Science librarian thrives in collaborative environment

Librarian Benjamin Toon Science Librarian Benjamin Toon has passed along his affinity for technology to his children: "Zoe, 14, is my Internet meme expert and Jake, 11, loves electronic games."

As a youngster, librarian Benjamin Toon wanted to be a paleontologist. His later exposure to the day's innovative electronics also shaped his future career.

"Growing up my parents encouraged me to use technology, including an early TI calculator (1976) for Christmas, an Atari 2600 (1979), a TI 99/4A (1981) and a Hyundai PC-XT (1986)," he recalls.

Now Toon's lifelong interests merge in his role as Science Research Librarian at Fondren Library Center. In addition to "general duties like working at the reference desk," he serves as a program liaison between CUL and the Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Engineering Management, Information and Systems programs.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in history from the University of Texas at Arlington and earned a Master's degree in information science from the University of North Texas. Before joining SMU in July 2011, Toon was a market research analyst with Fujitsu Network Communications in Richardson, where he also acted as a corporate librarian.

"For years I've been the sole information professional in an organization, so it's great working at SMU Libraries with people who have similar missions of supporting students, faculty and staff with the best information resources possible," he says.

He also worked previously for Alcatel in sales and marketing and as a library director for DeVry University at Dallas.

"It was at DeVry that I caught the 'teaching bug' and the desire to instruct students led me to consider working at SMU," he says.

Classroom training on the use of library resources, as well as collection development and outreach to engineering faculty, are among the services he provides as a program liaison.

The shift from the corporate world to the realm of higher education has been a fulfilling transition, Toon says.

"I love working in a collaborative environment with my peers and supervisors," he says. "We share ideas on improving our services, and it gives me an opportunity to learn from some great people as well as share what I've learned over the years."