenging. What area(s) seems to be demanding the most attention?
I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this! Every area that I oversee requires a lot of my attention. I think that with all of the areas, there is work to be done building systems for digitizing and simplifying processes, as well as building a culture that focuses heavily on learning outcomes and student success.
- What is your vision for both a physical and virtual Center for Teaching and Learning?
I see the Center for Teaching and Learning as having the primary role of making time and space available for faculty to meet and talk to each other about their own teaching and student learning. There isn’t a space like this currently on campus, and its development is high on my priority list. The physical center will reside on the 2nd floor of the library, but it is still to be determined how big or what the space will look like. A virtual center is also under development in the form of a Bridges site.
- What role do you see the library playing when it comes to experiential learning and the Center for Teaching and Learning? Can you provide some examples of your interactions with librarians in your previous positions?
At every institution before arriving at RWU, I’ve always worked very closely with the library and librarians. At Pine Manor College, I revised the First-Year Experience Program that, in part, focused on the development of information literacy skills. At the University of Rhode Island, I worked with librarians on assessing information literacy skills, as well as on broader program assessment efforts. I made the deepest connections while at Bryant University, where I team-taught a course, Citizenship in a Digital Age, with Jenifer Bond, Associate Director of the library. This class focused a lot on helping students to develop strong information literacy skills, and I learned so much from working with Jenifer.
- Outside of RWU, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
I really enjoy traveling! When I was at Bryant University I oversaw the Study Abroad program, and I was lucky enough to also find myself chaperoning several international trips, including to Spain, Germany and South Africa.
Interviewed by: Betsy Peck Learned, Associate Dean, University Library
Introduction: Michael Micale was hired in September as the Technology Services Leader to oversee the staff and operations of the new media·tech desk in the University Library.
Q: Mike, what brought you to Rhode Island and to RWU?
A: I came to Rhode Island with my wife, Raquel, when she was hired as the Assistant Dean for the Law School Library here at RWU. I loved the smaller environment and the beautiful campus. I came from Boston University and was excited to work at a school this size, where I could contribute more easily and have more influence.
Q: You have had several positions working with technology in academic institutions. What about this position is different?
A: This job actually builds upon various aspects of my work history. I started my career as an accountant (with an undergraduate degree in business) and had the opportunity to work on technical projects due to my strong interest and the continual automation of bank processes. I felt that technology was more creative than finance, which led me to get certified in several areas of technology. I then started teaching technology certification classes, began working in IT in corporations (such as Bank of America and Fidelity Investments), then became the Audiovisual Manager at Boston University, eventually becoming the Manager of the integrated IT and AV functions at the Law school. There I managed the public computing labs and various technology-related functions. At Roger Williams, I get the chance to manage the help desk for the entire university instead of just one school and to be part of the integrated Learning Commons.
Q: How do you think the new media·tech desk is working out? Do you think the students are happy with this new service overall?
A: The new media·tech desk is excellent, and there is a high level of user satisfaction. We are using new ways of reaching out to our students such as laptop repair. Students especially seem to appreciate the longer hours that help is available and the walk-up service in the library. We are also reviewing best practices for help desk procedures and working to implement ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) principles.
Q: What new technologies excite you? Are there new technology services that you can see coming down the road?
A: Help desk technology is really exciting now. While at B.U. we virtualized the labs (similar to the rCLoud here) and students there are completely trusting it now. Cybersecurity is becoming more and more important as networks become ubiquitous and security issues more frequent and complex. Due to the rising importance of cybersecurity, I entered a cybersecurity contest that was sponsored by the government and won an award.
Q: Tell us one thing about yourself that we might not guess about you.
A: I am a lot more approachable that I seem. I can appear to be impersonal but I love people and love working in libraries. I am a lifelong learner and read a lot both for pleasure and work.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: I like spending time with my wife and son. I love international travel and learning languages. I used to play sports but now watch more than participate. I love to learn new technologies and often cross-pollinate what I learn with my wife, who shares this interest.
Interview with Chris Truszkowski
Christopher Truszkowski was hired last summer as the Library’s Web and Digital Services Specialist. He is responsible for keeping the Library’s website current, supporting library technology applications, and providing digital services associated with the library’s management of digital content. As a non-librarian professional, Chris brings a welcome and fresh perspective to our library world!
Q: Chris, as a native of New Jersey by way of Pennsylvania, what brought you to RWU? Have you noticed any glaring differences between the people here in Rhode Island?
A: I moved to RI with my wife who is working on a PhD at Brown. The job here at RWU is a perfect blending of my previous jobs—from working briefly as a library page to several different jobs in I.T. I’m really liking the job so far. Rhode Island people are not that different—in some ways, they are closer to people from New York or New Jersey than people from Boston.
Q: What kind of technology work have you done in the past that prepared you for this position?
A: For the past four years I worked building web-based systems for a college in Pennsylvania. It was a good background for everything I am asked to do here—updating and adding new features to the library website, investigating the potential for data mining in order to give a better picture of library user data, etc.
Q: This is your first time working in a library as a professional, though you have worked in academia for several years. Are there things you find particularly different about library work or working with librarians?
A: Working in the library is not that much different from working in a small I.T. department—all campus departments share the same clientele—students, faculty, and staff. Each person in the department has his/her own unique set of responsibilities. I appreciate that librarians as a group have a higher percentage than others of esoteric (random) knowledge.
Q: What areas of new technology excite you? Do you have any ideas on how to bring some of these technologies to RWU Library?
A: I am determined to find uses for touch screens and tablets in the library. There is a great potential with newer web technologies for displaying the library’s content but there are technical as well as policy restrictions for the library website.
Q: We’ve heard rumors that you participate in the endurance obstacle races known as “Tough Mudder.” Can you tell us what these races are like? What do they say about you?
A: The Tough Mudder creed considers the obstacle course not a race but a “challenge.” The 10-12 mile obstacle course features 20-25 different obstacles, based on those used by the British Special Forces. These might include the “Arctic Enema,” submerging in a mud pit filled with water and ice, or my latest challenge, the “Funky Monkey Bars,” where the bars have been greased with mud, and slipping will dump you into a muddy pond, below. The goal is simply to get through the course and, regardless of whom you came with, everyone is on your team.
Q: Do you have any other interests you are passionate about?
A: I have played music since I was 8 or 9, starting with piano and trombone, but now playing a lot of tuba. I also sang in the choir in college, where I met my wife. We now both play in a Providence street band called “The Extraordinary Rendition Band,” and we perform at a lot of activist events. I also am a home brewer and have enjoyed making beer for the past few years. My specialty is pumpkin ale, which turns out the most consistently every year.
Q: May we have a sampling of your pumpkin ale?
A: After work, of course.
Thank you, Chris.