Home Musical score Between the Lines: October Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: October Member Spotlight

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Michel (Mike) Pullin
Systems Librarian
University of North Texas Health Sciences Center at Fort Worth

What prompted you to become a librarian?
I guess you would say that I decided to become a librarian. Or maybe someone cheated on me. Not sure!

When I was in college, I was pursuing a degree in computer science and working part-time for computer science. Someone from IT recommended me for a full-time job at the library as a system librarian. That was in the 1980s, when there weren’t many libraries that had systems to manage. A few years later, I moved to Fort Worth to pursue higher education. My boss at my current library knew the director of the institution I was going to. He told me to look for him when I got to Fort Worth. I was hired part-time, then when I stayed at the library while I continued to work on degrees, my manager suggested I get the MLS as well. You can never have too many degrees, I guess, so I did. Being a system librarian combines two areas that I really enjoy, so my job is twice as good!

What is an innovative practice of your library/organization (current or former) that you would like to share with others?
As part of our response to DEI, our Electronic Resources Librarian (Elizabeth Speer) has begun a diversity assessment of our collection. She found that there was a huge lack of diversity in the collection, especially in medical images. Most of the images depicted fair skin tones, which is problematic since our students will be dealing with an ethnically diverse population. She has created a new way for the library to communicate with faculty, staff and vendors about our needs. Internal changes meant updated DC policies and procedures, which included diversity as buying and evaluation factors. Communication with suppliers included a letter of diversity expectations. The letter opened up new lines of communication with our representatives, resulting in more relevant emails, contract negotiations more focused on known needs, more open interactions and genuine relationships. As a result, the level of diversity in the collection has increased. She added three new databases at no additional cost to the library, added $15,000 in miscellaneous e-book titles, negotiated diversity titles in lieu of annual access fees, and leveraged ILL services at the place automatic purchases that do not meet our new guidelines. We also saw an increase in the number of diverse images posted across all platforms. Her work with the vendors is more rewarding because we have common goals and visions for what the collection should look like in the future.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Theodor Geisel, CS Lewis and the Sherman Brothers.

Dr. Seuss – do I really need to explain?

CS Lewis was a brilliant man and his writings have resonated with me for years. And, if he wanted to bring his friend, JRR Tolkien, as his plus-one, that would be fine with me.

Richard and Robert Sherman did the musical score for the film, Mary Poppins (and many more). So if we can count them as authors, I would love to know the “real” story of how they created all this wonderful music. I know part of their story (dramatized, of course) is in “Saving Mr. Banks”, but I’d love to hear it directly from them.

Oh, and I forgot to ask: does TLA pay for dinner?

What are you reading right now?
When I received the request to provide my information, I did not read anything in particular. Thinking about the answer to the question above, I decided to go back and re-read CS Lewis’ simple christianity. This and screw letters are my two favorite Lewis books.

The next step is Poems on various subjects, religious and moral by Phyllis Wheatley, which I recently heard about. She is considered the first African-American author of a published book of poetry.

What is your most memorable experience with the Texas Library Association?
I have spent so much time attending various TLA events and serving on various committees, but in 2014 I was a member of the program committee for this conference – thank you, Dr Chandler! So I was able to meet Henry Winkler before his presentation. You always hope that the people you love, on TV or in the movies, are the same in person as they are on screen. It more than exceeded what I would have hoped for.

Anything else you would like to share?
Since I exceeded my word count, no!

“I’m a member of TLA because…”
As a professional librarian, I have to keep learning to keep my skills relevant. TLA is an organization of people that will challenge me and grow me professionally, which helps me serve my organization’s customers (students, faculty, staff, and other library personnel).