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Between the Lines: November Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight, TLA News

Paul Sharpe
Dean of Libraries
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) University Libraries

What inspired you to become a librarian?
A desire to help people, coupled with an overwhelming desire to organize the world.

What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others?
I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the area of Open Educational Resources (OER). Our talented and innovative staff have already made a great impact on the lives of our students by saving them tens of thousands of dollars in a very short period of time.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Stephen King – I’ve been a big fan of his work since my teenage years. I appreciate the way he winds popular culture into his writing.

Mark Twain – I grew up in Northeast Missouri, near Hannibal, so I’d like to compare notes. Twain had a great sense of humor, and I’d love to experience that firsthand.

Philip K. Dick – I love science fiction, and his work is especially poignant in how it examines society from an alternate perspective.

What are you reading right now? If It Bleeds by Stephen King (a collection of 4 novellas).

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience? TLA Annual 2009 was held in Houston. I was co-chair of the Local Arrangements Transportation Subcommittee (read as: we made sure the buses were running on time!) It was one of the easiest ways to meet people coming and going from the convention center. It provided a flavor of Texas librarianship from all over the state and was a lot of fun!

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you had to adjust the way you provide library services? Our libraries can do so many things virtually, but have always prided ourselves on our face-to-face customer service. Working to promote student success from a distance is a challenge. Now that we have re-opened for the Fall 2020 semester, keeping people healthy and safe is our top priority. Enforcing social distancing and face masks is the only way to protect our students and our staff. Improving the virtual user experience is the next big challenge for us all.

How is your library operating for this fall? As mentioned, we are physically open but limiting the number of students in the buildings. Face masks and social distancing are always required. We are working with faculty and instructors to limit the use of physical items and encourage integration of our electronic resources whenever possible.

Please finish this sentence. “I am a TLA member because…” …it’s the best way to meet colleagues, make friends, and show your pride in the state and the library profession at the same time!