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Librarian Teague Orblych remembered as a master at connecting people with information

March 5, 2018

The longtime social sciences librarian and research education coordinator died Feb. 15.

Teague Orblych led a group of students at the library. Sitting in a circle, they were having a lively conversation that was full of laughter. As Director of Annual Giving Eva Gogola walked by on her way to a meeting, she took a mental note.

“That’s Teague. He was just the coolest, most genuine guy. And an awesome teacher—I know that from when I was a student worker in the library many moons ago,” said Gogola, a 2004 graduate. “I saw him having a good time doing what he loved. It’s how I’ll always remember him.”

Orblych, 48, died Feb. 15.

As the social sciences librarian, Orblych provided research services and library instruction to students and faculty. He also was the library’s research education coordinator. He worked in Mardigian Library for 17 years.

“He said he was going to retire from here,” said Library Research Center Head Librarian Carla Brooks, who hired Orblych. “I would have liked that. He was fantastic to work with—always responsive and helpful. I miss him. I miss the smell of coffee in the morning. I knew when Teague was in because I could smell the coffee brewing from his office.”

Orblych appreciated life’s simple things, Gogola said. Like drinking that cup of black coffee to start his day, cheering on his Detroit Tigers or coming across interesting information at the library.

When he discovered new and interesting things, it went into his brown work journal. Gogola said the journal also was for things like brainstorming ideas or how to best approach finding a solution to a challenge.

“He had the journal with him all the time. One day I asked him, ‘What’s in there, man?’ Gogola said. “He said, ‘As a librarian, I see a lot of cool things. I need to remember so I can share them later.’ Teague had access to a lot of knowledge and wanted to retain it until he found the right time to put it out there.”

Gogola said Orblych was a master at connecting people with information and had a knack of knowing what people needed—at times, even before they did.

“He was a great teacher and brought out talents that I didn’t even know I had. I started working at the library as a student because I heard it paid the best. But through his training and his friendship, he opened my mind to the library sciences as a career aspiration; one I was excited about pursuing.,” said Gogola, who serves as a librarian at the Southfield Public Library in addition to her work in annual giving. “He even helped me with the graduate school process and finding a graduate assistantship. Teague was just an authentic guy who wanted to inspire us and to help us with the information he had at his fingertips. It’s what he loved to do and he was good at it.“

Gogola is currently organizing a Teague Orblych Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“He was all about helping students. And with something like this, he’ll be able to do that in perpetuity,” she said. If you would like to join this effort to honor Teague's memory, please contact Eva at 313-593-5495 or egronows@umich.edu.

The library also is planning a way to honor Orblych. They are organizing a memorial service for later this semester.

Brooks said after Orblych’s passing, faculty, students, staff, alumni and librarian colleagues everywhere shared the impact Orblych had on them.

“As I was reading the messages, which keep coming in, I saw the impact Teague made on so many people. I knew he was great at what he did, but we don’t always know the affect we have on others,” Brooks said. “I hope Teague knew that we all valued and cared for him as much as he did for us.”

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