Staff Spotlight - Jerry Yarnetsky

Where are you originally from? What's your educational background?

Growing up in Buffalo, New York, I’ll forever be a Sabres and Bills fan, but I’ve also lived here in Butler County, southern Indiana and suburban Philadelphia. I finished my B.A. in English/journalism here at Miami University. After a decade in newspaper journalism, I discovered librarianship and earned a Master of Library Science from Indiana University.

How would you describe your position at the Miami Libraries?

Our team develops the University Libraries’ online services including developing a new library website. Stay tuned! Your input can help make it great!

What drew you to work in a library environment? Why did you choose the Miami Libraries?

For me, it’s all about service. As a journalist, I was serving my community, but oft-times you never find out if your work helps make change. While I found librarianship sheerly by chance, I quickly fell in love with how libraries can directly serve the specific needs of every person who walks in the door and truly help them improve their lives. Having experienced Miami firsthand, the opportunity to help more students thrive here was one I had to snag.

What's the best part of working in a library?

Learning something new every day. I’ve learned so much from the people I have helped. Everyone is researching something unique.

What's one thing you wish college students knew about using a library?

This doesn’t apply just to libraries, I use it in every facet of life – ask questions. Ask lots of questions because the answers give you power to up your game and truly enjoy life. Sometimes asking can feel like a risk, but you’ll learn so much more about research, your coursework, and even fun stuff like places to eat amazing food.

What are you most excited about tackling in your new role?

Much of research today is conducted online, which makes the library website one of the most important experiences the University Libraries have to get right. One of the fascinating challenges of this will be making this experience accessible using any technology, from phones to screen reading software.

What's your favorite book? What book character would you most like to be?

With too many to count, I’ll go with my favorite series as a kid – “Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators.” The middle school detectives solved the craziest mysteries through brains, research, and bravery. As a kid, I would have done anything to be the fourth detective on the team. I rediscovered the books as a librarian and was surprised with how well they hold up.

Any hobbies?

I’ve been drawing comics and studying comic history since I was a kid. I can’t say I was ever great at cartooning, but I still enjoy doodling when I get the chance. I also enjoy road tripping, design, architecture, history and leveraging technology to tell stories.

What's something people don't know about you that might surprise them?

The fact I’d do about anything to help in the library might not surprise, but here is what might. My first library where I worked was hosting a huge kids program. The librarian’s husband usually helped with these programs, but he fell ill. As a result, the next thing I knew, I was dressed up in a head-to-toe Cat in the Hat costume entertaining the kids. Other than a trio of boys who insisted on pulling my tail I actually had a blast. Over the next few years, they had me appearing as Curious George, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and a few other characters whose names I’ve since forgotten. Yes, those costumes are freaking hot.