Paula Mello1. Tell us about yourself and your role as the head librarian of UFRJ, Brazil.

I am a librarian with a Master’s degree in Science Information and I am currently completing my PhD in History of Science. I work in Brazil’s largest national university, The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) where I coordinate the Library Information System across UFRJ’s 45 libraries that contain almost 4 million items in the entire collection. It is a rewarding job with a constant aim of improving library services and content as well as developing staff.

2. How does your institution support the discovery of content and are you considering any new routes such as Open Access?

Our libraries have a searchable online catalog where details of content and collections are all logged. The university also has access to a large periodical portal, which is now a fundamental tool for Brazilian scientific research providing its users with access to more than 35,000 titles including electronic journals, reference databases, e-books and open access sources amongst others. Most magazines edited by our University now have free access which is a growing trend.

3. How has your role and the library developed over the past years and how do you see those evolving in the future?

I am one of the professionals who have had the opportunity to experience major changes in libraries and the role of the librarian in regards of the evolution of information technology. I experienced computerization and the advent of the internet so I am attentive to the latest innovations. Our investments have been in improving services to users and their ability to be able to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media.

It is essential that libraries now work cooperatively and collaboratively. Our libraries participate in several national networks of technical origin and theme. These cooperative networks promote not only good opportunities for the exchange of professional expertise but also result in gains regarding the rationalization of resources and time.

4. Lastly, tell us what is important to you as a librarian working in today’s academic society where digital information is widely available, and how this may make your role even more important today?

We have the responsibility of promoting the establishment of information policies and preserve sources digitally, which involves the care of physical material according to the appropriate technical treatment, scanning, supply and custody of files. It is important to be able to implement this policy. At the same time, the university library is the soul of the campus, a place to read, search, study as well as companionship. Its role is academic and social.

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