Lidia Uziel joined the UCSB Library on April 13 as the Associate University Librarian for Research Resources and Scholarly Communication.
In this role, she holds leadership, management, strategic policy and planning responsibilities for collection development and management functions, the Library’s scholarly communication program, and technical services operations. She oversees five major departments: Collection Strategies, Scholarly Communication, Special Research Collections, as well as Content Management and Acquisition & Resource Management Services.
We asked Lidia some questions to help introduce her to the Library and campus community. Welcome, Lidia!
How did your career path lead you to this role at UCSB Library?
I am a comparative literature scholar by training. I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Montreal in Canada and Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University in France. After I finished my M.L.I.S at the University of Montreal, I started working as a subject bibliographer/ liaison librarian at Yale University. A few years later, I was recruited for a similar position at Harvard University.
It was early on in my career at Harvard that I had the good fortune to progressively take on additional leadership and managerial responsibilities culminating in my position there as Head of the Americas, Europe, and Oceania Division at the Harvard College Library. Working in that position broadened my awareness and interest in administrative and strategic planning issues. When I learned of the position at UCSB, I was struck by how closely it aligned with my career goals and interests and was excited about the direction of the UCSB Library and the UC system as a whole.
What excites you most about being at UCSB?
UCSB is committed to excellence in both undergraduate and graduate education and research, and I am thrilled to be part of the UCSB community. I'm excited to be part of a leadership team at the library that is committed to serving students, researchers, and faculty in a dynamic way to best support teaching and learning.
The UCSB Library community is passionate about emerging trends in Open Access publishing, which profoundly resonates with my professional priorities. I am delighted to join UCSB in the endeavor to positively transform the scholarly communication system in support of Open Access. Additionally, I am very inspired by the California Digital Library and its culture of innovation, especially when it comes to various activities for data management and data curation, as well as its overall holistic approach to collecting, publishing, preserving, and accessing the library content.
What sparked your interest in working in libraries?
Having been an avid consumer of library assets and services throughout my academic career, I was a first-hand witness to the essential role libraries played in higher learning. During my time as a Ph.D. student and a post-doctoral researcher, I came into contact with many librarians and archivists who educated me about various aspects of their work. Their service and dedication inspired me. It was an enriching experience because my Ph.D. and post-doctorate trajectories gave me a unique opportunity to work in different archives in France, Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
As someone with a literary and transdisciplinary background, I found myself drawn to librarianship as a profession since I saw an opportunity to blend my academic training as a humanities scholar with my interest in libraries, collections, and archives, which ultimately led me to apply to a library school. The ever-evolving nature of librarianship caused by disruptive technological innovations also sparked my interest in working in libraries since it meant continual and intriguing intellectual challenges.
What do you want students and faculty to know about the Library?
I want our students and faculty to know that our main objective is to support their research and curricular needs. We offer resources and tools to students and researchers at all levels who count on us to provide the information they need to succeed. The Library is a unique place biased toward collaboration, innovation, and partnership. It is a welcoming forum, encouraging students to socialize, create, debate, and offering discovery in a multitude of meaningful ways.
Finally, I also would like them to know that the Library is a special place, filled with diverse, energetic, talented people inspired by the University's mission and who are there to help.
What's one thing you're learning now? Why is it important?
I joined the UCSB library amid the COVID-19 crisis. I’ve had to learn how to get to know my new colleagues and manage staff effectively in a completely remote work environment. Continuity in Library operations and fulfilling the Library’s role in supporting teaching and learning are critically important during these challenging times.