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Library staff recall a job well done

Fariha: Adapting beautifully

By November 23, 2020September 16th, 2023No Comments

Director, Acquisitions and E-Resources

How did you get started at the Libraries?

Fariha Grieme

Fariha Grieme

I started in the Libraries in 1982 as a student worker in Technical Services. This was my very first job in the United States (and my life, too), a year after I immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan. My duties were journals check-in, claiming, and project work in the Serials Records unit. I started my first full-time job as an Office Specialist (Library Assistant 1) in the same unit.

What was the campus like then?

When I started school at the U, the tuition was approximately $1,400 per quarter. The student body was not as diverse as it is today. We did not have personal computers. We had to sign up for time in the computer labs on campus. Walter Library was hot during the summer days with no AC. The card catalog was the main discovery tool those days. We used Kardex to check-in periodicals.

How have the Libraries changed over the years?

The Libraries has changed a lot over the almost 39 years that I have been here.  I have worked under several University Librarians: Eldred Smith, John Howe (Interim), Tom Shaughnessy, Peggy Johnson (interim), Wendy Lougee, and now Lisa German.  I have worked in Wilson Library all of my career and have seen many internal facelifts. The year I started my full-time job at the Libraries, the first online catalog (LUMINA) was launched. The World Wide Web and Gopher were born in 1991. We have also had three different library systems during this time (NOTIS, Aleph, Alma). Our electronic content started with CD ROMs, moved to databases and electronic journals, and finally we got our e-books. We have also gone through a few re-orgs, budget cuts, voluntary layoffs, and 2-3 RIOs in my time here.

How did this change your work?

FarihaI have done different things with every restructuring we have had in the Libraries, but all have been related to technical services work, mainly working with serials and electronic resources. I was part of the first group of folks who helped with the conversion project when the technical services department automated. We converted/added our Kardex journal check-in records manually to the NOTIS system. Later came migration to Aleph (2001) and then Alma (2013) and increased focus on e-content. I am proud to have been part of all of this, as a manager, as a department director and leader, through budget reductions and all the challenges that come with loss of staff, introduction to new systems and new way of doing things.

How did you and the Libraries adapt?

Beautifully. We always do!

What will you miss?

  • The knowledge and wisdom of everyone that works in the Libraries
  • Working for an organization that is always on the cutting edge of technology, always learning
  • Agility of staff
  • Having more regular contact with friends (at meetings, spontaneous lunches, happy hours, etc.)
  • Social events that my department is famous for.
  • The drive — definitely NOT!

What are you most proud of?

  • The resilience and flexibility/agility of my staff and colleagues.
  • My department and the dedicated and knowledgeable Acquisitions colleagues and all our collective accomplishments through the years.
  • Finding a career path within the same department/organization

What was the favorite part of your job?

  • Working with a bunch of people who will find ways to get the job done, regardless of the circumstances and any challenges that may come their way.
  • Advocating for my staff and helping them to grow and advance; seeing opportunities for them even when times were tough

What do you plan to do in retirement? 

Hibernate for a little while until the pandemic is under control, then I would like to do something different, maybe work in real estate. Definitely travel!


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