Member of the Month

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Jacob Sherman 
Reference Librarian, University of Texas-San Antonio

Professional experience
I really fell in love with libraries when I was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. There were hours when I would go to the library and find peace. Outside noise or thoughts would not interfere when I explored the stacks looking for items that would serve my research topics. On numerous occasions, I would leave with a mountain of books.

This affinity for libraries persisted when I obtained my MA in History at Northern Illinois University. Historical research is heavily reliant on paper. After using the Founders Memorial Library extensively, I thought it would be a wise move to shift my career track to something I revered—libraries. I graduated in 2007 with a MS in Library Science from the University of Illinois.

During my nine years as a librarian, I have worked at a mixture of large and small academic institutions: Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, and, currently, the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA). Further, I have served on the boards of the Friends of the Stillwater (OK) Public Library and Friends of the Texana/Genealogy Department (San Antonio Public Library).  

Innovative library practices
With the UTSA Libraries, my primary job task is to be a chat reference librarian. In 2013, the UTSA Libraries introduced Zopim, a proactive, context-sensitive chat system created for online businesses. It is a widget that is triggered after a user has been on the website for a minute. Zopim skyrocketed virtual reference use. You have to train your brain to operate differently when answering multiple online questions at once. Zopim archives chat transcripts so we use them as a way to gauge and improve library services.

Favorite book or literary character 
My favorite books of all time: Fahrenheit 451, In Cold Blood, Tuesdays with Morrie, and Maniac Magee; and my favorite books that I have read within the past year: The Art of Fielding, Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition, and Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul.    

Most memorable TLA experience
My most memorable experiences were in 2014 and 2017, when San Antonio hosted TLA’s Annual Conference, and I served on the Local Arrangements Committee. This experience brought me behind-the-scenes access on how the Annual Conference operates. Playing host to your city is a fulfilling experience, because it is rewarding to see a year’s worth of planning come into fruition. When things go awry, you can also depend on your fellow committee members to come up with solutions. There is a deep sense of camaraderie created that I will never forget while working on these committees.  

Created on May 31, 2016 | Last updated November 30, 2017