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Library staff recall a job well done

Janice: Tackling transitions

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

By Allison Campbell-Jensen

Janice Jaguszewski 1993

Janice Jaguszewski, 1993

As a young editor at a scientific publisher, Janice Jaguszewski had the opportunity to see the corporate librarian do online searching — in the 1980s, before the worldwide web, when every minute was costly.

“What an interesting job,” she thought to herself. “You’d constantly be learning.”

She ended up pursuing an academic path and has continued learning in a 30-year career with the U of M Libraries. Along the way, she’s worked through several transitions in library practices and places. Jaguszewski now is Associate University Librarian and Director of the Health Sciences Libraries. She will step down Jan. 4, 2021, to become a full-time consultant and coach.

A start in the Mathematics Library

After graduating with a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois, Jaguszewski’s first position at the University of Minnesota in 1990 was in the Mathematics Library. The card catalog and the check-out cards were being replaced by online circulation.

“That was my first challenge,” she says, “to transition that process for the mathematics library and the department. It was not without its pains.” She had to explain the Minnesota Data Practices Act to the faculty: “What people choose to read is private information. We don’t want to know who else had checked out the book.”

On the other hand, by 1995, mathematicians were in the forefront of publishing online journals. “They were challenging the status quo about scholarly publishing,” Jaguszewski says. “And these publishers who I started my career with, they were very expensive. Maybe we should take back this publishing model? We create, we do this research, we write these articles [the mathematicians said]: Maybe we should retain ownership. So that was a really exciting time.” She was one of the first librarians at the University of Minnesota working with the idea of the Internet because of the mathematics community.

Janice Jaguszewski, 2020

Janice Jaguszewski, 2020

In 1997, the publishers pushed back with their e-journals, restricting access, so Jaguszewski and colleague Fariha Grieme went for training to learn how to negotiate licensing agreements with e-journal publishers. “We developed a workshop on licensing and e-journals and IP addresses — all new things — and shared them,” Jaguszewski says. The library community had to learn a whole new skill set.

The issues about scholarly publishing — who would control it, how could the Libraries shape it, and so forth — were important parts of her next position as Coordinator for Collection Development for Physical Sciences and Engineering. After Wendy Pradt Lougee arrived as Dean, she launched a reorganization and Jaguszewski became Director of Academic Programs for the Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE). “So I moved beyond collections to helping to shape the future of science librarianship at the University of Minnesota,” she says.

New challenges

“Our goal is to prepare the next generation of health care providers.”

—Janice Jaguszewski

Built in the 1920s, Walter Library had issues: temperature and humidity control were almost nonexistent, as it had no air conditioning. Squirrels and birds found their way into windows left open in the warm months. The old stacks needed to change. A two-year remodel was scheduled and, during that time, Jaguszewski had to make tough decisions.

“We really had to re-think what this collection was going to look like when we returned,” she says. “I realized that really we were going to have half the space that we had before we left.” When Walter Library reopened in 2002, she and her colleagues had identified over 200,000 volumes to send to storage in the Minnesota Library Access Center.

In 2011, she became interim director for the Health Sciences Library, as the director had retired. She had intended to return to PSE and Walter Library, but loved her year as interim and applied for the position, where she has been ever since.

Beginning in 2015, she and her colleagues began to envision a completely new Health Science Library in a new building, one that takes advantage of librarians’ expertise, the latest learning technologies, and flexible spaces. And, she notes, 94% of the print collection has been put into storage. The library’s role is integrated into the curriculum, she says, and helps advance research.

“Our goal is to prepare the next generation of health care providers,” Jaguszewski says. The Health Sciences Library is one of the four open on campus now.


She had gone into librarianship with certain ideas — and has been surprised, she says, to find how rewarding it is to work with people. About 10 years ago, she earned a certificate in organizational development. Jaguszewski says she has helped the Health Sciences Library grow to become a learning organization, and also worked with other libraries across the country, academic and public.

“My goal is to help individuals thrive through both a coaching business and a consulting business.”

—Janice Jaguszewski

“I’ve done lots of coaching with people, to really help align their strengths and their interests with what the University needs and what the library needs, to really help people reach their potential,” Jaguszewski says.

“I’ve hired many, many people over the years, and I’ve watched their careers bloom.” She cites Lisa Johnston, whom she hired for the Physics and Geology Librarian position. Johnston has an astrophysics background and had done research. She noted to Jaguszewski that data management was starting to emerge: “I think we should focus on it.” Jaguszewski connected her to an opportunity on campus and redefined her job. Since then, Jaguszewski says, “she built out our whole research data services and data curation program.”

Walter Lobby Ceiling

Walter Lobby Ceiling

There are more stories like that, and Jaguszewski looks forward to developing even more in her next chapter. “My goal is to help individuals thrive through both a coaching business and a consulting business.”

An unexpected gift occurred during the Walter Library remodel, Jaguszewski says. “I was in the lobby of Walter Library and they were cleaning the ceiling, a brown sooty ceiling from decades of smoke and dirt and dust — and all of sudden this beautiful artwork started to emerge. … And to think that we had never noticed!”

It’s like her work with people — it’s all about sweeping away the overlay to find what will emerge.


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