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Saying Goodbye to Head of Access & Collection Services Franses Rodriguez

by Chris Daley on 2024-02-01T10:38:00-08:00 in Library News | 0 Comments

Two men and one woman sit at an outdoor table with glasses and plates as if at a celebration and a photo of two women speaking to a crowd next to two colleagues

The Caltech Library is sad to say farewell to Head of Access & Collection Services Franses Rodriguez this week, but Franses has a bright future ahead in her new position as Deputy Director of Research Libraries at the New York Public Library. When Franses came to the Library four years ago, we asked her some questions and the answers can be found in this blog post. We followed up with similar questions this week on the eve of her departure. (Franses is pictured above 1) left with Viet Nguyen, Reserves & Circulation Supervisor, and Benjamin Maggio, Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan Support Staff and 2) right at her farewell party with University Librarian Kara Whatley and other staff.)

We will miss you, Franses, but we're really excited for your new adventure with the New York Public Library! Could you tell us a little about your new position?

I will serve as a senior advisor to the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Research Libraries, Brent Reidy. My responsibilities include contributing to strategic planning and overseeing the execution of these plans across the Research Libraries. I will be expected to lead initiatives that span across Research Libraries, ensuring that our operations are not only successful and efficient but also conducted with a high degree of responsibility. I will be the point person for analyzing data, making regular reports, identifying issues, and finding solutions. I will also be teaching teams to foster a culture of data-informed decision-making, guide them in building strategic partnerships, and manage projects with multiple stakeholders, ensuring their success.

In terms of responsibilities, I oversee the strategy and goals of the Research Libraries, ensuring accountability for strategic initiatives. I will manage select cross-library projects and collaborate with key partners outside the Research Library divisions (Mellon Director on donor relationships and fundraising opportunities, Finance Department, Strategy and Public Impact team, Human Resources, Capital Planning, and Communications & Marketing teams) to ensure their successful execution. I will be expected to lead Research All Staff, Cabinet, and other meetings in order to contribute to the direction and morale of the team. 

In our previous interview when you arrived at Caltech in June 2020, I asked you what you liked about working in libraries. What did you specifically enjoy about working for the Caltech Library?

The people I worked with and Access and Collections Services' dedication to IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) was key in my daily motivation. My ACS colleagues (Phuong, Laurel, Bianca, Mel, Dan, Ben P., Ben M., Viet, Paula, Becky, Ling, Rebecca, Andy, and Kris) exemplified true teamwork, overcoming personal and professional differences. Their intentions, always rooted in understanding their triggers and their desire to provide the best services possible, significantly influenced our work, the team, and our patrons. They were an absolute dream to work with. The next department head will be VERY fortunate. The Library leadership team (Donna, Catherine, Stephen, and Peter) provided me with such a rich learning environment and a safe space for collaboration. Together, we tackled challenging goals, supported each other daily, and made a meaningful impact. I'll deeply miss our discussions.

Kara's mentorship was transformative, giving my ideas a platform and guiding me towards a lifelong commitment to librarianship. Her influence reshaped my career path, I will especially miss her guidance.

When you started at the Library, we were all remote! Looking back, how did that auspicious beginning influence your transition to Caltech? What did you learn about working at Caltech that influenced your time at the Library once we all returned to in-person services?

Remote work taught me the importance of face-to-face interactions in building successful relationships. Despite the challenges, consistent and effective use of virtual platforms like Zoom facilitated progress and helped maintain connections during the lockdown. Meeting colleagues in person after virtual interactions bridged the gap swiftly, which really supported our collaboration.

What are you most going to miss about working at the Caltech Library?

The people and our IDEA initiatives and work. 

What are you most looking forward to about your new position at NYPL?

Familiarizing myself with the teams, understanding the culture, and their challenges so I can figure out how to effectively contribute to solutions.

Do you have any final words for our staff?

I'm deeply grateful for the opportunities and experiences I've gained through working with all of you. Each moment has been truly special and invaluable to me. Remember, your contributions to this organization and each other are immensely important. By embracing our diverse perspectives and investing in understanding both ourselves and one another, we can get so much more fulfillment in our work and in life.

Best wishes, Franses!

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