News from Mardigian Library: Q&A with Barbara Kriigel, information about Living Library


Get to know the library’s acting director, Barbara Kriigel, make human connections through living, breathing books, and check out our new e-books for January

Get to know our acting director: An interview with Interim Library Director Barbara Kriigel

On Jan. 2, Barbara Kriigel became the interim director of the Mardigian Library. The library’s Social Media Committee sat down with Kriigel, who chatted with us about her work in the library and what she likes to do for fun outside of work.

What are your main job duties at the Mardigian Library and what do you love about what you do?
In my normal position as associate director for User & Technical Services, four library departments report to me: User Services (circulation, interlibrary loan, shelving, and first-level reference), Technical Services (acquisitions, cataloging, online catalog), Systems (website, integrated library system, everything technical), and the Berkowitz Gallery (university’s art collection, exhibitions). As interim director, I will also be working with our research librarians and administrative staff.

What was your background before you became interim director?
My undergraduate degree is in mathematics with a minor in library science. My first job after graduation was to be the liaison for a university music library that was automating the cataloging of its music collection. The librarians did not understand the computer programmers and vice versa so I was hired to implement the project. I loved the automation of cataloging and soon became involved with the library’s move to cataloging on the OCLC platform and then with their implementation of integrated library systems. My math and library science background came at the perfect time for me to be involved with the automation of libraries. It has been interesting and fun!

My husband was transferred around the Midwest a few times, resulting in my working in several corporate and public libraries before coming back to working in an academic library. It’s funny because I trained to work in school libraries and that is the only type of library where I have not worked! Not many librarians have such varied experience, but I worked in some awesome libraries and loved each one of them. I still have friends from all the places I worked.

What will your main priorities be during your interim directorship?
We are working on some exciting projects this year. Several librarians have finished or are finishing certificates in instructional design. They are looking forward to applying their new skills in various ways, such as creating online instruction modules and working with their subject faculty members.

In collaboration with the Hub for Teaching and Learning Resources, several librarians are involved with a multi-year project to introduce and promote the use of open education resources (OER) on campus. Goals for this project include enriching the learning experience for our students and helping reduce the cost of course materials.

Another project that we expect will begin this year is the renovation of the Berkowitz Gallery. We hope to begin working with architects on a final design in the next few months.

Due to retirements, we have several new staff in User Services. The User Services team will be analyzing services and adjusting assignments as new staff go through training.

Is there anything you would like the UM-Dearborn campus to know about the Mardigian Library?
We are here to help you and your students be successful. When you need something, talk to one of us; we may already provide the exact service you need. If not, we will always try to help you to the best of our ability. We make many changes to our services each year, some small, some large. Please be sure to read the emails we send to stay up to date with new resources and changes to services.

Do you have any tips or advice for students?
Don’t wait until the last minute to start your research! We have an enormous amount of resources available as a result of our licensing agreements with Ann Arbor. It can be confusing! Be sure to contact the library; we are here to help you be successful!

What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
Read, of course. My husband says he frequently hears me say, “Just let me finish this chapter and then I will [fill in the blank].” I also regularly volunteer at the Detroit Zoo in the butterfly garden; I love working with the visitors and never get tired of seeing a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. I’m also a member of a women’s club that raises money for college scholarships for students graduating from our local high school.

Do you have any pets?
Two cats rule our house: Zoe (a princess) and Ozzie (a talkative lap cat). So stereotypical of a librarian!

What have you been reading lately?
For non-fiction, I recently read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, an excellent book about race in America. If you haven’t read this title, I highly recommend it. For fiction, I am in the middle of the Richard Bolitho series by Alexander Kent. The novels follow a British naval officer as he rises through the ranks from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. The series is similar to the Aubrey-Maturin naval series by Patrick O’Brian, made popular by the film Master and Commander starring Russell Crowe. I’ve always been interested in naval fiction from this time period, don’t ask me why!

Making human connections through living, breathing books!

The Mardigian Library, along with Student Government, will host our first Living Library on Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Berkowitz Gallery on the library’s third floor. Stop by and enjoy a short conversation with a living book—a volunteer student, staff or faculty member who would like to share an interesting life experience or perspective.

You can also sign up online by Jan. 26 to be a living book yourself! Some of the living book titles include: “Being Part of a Biracial Family,” “The Challenges of Visual Impairment” and “Persevering Through Life’s Ups and Downs.”

Whether participating as a living book or as a reader, you will no doubt benefit from great conversations that will open your eyes to new people and experiences. Come check us out!

For questions, please contact Joan Martin ( or Nadine Anderson (

e-Book Updates

Archaeology’s Footprints in the Modern World by Michael B. Schiffer (The University of Utah Press, ©2017)

Archaeologists help us understand our human past, play crucial roles in developing techniques to investigate climate change, manage cultural resources, gather critical forensic evidence, and testify in court. This book provides readers with an understanding of what it is that archaeologists do and why they do it. Shiffer draws from 42 case studies and five decades of research in order to demonstrate the value of archaeological research to present-day society.

Convention Center Follies: Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities by Heywood T. Sanders (University of Pennsylvania Press, ©2014)

Why do cities keep building convention centers? Is it to encourage community-wide economic growth? In the last 20 years, there has been a boom in convention center development in American cities. Developers and supporters of building convention centers promise new jobs, private development, and new tax revenues. Cities across the country have invested in more convention center space, but the return on these investments has been limited. Urban development expert Heywood Sanders exposes the forces behind convention center development. He provides an analysis of development forecasts, and how they have been manipulated by business leaders in order to reshape land values and development in the downtown core.

The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter by Katherine Freese (Princeton University Press, ©2014)

Ordinary atoms make up only five percent of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The rest of the universe is made up of what physicists call dark matter and dark energy. Theoretical physicist Katherine Freese tells the story of the hunt for dark matter from the time the term was first used in 1933 to present data gathering from the Hadron Collider, underground laboratories, and satellites.

Equality On Trial: Gender and Rights in the Modern American Workplace by Katherine Turk (University of Pennsylvania Press, ©2016)

Workplace discrimination based on sex, race, and religion were outlawed by Congress as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). This book examines the history and effects over time of Title VII’s sex provision. Though everyone had high hopes for Title VII, attempts to enforce it were difficult and inconsistent. The law was ambiguous enough for narrow interpretations of sex equality to take hold. Some found ways to bend the law’s meanings to their benefit, but the law did allow for some women to break through barriers in the workplace.

The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost by Donna Freitas (Oxford University Press, ©2017)

With all the attention on sexting, cyberbullying, narcissism, and misogyny, it would appear that social media is creating a generation of self-obsessed people. Not so, according to author Donna Freitas who believes these fears are drawing attention away from the real issues young people face today. Frietas surveyed and interviewed students on 13 college campuses and found that what students are really concerned about is happiness. Students discuss the pressure they feel to look absolutely perfect online. For the most part, they don’t want to share everything and worry about what unflattering parts of themselves may become public. Frietas explores the love-hate relationship that these students have with their phones and apps. She presents a far different reality than the attention-grabbing stories in the news dominating the discussion about social media today.

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