New university librarian hopes to bring technological resources, expertise to campus
With previous experience working at museums and various archives, Jeffrey Trzeciak hopes to bring something new to Washington University’s library system when he assumes the job of head librarian come July.
He will replace Shirley Baker, who has served as vice chancellor for scholarly resources and dean of Washington University Libraries for 23 years, when she retires at the end of this academic year.
Baker said she and Trzeciak have already planned two major developments for the libraries: taking on more digital projects and moving the records of civilizations from their current location on West Campus to the main libraries.
“He’s young, able, forward-looking, and I’m excited to pass on the torch to him,” Baker said. “They interviewed three very capable prospects and, even though I didn’t have any say in the matter, if I did, I would’ve chosen him, too.”
Baker, who was scheduled to retire two years previously, stayed on to continue improving the MOBIUS system—a network of libraries throughout Missouri, of which she was an original creator. She expressed sadness at leaving a job that she has always loved but excitement at a future filled with travelling and a chance to write her own book.
Trzeciak voiced excitement for the future as well. He will be joining the University community after a tenure as university librarian at McMaster University in Ontario.
“Every institutional library has its own context,” Trzeciak said. “I’m excited to discover what Wash. U.’s will be like. I can’t wait to get on campus and learn more about the institution.”
He chose to join Washington University for its people as much as its reputation.
“I wanted to work at Wash. U. because of the school’s adherence to excellence and innovation,” Trzeciak said. “The library also has a strong reputation as an academic library, and the staff is known for doing great things.”
The committee that selected Trzeciak was comprised of 15 members representing all of Wash. U.’s schools, with the exception of the medical school. The group worked with a professional search firm to narrow the choices down to seven, then to three before finally offering the position to Trzeciak.
“All seven of our choices were outstanding,” Roddy Roediger, committee head and dean of academic planning in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. “We were looking for people who would be able to manage a staff of 135 people, be innovative, inspirational and friendly, and Jeff was all of those.”
Roediger said the committee is confident that Trzeciak will be dynamic and enthusiastic and an overall positive force for the library.
“One of the important things to keep in mind nowadays is the ever-changing character of libraries,” Roediger said. “Everything’s online now, and since Jeff came through information technology, he’s a great resource for integrating technology further into the department while also making this technology more accessible to the students and faculty members.”
Though many are sad to see Baker go, Roediger said they are excited for the changes and innovation that Trzeciak will bring to the school’s libraries.
“I just remember when he first met the search committee, he expressed disappointment that he wasn’t going to get to meet any students right then,” Roediger said. “Jeff’s a really engaging and friendly person, and I think he will be a great presence at the library that the students and faculty are really going to enjoy having.”