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I Am MLA: Jon Crossno

Submitted by Jon Crossnoedited by JJ Pionke.
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Institution: UT Southwestern Medical Center

Title: Collection Management Librarian

Brief description of responsibilities:

I have primary responsibility for the acquisition and licensing of our library’s electronic resources, as well as ensuring that those resources are accessible through my related cataloging and metadata work. I am the primary system administrator for the library’s ILS, institutional repository, and other digital collections, and I work to ensure that consistent and standard terminology within all of those systems to facilitate end user searching and retrieval.

Why is MLA important to you?

MLA provides networking opportunities with colleagues at peer institutions, and these connections allow me to learn about innovations in services and resources that may better serve clients at UT Southwestern.

Why did you become a librarian?

I wish that I could say that I’d always wanted to be a librarian, but I can’t. The truth is that I hadn’t considered it at all, even though the library has always been a part of my life growing up. I grew up in a small town in Texas, and my parents had been instrumental in ensuring that my hometown public library was independent and well established. My mother, in fact, had served on the library’s board of directors for many years, including several terms as its president. But it wasn’t until I was employed part-time at the library after graduating from college (more on that in a moment) and was attending the library’s annual board meeting when I was approached by our guest speaker, a visiting librarian from a neighboring town, who said, “You should get a degree in library science.” Epiphany!!

What was your first library job or first professional position?

My first library job was at my hometown library. I’d completed my undergraduate work at the University of Texas at Austin for my (relatively useless) bachelor’s degree in English and didn’t know what to do. My parents were very kind to let me come back home to live while I figured things out, and while I was there, I took a temporary summer job at the library performing some retrospective conversion work to prepare for the library’s first online catalog. That temporary job turned into a permanent part-time position where I performed circulation, cataloging, and interlibrary loan activities on an almost daily basis. And I found that I liked the work a lot. So, when the opportunity to go to library school came up, I took it. (And I think my parents were happy that I’d finally found a perfect fit.)

What is your advice to someone taking on a new role in leadership in MLA or in some other capacity?

Don’t be afraid. As an introvert, I have a lot of trouble with proactively meeting people, so walking into a new group can be daunting. But I can honestly say that I’ve made some lifelong friends within MLA, and I’ve found my work in leadership roles to be very rewarding. So, don’t be afraid; take that first step and meeting someone new.

Bucket list:

I’d love to visit Australia and/or New Zealand.

What do you do in your spare time?

I read books (usually mysteries or science fiction/fantasy), and my favorite authors are Anne McCaffrey, Naomi Novik, Jim Butcher, and Ngaio Marsh. But I also watch a lot of television. Oh, and I like to travel; in fact, I just returned from spending ten days in Hawaii (on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii, in particular).

What is the best thing you’ve read/watched/listened to recently?

It wasn’t recent, but I think the best thing I’ve read in recent years was The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. The book truly pulled me into the story from the opening lines and never let go. I still think about it often, so if you haven’t read it, you should give it a try.

Five words to describe you:


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