The MacPhaidin Library is thrilled to welcome new Assistant Director Uma Hiremath to the staff!  Uma is the former director of the Ames Free Library and chose to join our library staff after retiring from public library service.  A self-described “people-person,” Uma is excited to join our campus community and build lasting relationships with faculty, staff, and students.

Read on to learn what Uma had to say about her new position at MacPhaidin Library and making the switch from public to academic librarianship.

What attracted you to the position of Assistant Director of MacPhaidin Library? 

“Stonehill College had, for many years, exerted a sense of attraction and curiosity in the back of my mind. I would drive by and see those purple lights at night and think, hmmmm, that is a charming campus! Fast forward a decade. I retired from a long and satisfying job that I adored and found myself wholly unsuited to retired life. An opening at the MacPháidín Library appeared to have dropped down from Heaven expressly to suit my needs! Of course, I jumped in.”

You were the longtime director of the Ames Free Library in Easton. What goals and values are transferrable from the public to academic library setting? 

“The building of community space and trust. Whether academic or public, libraries are shared social spaces for the dispersal and acquisition of information collected and curated through the ages. We librarians are professionally trained to create and nurture concentric circles of interest for the communities we service. This means studying what our users need, be they students or families, and working conscientiously to ensure those interests are more than satisfied.”

All libraries had to alter the way they did business because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here, for example, we provided students and faculty access to more digital resources, open educational resources, and met with students and faculty online. Do you believe the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the way libraries conduct business? 

“Ha! We are humans. We never really step back from what we have created. Crises, such as the once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic shocked us out of our routines and forged a slew of creative online services. These are wonderful services. Call me biased, but I am proud at the ways in which librarians rose to meet the challenge of providing a 24/7 digital ecosphere of sustained and quality-driven library services.  I see no reason why these proven successes will not continue as parallel offerings.”

You’ve only been on campus a short time, but is there anything that has struck you about the institution? 

“Loyalty! I am deeply touched at staff who were once students at Stonehill; at alumni who have given generously to a place they evidently loved; to personnel who proudly state they have been working here for 10, 20, even 30 years! An institution that commands such enduring loyalty did not do so because of its pretty purple lights – I look forward to my life within the Stonehill campus!”