Even before his decision to become a librarian, libraries were a special place for Jose Rodriguez.
“When I started college, I didn’t speak much English,” said Rodriguez, who moved with his family from Manatí, Puerto Rico, to Tampa, Fla., as a high school graduate in 2000. He enrolled in English as a second language (ESL) courses while a freshman at Hillsborough Community College.
“While learning a new language, adapting and learning a new culture, I always felt comfortable at the library,” he said. “It was the library where I met my first friends, and it was a place where I did all my studying.”
While a undergraduate, Rodriguez secured a career services student assistantship in his college library. There, he cultivated relationships with librarians and learned more about their roles in higher education. The experience sparked his plan to pursue his own career as a librarian, helping students in the same manner.
In 2017, Rodriguez earned his master’s degree in library and information science from the University of South Florida and eventually worked his way up to library coordinator at Hillsborough Community College. He joined Georgia State in November 2019.
“Working at a two-year community college for almost 20 years provided me with the rewarding experience of working with undergraduates and their goals,” he said. “For me, students on their first two years of college are sometimes still trying to decide what degree they want to pursue. I think it is a very important period where I, as a librarian, could not only help with their upcoming assignments but also converse with them and find out more about their passions.”
As the Honors College’s library liaison, Rodriguez guides honors students and faculty through databases, catalogs, primary sources, bibliographic citations, technology and any other authoritative source that will contribute to their research. He encourages honors students to call or email him when they need assistance, but he prefers in-person appointments so he can learn more about their research topics and questions.