ATG Star of the Week: Esther Onega, Head of the Charles L. Brown Science & Engineering Library, University of Virginia

by | Aug 15, 2013 | 0 comments

Esther OnegaName: Esther Onega
Position: Head of the Charles L. Brown Science & Engineering Library
Institution: University of Virginia
Email: onega@virginia.edu
Website: www.library.virginia.edu/

 

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.

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