Archive for the 'Meet the Library Staff' Category

Recent Events Honoring Dana Roth

The recent American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in San Francisco, California, saw Caltech’s own Dana Roth honored by both the RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry) and the ACS.

Dana was awarded the title of Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) at a dinner with representatives from the RSC, Caltech, and Dana’s co-author on Chemical Information for Chemists (published by the RSC), Judith Currano:


Chemical Information for Chemists recently received a four-star “essential” review from CHOICE magazine, a library resource review publication from the American Library Association.

On Wednesday, August 13, a symposium entitled “It Takes Two To Tango: Chemistry Librarians Partnering with Publishers and Researchers To Advance the Chemical Sciences” was held to honor Dana’s contributions to the field of chemical information. It was organized by Judith Currano, Head of the Chemistry Library at the University of Pennsylvania, and Ted Baldwin, Director of the Science and Engineering Library at University of Cincinnati.

A summary of the symposium can be found in the Winter 2014 edition of the Chemical Information Bulletin, and links to slides from the presentation can be found therein.

Congratulations Dana on these well-deserved honors, and thank you for your past and continuing service to the field of chemical librarianship!

Meet the Library Staff – May 2007

Phuong Trinh joined the library staff on October 10, 1988. She is currently a metadata specialist (which didn’t exist in 1988!). When Phuong first came on board all cataloging was done by hand. OCLC and basic CLAS was available, but the library information was kept on index cards – all changes, including volume additions, were handwritten onto each card by Phuong and her co-workers. Voice mail did not exist and answering machines were not widely used. The ground breaking of the Sherman Fairchild Library was almost 10 years away and the Dabney library would not be renovated for another 16 years. Professor Barclay Kamb was the Caltech Provost, an earthquake occurred in Pasadena in December 1988, and Starbucks caused a uproar by increasing the price for a cup of regular coffee by a nickel – to $1.60/cup!
Email was added in the early 1990’s, and Phuong’s job changed as additional technology meant the need for new computer skills. She received on-the-job training and now uses the web, CLAS, CODA, and other library databases to catalog all books and journals.


Phuong at her desk in Millikan.

Accompanying her parents, grandmother, and sister, Phuong arrived in the US from Viet Nam in 1986. They have been able to return to Viet Nam several times to visit friends and family members who still live there. Phuong learned English while in high school and attended PCC where she graduated with a degree in accounting. Her hobbies include going to the movies, cooking authentic Vietnamese dishes (which she brings in for library staff parties), and travel. A favorite destination spot for Phuong and her husband is Hawaii. They have chosen Waikiki as their vacation destination three times and plan on returning whenever they can.
Working in the library was Phuong’s first real job in this country! She thoroughly enjoys being with her co-workers (all have been in the department for at least 12 years) and looks forward to the ongoing challenges in the metadata department brought about by constantly changing technology.

Meet the Library Staff – January 2007

Kris Jolley has been a member of the Collection Maintenance unit of the Circulation Services Department for almost 7 years.  His immediate supervisor, Andy Gaston, says “Working with Kris has been an enjoyable experience.  His positive energy motivates everyone around him making everyday work more enjoyable and, I hate to say this, fun.” 

Kris’ primary assignment and processing area are in Millikan Library.  However, you may run into Kris at any library location as he works with the Collection Maintenance team on projects to optimize the use of library space and accessibility of materials.  Kris is also involved in handling our gift book processing and is the friendly MC at the annual Friends of Caltech Libraries book sale held at the Winnett Center every May.  These are just a few of his duties, because, like all Circulation Services Department staff, Kris is cross-trained to work in Document Delivery, InterLibrary Loan, and Circulation.  


Kris at his desk on the 2nd floor of Millikan Library.

Kris was born and raised in the Pasadena/Altadena area.  Most of his family still live in the vicinity and, Kris notes with a smile, he hopes to remain in the locale ‘forever’.  Kris and his wife LaBrina, a staff member at JPL, have three beautiful children – all boys; Ahmad, 3; Jalen, 6;  and Kris Jr., who is 8 years old.  His sons take particular delight in going fishing and camping with their dad.  Kris and LaBrina take part in activities at their children’s schools, including attending regular PTA meetings.  Pop Warner Football is another of Kris’ interests – he has coached 7-8 year olds for the past several years. The student supervisor at the Millikan circulation desk, Viet Nguyen, knows Kris well and says “When I think of Kris I think of his being very good with his kids – he is a very likeable guy”.

Have you ever heard of the Redheaded Step Kids?  I will be surprised and shocked if you have not because this is the famous library soft ball team!  According to Kris, and I quote, “I have led the Redheaded Step Kids to two back-to-back championships.  I am the most athletic of the group and am also head vocal leader.” 

“The thing I appreciate most about Kris Jolley” states Luis Arias, his soft ball team mate and Collection Maintenance unit co-worker, “is his ability to do 80% of the work and his humbleness.”  I have a feeling there might be some friendly rivalry within the Redheaded Step Kids gang… see for yourself all you need to do is attend one of their games, held once a week during the summer months. 

Kris 2
 Kris on the 7th floor of Millikan Library.

When asked what he most enjoys about his job, Kris unhesitatingly responded “I love the social interaction within the Caltech community.  It is like a family”. 

Meet the Library Staff – December 2006

On January 4th, 2007, Ruth Sustaita will celebrate her 19th year as a staff member within the Caltech community.  She has spent 17 of those years happily ensconced within the Library system as one of our favorite employees! 

Ruth started out in the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) department of the Library, searching for and pulling a variety of requested materials for faculty and students.  An opportunity came along approximately five years later to become the assistant to Judy Nollar, Humanities & Social Sciences Librarian.  Ruth decided to accept this new position and moved over to the Humanities and Government Documents section of the Library, where she has been ever since. 


Ruth at her desk in the Dabney Library, December 19th, 2006.

While Ruth has a variety of duties (and two offices – one on the third floor of Millikan for her Government Documents work, and the other in the Dabney Library – for her Humanities work), she thrives on the challenges that continually come up on a daily basis.  “Learning something new every day is important to me”, comments Ruth.  “I look forward to coming to work because I know I will be constantly learning new things.” 

On December 8th, 2006, Ruth and her husband Marco Antonio celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary.  They have five children and two granddaughters, and are awaiting the arrival of their daughter Carolina’s baby boy with much excitement.  “Carolina”, says her proud mom, “worked in the Circulation area of the library for over 10 years, and is still employed at Caltech.”

One of Ruth’s hobbies is reading.  She particularly enjoys biographies and autobiographies, as well as fiction and non-fiction books.  “The more you read”, notes Ruth, “the more knowledgeable you become.” 

When asked what the favorite part of her job is, Ruth said without hesitation, “You know, I just love helping students and faculty in finding their books and research material.  I also enjoy my interaction with all my co-workers.”  Her supervisor concurs.  Says Judy, “Ruth is a super working partner with a great ‘can do’ attitude, a beautiful service ethic, and tons of skills.  Plus, she’s fun to work with! We’re so lucky to have her on the library staff.”

So, when you are perusing the Government Documents area on the 3rd floor of Millikan, or browsing the books in the Dabney Library, please do not hesitate to ask Ruth for assistance.  She is looking forward to meeting you and helping you find what you need.


Meet the Library Staff – September 2006

Fred Niblock has been a Caltech Library employee for close to 10 years. If you have spent any time on campus then you will have definitely noticed Fred. He is the gentleman seen driving around in the small white truck with the library logo printed on the side! Fred is responsible for collecting library materials from the 13 book drops spread across campus; we had a total of almost 8,000 books picked up from the book drops just last year alone. He also pulls all faculty, student, and staff IBID and ILL requests from the various libraries, as well as distributes new books and journals to our 5 libraries.


Fred outside the Sherman Fairchild Library in July 2006.

“Working at Caltech has been a lifelong dream of mine”, says Fred. “I have lived my whole life in the Pasadena area and always thought it would be neat to be a member of the Caltech community.” The dream became a reality when World Vision, the company he had been employed by for 13 years, moved their US headquarters to Seattle, Washington. They offered Fred a job in their Seattle office, but he and Claudia, his wife of 15 years, preferred to remain in southern California. The decision to stay was a judicious one; Fred has been at Caltech, working in the Library, ever since.

Claudia and Fred, both animal lovers, have 4 cats. Fred’s mother, Francis, a frail but much loved 90 year old, lives with her son and daughter-in-law in an early fifties style house. While Fred loves to garden and do odd jobs around the house, his real hobby is writing historical novels. The story he is currently working on is set in 1st century Rome. “I love”, notes Fred, “to do all of the research involved in filling an historical novel with accurate details. The challenge is to then bring the people in the story to life.”

“My favorite part of this job is working with the librarians and my fellow library staff members”, states Fred. “I also love to meet and talk with the rest of the Caltech community. I enjoy being a part of Caltech.”

Meet the Library Staff – August 2006

Welcome to a new addition of our library blog site – we will be introducing the Caltech community to one of our staff members each month. Our first profile will be of Viet Nguyen!

Viet Nguyen has worked in the Caltech Library for almost six years. During this time period he has rotated within our Circulation, Document Delivery, and Inter-Library Loan divisions – all the while building up his knowledge of the inter-workings of our library system. Viet is currently the Library Student Supervisor. “It is”, says Viet, “a job I thoroughly enjoy because I get to witness first hand the struggles and the accomplishments our undergraduates go through on a daily basis in order to succeed in their studies.” And, not surprisingly, the students have quickly come to rely on Viet as a trusted mentor and friend.


Viet at his desk on the first floor of Millikan Library, August 1, 2006.

Viet was born in Vietnam. He has 10 brothers and sisters. When he was 9 years old his mother and father decided Viet should accompany his older brother, Toan, to America. They left the communist country illegally by boat in 1987 (or as Viet explains, “in the only way one could leave Vietnam during that time period”). Traveling first to Malaysia, then on to the Philippines, the two brothers arrived in American after two long years of travel. Other siblings were to follow, and their parents finally arrived in 1995.

Viet will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Cal Poly in March 2007. He hopes to continue his education with a Master’s degree in an as yet an undecided (but related) field. Viet is a basketball fan and is active in his church. You can find Viet in the circulation area on the first floor of the Millikan Library, where he trains his students. Viet has always been extremely helpful to anyone who stops by. “You’ll never see me feeling down” says Viet. “Because of what I went through as a child, I can truly say I appreciate being an American!”

Dana Roth – A Library Legend!

DRDana Roth is at least an institution if not a legend among chemistry librarians in particular and science and engineering librarians in general.  In his forty years at Caltech he has influenced two generations of librarians worldwide.  His influence continues unabated as librarians from all over the world attest. 

See the American Chemical Society Publications “Livewire” notes:  Fortunately for us, he’s our gem!

Library Staff Visits the LA Zoo

The Library Staff headed to the LA Zoo on Friday, July 21st for an afternoon get-to-gether despite the three-digit degree weather and high humidity.

Family members were included in our summer party – all had a good time walking around the zoo while visiting with each other in a non-work environment.

Pre-Zoo Meeting

 pre zoo picture 1

Library personnel gather early on Tuesday morning, July 18th, 2006 to discuss the final logistics for the summer staff party. 

Phoung Trinh, Fred Niblock and Tony Diaz are among those enjoying pastries provided by the Corner Bakery.

Each staff member received a package containing their admittance tickets and zoo map as well as a surprise gift of a polo shirt from Land’s End embroidered with the new Caltech Connect logo!

pre-zoo photo 2

 Caroline Smith and Lindsay Cleary look on as Jim O’Donnell and Judith Brott try out their new polo shirts

The library staff is looking forward to spending Friday afternoon, July 21st, 2006 at the LA Zoo!