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University Libraries

Know Thy Staff: An Interview with a Digital Projects Manager

By Cristin Bushnell '21

This interview is part of a series produced by student staff members in the University Libraries.

Have you ever wondered about all of those rare books, sculptures, photographs and collections that made their way onto the University’s online archive called eCommons?

What about all those posters for the Stander Symposium?

Ryan O’Grady completes many different tasks in the University Libraries. You may not see him in action, but behind the scenes, he holds a crucial role as the digital project manager. Ryan digitizes items from the University Archives and Special Collections, the U.S. Catholic Special Collection, the Marian Library and other library collections. A typical workday for him is capturing images of small statues, artworks, and rare books. He spends the rest of his time editing images for upload, supervising students and attending meetings for various committees. On some occasions, he shoots pictures at library events, and one of his most time-consuming projects of every year is printing the posters for Stander Symposium. 

From books to bytes

Ryan received his bachelor’s degree in electronic media from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He started out working as a shelver at the Cincinnati Public Library downtown in the Children's Learning Center. A few years later, when the library created a digital services department, he joined it and has loved the field of digital services ever since. Ryan found his way to UD after working at Wright State University for five years. He stated that he has loved working at UD for its variety of content among the libraries, friendly co-workers, beautiful campus and of course, the feeling of community. 

Personal favorites: Sports, music, family

Outside of the library, Ryan enjoys watching sports, specifically the Cincinnati Reds baseball team and the Cincinnati Bengals football team. (Do you see a common theme here?)

When asked about his favorite artist, he said Patti Smith, an American singer-songwriter, author and poet. If he had to choose a favorite character, it would be between Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Both are great characters in the comic strip Peanuts. Next I asked him, “Who would you most like to sit next to on a 10-hour flight?” This took him some time to ponder. I mean, really, who thinks of these kinds of questions? He later answered his wife, Heather, and his kiddos, Emma and Finnegan, because they are the funniest and coolest that he knows! (Cue the “aws.”)

Something for everyone

Finishing up this interview, I asked Ryan one thing he wishes people knew about the library. He said all that it has to offer! There is something for everyone in Roesch Library, the Marian Library, the U.S. Catholic Special Collection, and the University Archives and Special Collections. Even if they don’t know it! For the sports fans, the Miriam Jacobs Baseball Collection has rare and valuable player cards among other items that are held within the University Archives and Special Collections. For art lovers, the Marian Library has new exhibits and collections all year round. There are also collections for everyone in between. 

I enjoyed meeting and interviewing Ryan and learning about what he does in the library. I now have much more of an appreciation for everything he does that the public eye does not see. Thank you for everything you do for the UD community, Ryan!

— Cristin Bushnell of Enon, Ohio, is a junior middle childhood education/intervention specialist major and a Roesch Library student employee.

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