librarian spotlight: Celia Szarejko


Job Title: Director, Technology & Content Services, Sherrod Library

Degrees & Institutions: B.A. Cornell University,  M.L.S. Syracuse University,  M.B.A. University of Maryland – College Park

Hometown: I’ve lived in Johnson City, TN longer than anywhere else and consider it my hometown of choice.


What aspect of your job surprises most people when you tell them what your day at work is really like?

Most people are surprised by the variety of systems  in use and what it takes to get them to function with each other.

What made you decide to become a librarian?

I’d say it was the convergence of inclination and opportunity. Growing up, I used libraries to escape boredom, discover new ideas, and learn things. When I went to college, my first work-study job as an undergraduate student was in the veterinary college library at Cornell,  where I discovered the nature of the work that goes on behind the scenes and found I liked it. (The best part of that job was seeing how good library resources and service contributed to professional education and patient care.)  I had other library jobs after that, both while in school and after I graduated, and  confirmed my preference for working with data. The opportunity came when I was hired for a staff position in the art and architecture department of the E. S. Bird Library at Syracuse University. My interest in computer-based information retrieval systems originated with using their system to catalog and search for art history slides—I wanted to learn how such systems were designed and built.  The university offered a master’s degree program in library & information science and the tuition benefit for staff made it possible for me to get my M.L.S. degree without incurring any student loan debt. That’s how I came to be a librarian focused on technology.

What was your favorite subject in elementary school (any why)?

When I was in elementary school they taught penmanship. We had fountain pens. I like paper and ink and the appearance of letters on a page—it’s artistic as well as practical.

I suppose that accounts for why I’m interested in typography in Web design.

What is your superpower?


What is underappreciated about Sherrod Library?

The extent of the online resources available through the library.

What is your favorite plant (and why)?

Trees. They provide shade, shelter, food, fuel, and beauty in amazing variety.

Is there anything else about you we should know?

Not that I can think of.


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