News from Mardigian Library: May 2019

May 17, 2019

This month we are saying goodbye to Associate Director Barbara Kriigel, who is retired after 30 years with the campus.

An interview with retiring Mardigian Library Associate Director Barbara Kriigel

On May 17, Mardigian Library Associate Director Barbara Kriigel will retire after 30 years of working at the Mardigian Library. We will miss Barbara so much in the library – her energy, her “can do” attitude, her leadership, her innovative spirit, and, most of all, her support and mentorship. The library’s Social Media Committee sat down with Barbara for a discussion about her career, her decades of work at UM-Dearborn, and what she’s looking forward to in retirement.

What are your main duties at the Mardigian Library and what do you love most about what you do?  
I began in 1989 as the Head of Technical Services, the group that manages acquisition and cataloging of materials, and maintains the online catalog. In 1996, the Users Services Department (circulation, shelving, reserves, inter-library loan) also began reporting to me and my title changed to Associate Director for Circulation and Technical Services. In 2013 our Systems Department (the library's IT group) began reporting to me and after Joe Marks' retirement in 2014, the Berkowitz Gallery reported to me.  So it has been an interesting career at UM-Dearborn! 

I don't like to be bored, and what I loved most is that I was able to work on a number of interesting and challenging projects, including the selection/implementation of a library automation system, the selection/implementation of a student information system (Banner), working with Dr. Sidney Bolkosky, Dr. Jamie Wraight, and Holocaust survivors on our Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive, and our Juvenile Historic Collection which includes children's books back to the late 1700s. All of these projects involved team work, and I have met and worked with many amazing people over the years.  Never a dull moment (thank goodness!)

What do you do for fun outside of work?
Reading, of course! Usually with a cat in my lap. My husband and I enjoy riding our bicycles; he has done the Michigander bike ride several times and is hoping I will join him on the ride which is 50 miles a day for 6 days. I don't exactly aspire to this but you never know. I also do volunteer work. On the second and fourth Saturday mornings, you can usually find me volunteering in the Butterfly Garden at the Detroit Zoo. Or in the new Penguin Center which is also fun. I'm a member of the Oxford Women's Club which raises money for college scholarships for Oxford youth. I'm looking forward to doing more volunteer work after I retire. 

What was your background before you came to the Mardigian Library?
I've worked in libraries ever since I went to college. I began as a student assistant in the university library where I received my BA in Mathematics, with minors in library science and education. I was lucky that I began working in libraries just as automation began to transform them. I was fascinated with automation, and my math background served me well over the years. The library where I attended university hired me as a go-between for their computer department and the library, and they also helped pay for my master's degree in Library Science. But my husband's career in the auto industry soon took us to various places in the Midwest, and I had the opportunity to work in two public libraries, two corporate libraries, back to a public library, and finally returning to my roots in academia when I came to UM-Dearborn in 1989. During my career I worked as a reference librarian, a cataloger, a department head, an assistant director, and a researcher.

How has the profession of librarianship changed since you started your career?
It couldn't be more different! When I started working in libraries, we still produced cards for a card catalog. As a student assistant, I spent hours each week filing cards into the card catalog, and was pleased when my accuracy was so good that I did not have to use "filling flags" in front of my cards so someone could check my work! I remember when OCLC first started automating the cataloging process for libraries and was thrilled when I began cataloging on a "dumb terminal." PCs finally began making their way into libraries along with wonderful library automation systems and online catalogs. Now the revolution is about all the digital content that can be found online. It's hard to imagine what the next 30 years will hold for libraries. 

What accomplishments during your time here are you most proud of?
I already mentioned some of my favorite projects but I consider working with Dr. Sidney Bolkosky and Dr. Jamie Wraight to create the Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive to be the most important and lasting professional work I will ever do. I also had the privilege of helping two Holocaust survivors publish their memoirs. I worked with other library staff and Dr. Danielle DeFauw (CEHHS) to create and host the annual Young Authors' Festival; it has been rewarding to see our pre-service Education students work with children in grades 3-5 and their parents on literacy skills. The latest project I worked on involves other library staff and campus groups to establish a new Communication Circles program. 

What are your retirement plans? What are you looking most forward to doing in retirement?
This summer I plan to relax and enjoy my house while I decide how to spend my time. In addition to my volunteer work at the zoo, I would like to find some other charities or institutions where I can help make a difference. Two things I definitely look forward to are not getting up at 5 a.m. and not driving 43 miles each way to/from work! Especially in winter. In truth, I will miss the many wonderful people I know and with whom I have worked these many years. I love my job and it's hard to leave.  I look forward to seeing how the campus changes in the new few years!

Back to top of page