Q&A with Allison Jimenez, RC Director of Library Services
This is the first in a series of the people who make Rochester College what it is. These employees serve behind the scenes, but are crucial to the operations of the college.
By Joseph Pavone-Chadwick
Q: Describe what you do on a typical day.
A: Well it varies every day. Sometimes I work at the front desk. I guess my typical day consists of working on the budget for the library, helping students if they need help, answering any reference questions by IM chat or person-to-person, fixing any computer issues that students may have, and trying to find possible resources that our students might benefit from. For example, I might have to look into specific databases for the business program or the communications program. My job is to oversee library operations so trying to figure out if there might be a new resource we can use here in the library. Also, I handle the business, psychology, sports management, sociology, social work and nursing topics for students. My day might also consist of me working on developing the collection or trying to figure out some books you might want to order from the library. Every day it varies on what needs to happen. And also as far as the budget goes, I pay bills for the library that need to be paid, such as our newspapers and our databases. I also figure out student library assistants’ schedules. It varies.
Q: What brought you to RC and why do you choose to work here?
A: Well I started at RC about 5 1/2 years ago. I graduated with my master’s in library science from Wayne State University. A job posting showed up at Rochester College and I was still in grad school, but I was due to graduate, so I applied for the job and I got the position! And I have been here ever since.
Q: What’s the easiest and hardest part of your job? Why? And is your job more difficult or easier at certain parts of the year?
A: One of the easiest parts is working with the students because they’re excellent. They are phenomenal. They’re very respectful. They do get frustrated with our computers, but they are usually understanding that we are trying to help them. Working with the students and helping them is one of the easier parts of my job. A harder part is determining what resources we should collect or what is top priority. We have a budget for the library and determining what can we afford to get this year and what do we not get this year is crucial. Even though we would love to get a ton of resources for the students, it’s hard to narrow it down to what specific thing we should get for them.
During the summer is a little bit easier because we do not have a lot of traffic in the library. We have classes going on, but not as many as we do during the fall or the spring semesters. So it slows down and we can buckle down and work on some projects that need to be done.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Working with the students and the staff that I have is the most rewarding. Everyone here at Rochester College is so friendly and welcoming. I think it’s a very unique place to work. I don’t think you’re going to find a similar place like this when you’re out in the work world. And my staff is excellent! We can joke around with each other so they make my job easier.
Q: What do you do outside your job to stay sane, relieve stress, etc.? What are your hobbies?
A: I have two big dogs, so my husband and I will take them for walks. Playing with them definitely relieves some stress. I have a German shepherd and a Bernese Mountain dog. They just provide me a sense of companionship. They’re fun to be around. I also go to church. I go to Kensington Church in Troy. I’m quite boring.
Q: Where did you grow up? Describe.
A: I grew up in Troy, Michigan, so I lived right down the road from here. I actually have lived in Troy most of my life. I went to the elementary and middle school in the area as well as Troy High School. Then I went to Grand Valley State University. Growing up I spent 18 years in Troy, moved to the west side of state for my undergrad, and then I came back here!
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in the Rochester area? Or in Michigan?
A: I like to visit different food places. I haven’t done it as much as I would like to. Over the weekend, my husband and I went to a restaurant in downtown Detroit. It’s called Grand Trunk Pub. It looks basically like an old railway station. It’s quite beautiful. The architecture, the ceilings, and the character of the pub itself was really cool. I like experiencing different food. I went with some of my friends to The Blue Nile, which has Ethiopian food.
Q: What is your most prized possession?
A: Can I pick two? My dogs! I didn’t grow up with dogs, and I have had these dogs for over a year so they’re very important to me. When you walk in the door, they are so happy to see you. It’s like you are the best thing in the world to them. Even if you left for five minutes and then came back, they’re just excited to see you. They don’t care what you look like. They just love you for who you are.
Q: What is your most embarrassing moment?
A: I did throw up in school once. I don’t feel like that’s too embarrassing, but for me as a young kid, it was. I can’t think of anything that has happened recently that was embarrassing.
Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
A: This job has been challenging, but good. I don’t know if I would consider it an obstacle, but it’s been a big area of growth for me. Learning how to manage people, manage my time, and having to oversee the whole library has definitely been a learning experience for me. It’s been difficult, but overall it’s been positive.
Q: Who was your biggest influence?
A: I would have to say my husband. He didn’t grow up in the United States. He didn’t grow up with much and seeing how he has grown as a person and a lot of the obstacles he has had to overcome throughout his childhood and even during college is very inspiring to me. He grew up in the Dominican Republic, and his mom worked two jobs and his dad worked too. Sometimes he would go hungry for lunch, so his brothers could eat. I didn’t grow up that way; I grew up very privileged so for me that is very inspiring. The sacrifices (especially financially) he was willing to make to better himself and knowing that in the end it would be better for him is amazing.