A Q&A with Robert Tomaszewski, our new Science Librarian!
Pollak Library Work
In what section or unit of the Pollak Library do you work?
I am the new science librarian and I work in the Instruction & Information Services unit at the Pollak Library.
What is your job in a nutshell so far?
I am the library liaison and subject consultant to the College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics. I assist students, faculty and staff through course instruction, research as well as answering questions online and at the reference desk.
What are you working on right now?
I am creating science subject LibGuides and preparing for class instruction and orientations. Also, I am finishing up a few articles – citations to Wikipedia in scholarly publications; Business information resources for a chemistry career; and Imploded Boolean searches.
Prior Work Experience
Would you like to share a bit about your previous work experience?
I have worked as an academic librarian all over the world. This includes, among others, the position of science librarian at University College London, Georgia State University, Concordia University in Montreal and University of Toronto.
What motivated you to become a librarian or to work in libraries?
While working on postdoctoral research in polymer chemistry I had to synthesize a series of novel aromatic azides (explosive materials). This procedure had a history of blowing off the fingers of other laboratory workers. Rather than making these explosive compounds without a known procedure, I decided to visit the library. First, I searched the print Chemical Abstracts (CA), but later discovered the SciFinder database which provided access to CA with the click of a mouse. I was so impressed with this new research tool that I shared it with my colleagues. I immediately became the laboratory librarian. Discovery of my talent for working with scientific information inspired me to earn a degree in library science from the University of Toronto.
As an extra – the following is a pretty cool YouTube for student motivation- https://youtu.be/26U_seo0a1g
Would you like to share a bit about your educational background?
BSc (Hons) – Chemistry (Kingston University, UK)
PhD – Chemistry (University of Utah, USA)
MISt – Information and Library Science (University of Toronto, Canada)
What are your passions or interests outside of work?
In spare time, I like to keep fit and I am an avid rare book collector of stories about Sherlock Holmes.
What is a website, database, or digital tool that you recently discovered and recommend?
Recently I read an article about iScienceSearch – a free search engine for chemists and biologists that searches over 100 databases on the internet. http://www.isciencesearch.com/