Staff ID - Rob O'Connell

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Learn more about the Director of Discovery and Access and science fiction enthusiast.

Rob O'Connell, Director of Discovery & Access


As the director of Discovery & Access for the Smith libraries, Rob O’Connell is in charge of facilitating one of the most popular library activities: finding stuff. The rather new department encompasses several key areas including cataloging, circulation, electronic resources, interlibrary loan, preparations, and acquisitions spanning the four Smith libraries. As the head of this far-flung group of staff, Rob endeavors to bring these services together to make searching and accessing library resources easier for our patrons. He has already made a big impact by developing a user-friendly browse for our DVD collection – both online and in the stacks.

We welcomed Rob to the Smith libraries in September of 2013. His previous position was at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where he was the Head of Technical Services. Originally from Maine, it is perhaps those roots that enable Rob to endure the winter polar vortex after having worked in a climate of the exact opposite extreme!

We asked Rob to tell us a little more about himself.

Which library resource do you most like to tell people about?

My favorite thing to explain is the DVD browse. It takes something that is often difficult, like finding DVDs, and displays them in a format people are now used to: Netflix.

What are you reading right now? What’s good about it?

I’m reading Leviathan Wakes by James Corey. I happen to love epic space operas, and this series is about as epic as you can get. It does such a good job of merging space travel with a mystery that it is hard to put down.

What is your favorite book from your childhood, and why?

Ender’s Game [by Orson Scott Card]. It was the first science fiction story I read and I liked it so much that when I finished it, I started over from the beginning. Over the years I’ve gone back and read this book multiple times, and each time I pick up something new.

What is your favorite getaway, near or far?

I love going to Turkey. Out of all the trips I have taken, Turkey ranks the highest on the list. Not only is the architecture amazing, but it is the only place I know that you can go from Europe to Asia in about five minutes. A close second on my list is South Africa, which has amazing scenery and wonderful food.

What is currently in your iPod/DVD Drive/DVR/Netflix queue?

In my Apple TV queue is Sabotage. I have a fondness for 80s action stars, so whenever one of them releases a movie, Arnold in this case, I force myself to watch it. In close second is Oculus, which I hear does some justice to the horror movie genre.

Rob can be found in the Technical Services area of Neilson Library when he is not walking around to other library departments for meetings. Stop by and say “hi”!


Rob O'Connell
Director of Discovery & Access