Born and Lived: I was born in Texas and have lived most of my life here.
Professional Career and Activities: Other than a jaunt in a Texas barbecue restaurant during high school (it was clean, believe it or not!), I’ve worked in academic libraries my entire life. I was born a bookworm, but my true interest in libraries was piqued when my 5th grade teacher asked me to help reorganize the library over the summer. In college, I studied meteorology, then transitioned to music. By the time I went to grad school, libraries had won me over! The best part is that I still get to learn about the things I enjoy – and I learn new things every day that I never knew I’d enjoy.
I’ve been involved in such a variety of fun stuff while working in libraries: I got to help design a homegrown ERMS; I’ve watched the evolving landscape of information creation and consumption with great interest through a number of lenses – from shelving periodicals, to figuring out how to pay for them (and hundreds of thousands of their closest digital ‘friends’), to marveling at students’ adaptability, to helping faculty navigate the complex world of copyright.
Family: One precocious daughter. Her daddy shamelessly spoils both his girls. Pets: three cats, two dogs, and the most docile snake in the world. I grew up in a large, boisterous family, and we remain close.
In My Spare Time: Music, scuba diving, photography, outdoor activities
Favorite Books: ‘The Fabric of the Universe,’ Brian Greene; ‘The Eight,’ Katherine Neville; ‘Physics of the Impossible,’ Michio Kaku; ‘How We Decide,’ Johan Lehrer; ‘Lightning,’ Dean Koontz;
Pet Peeves: Chosen ignorance.
Philosophy: An insatiably inquisitive nature keeps us both fresh and humble.
Goals I Hope to Achieve Five Years from Now: Have you ever experienced that surreal moment when you feel as if you’re in the video game from the late ’80s with a huge waterfall of spears that has a tiny gap to dart through? The more time that elapses, the smaller the gap becomes. Eventually, you just have to take your chances and jump in. Those ‘little’ things we do every day are real life. So although I do think about what I’d like to achieve in five years, I realize that if I were to look back five years from the present, I wouldn’t have foreseen my current path – yet I’m thrilled to be here. Maybe the most important focus is to continue growing and learning, come what may.
How/Where Do I See the Industry in Five Years: Without a crystal ball, that’s tough to predict. But it seems like the social connection and ‘group think’ mentality are here to stay, along with the technologies that power them. What will that mean for information creation and dissemination in coming years? Will it allow us to branch out and incorporate new, previously unheard ideas, or will it keep us entrenched in narrow slices of society that think the ways we do?
I think the struggle to place a value on information will continue. It will be interesting to see which information remains ‘free’ (yet is perceived as valuable) and which information is restricted or repressed (whether perceived as valuable or without value).
Tom Gilson. Test Bio