April 02, 2010
Jonathan Miller has been the director of Olin Library since 2006. He reflected with pride that this coming May’s graduating class will be his “first generation of students,” the ones who came to Rollins at the same time he did. Not only does he oversee the inner workings of this vital campus building, he is also a teacher.
He had been working at the University of Pittsburgh when he decided that he wanted to return to working at a smaller liberal arts college, which he had done previously in his career. The vibrant Orlando area and warm Florida weather were complements to the excellent existing library and staff.
“You really have to enjoy the administration of services, and resources and people,” Miller said.
He does not spend as much time behind the reference or circulation desks as he did earlier in his career, but he is still very much a visible fixture in the library. The most important qualities of a library director to him are: personnel management skills, an understanding of the future of libraries and good communication.
In the fall, Miller taught his first Rollins Conference Course (RCC), From Caveman to Computer. Looking back on the experience, he expressed his renewed appreciation of the dedication of the faculty at Rollins.
“To get 50 minutes [of class time] takes hours of thought,” Miller said.
The class was also an excellent chance for him to get to know students in a different light than he usually does in the library; students in class and their teacher get to know one another and explore one issue in depth—in this case the history of recorded information. This is especially important since, “We live in a hybrid world of print and digital information,” Miller said.
The Olin Library is always offering interesting events; just this week the library hosted the Edible Book Contest and is currently hosting a book discussion group for Jaron Lanier’s “You Are Not a Gadget: The Musical Side of the Puzzle.” Additionally, the Library will also host its annual Book-A-Year Reception on Friday, April 16.
The one thing that he would like the Rollins community to know is: “If in doubt, ask a librarian…The sign of a sophisticated library user is not that they don’t need help, but that they know when to ask for it.”
By Jennifer Ritter (Class of 2013)