Bob Heath, Assistant Director, Customer Service and Administration

As a member of the Leadership Team, I contribute to strategic planning, program development, evaluation, and allocation of resources in support of the library’s mission. I supervise three library coordinators and the library administrative assistant, and am responsible for a part-time staff of 70 student employees. I provide positive leadership and serve as an advocate for the team, assesses current and future customer needs and plans and implement improvements to service. I also plan and lead marketing management initiatives and am involved with day-to-day promotional activities.

1. Describe yourself in 3 words.

disciplined, diplomatic, kind

2. What do you value most about your work?  

I really enjoy developing our student employees. Some of this is training them to do the work. Beyond that, I enjoy coaching these young people into mature attitudes and patterns of workplace behavior. Watching them mature over 3-4 years and being able to write strong recommendations for them is a real joy.

I also enjoy projects that require cooperation and collaboration between departments, within the library, or across campus, I enjoy the complexity of negotiation and compromise, the teamwork, the careful practice of communication, to get things, bigger things than any of us individually might get done, done.

3. When not at work, what three activities do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy canoeing. I particularly like canoe camping.

Since I do a lot of it, I must enjoy it and that is working on my house – two rooms to go.

I enjoy computer games. I like well-written stories, stories where player choices change the end game. On the other hand, open world online multiplayer environments where players create content and interact (politics, economics, and combat) are equally interesting. It is not that I am particularly good at them but they are fascinating none-the-less.

4. What are your reading/watching/listening to?

I am currently listening to Alabama Shakes. Jack White from the White Strips era is a go to listen as well. After that, it is a bunch of nostalgia from the 80’s, The Police, The Cars, Peter Gabriel, and Talking Heads.

I watch the Voice avidly through the semi-finals. I like to see the performers develop and take risks. I of course watch the finale but rarely care about “the winner.” I enjoy watching Blake and Pharrell coach I believe they have a real aptitude for talent recognition and development, Adam has a winning record, but I have watched him make the same mistakes repeatedly; Gwen was a real, positive, surprise for me.

I read recently Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Prachett, and some of the Fables graphic novels by Bill Willingham. I enjoy the recasting of myths and fairytales out of time and place – magical realism. I am a fan of the picaresque genre in modern situations, Tom Robbins, Hunter S. Thompson, Carl Hiaasen, for examples.

5. In your own words…

I am starting to develop some new skills, I am interested to learn about and practice grant writing and grant administration. I have picked up two books on these topics “The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need” and “Grant Management: Funding for Public and Nonprofit Programs.” I have discovered a couple training available to us here on campus: Grant Writing for Education and Writing Proposals. I am also shopping week-long training programs. I think our practice of writing project charters here in the libraries is good foundation. Likewise, an aspect of these charters is thinking about and planning how we will operationalize these projects, when appropriate, once they are out of the pilot phase. Probably, to develop a resume I will have to work as a volunteer for a couple of proposals.