After 47 years of service to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries, Tom McFarland, staff development program officer, is retiring. A virtual celebration is scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 4. Register to receive the Zoom link and well-wishes can be shared on a message board in advance of the celebration.
McFarland started on Jan. 25, 1975, as the assistant in the Serials Records Department and over the years continued to serve the libraries in various positions such as the circulation desk manager in 1985, and the head of microforms and photocopy services in the 1990s. In 2003, McFarland was appointed as the libraries staff development program officer, a position for which he credits former Dean Joan Giesecke, who gave him the opportunity to help the libraries establish a successful staff development program.
“I had the privilege of working on many interesting projects and working with many wonderful colleagues,” McFarland said. “From my first major project on the libraries’ first integrated library system, to one of my most recent projects, that of helping select furniture for both the learning commons, it is great to look back and see the positive impact these projects had on students and the libraries.”
McFarland is proud to have served on the planning committee for the Adele Coryell Hall Learning Commons and felt that its addition had a positive impact on students and enhanced the libraries’ brand.
McFarland established the monthly discussion series, “Genealogy over Lunch,” for Nebraska faculty, staff, emeriti and students with colleague Joan Barnes, communications and outreach librarian. The program successfully transitioned during the last two years to a virtual meeting, which tripled attendance. His initial goal was to demonstrate how the resources of the libraries can support family history research. Now the group discusses all types of genealogical topics.
While working at Nebraska, McFarland received his master’s degree in library science in 1996 through Emporia State University. He has published papers and chapters with colleagues including a paper on the mentoring of the library student assistants with Charlene Maxey-Harris, associate dean of libraries and Jean Cross (University of Illinois); a paper on the British parliamentary series published in RQ, and a chapter on genealogy in academic libraries with Barnes.
Over the last 47 years, McFarland has experienced many changes in the University Libraries including the expansion of the collection in print and digital formats. He witnessed the addition of each millionth book from the first to the third.
His plan for retirement includes continuing his genealogical research, renovation of his kitchen, brushing up on his Spanish language skills, and traveling.