The Spotlight is an occasional feature that will profile a Libraries staff member.
Mark Sellan joined WU Libraries as manager of systems administration and networking in 2013 and became head of Library Technology Services in July 2015. Mark has worked in academic and library circles for the better part of his 23-year career, starting with Special Collections at Ohio State as an undergraduate and then serving in various roles for the Online Computer Library Center and the Missouri Library Network Corporation. Prior to coming to WU Libraries, Mark headed St. Louis Community College’s administrative systems central IT unit.
Tell us about your job.
I’m going to quote my manager, Chris Freeland, who recently introduced me to a colleague at MoHIST via e-mail and summarized my role by saying, “Mark manages all of the Libraries’ tech, from desktops to servers, and the teams of people associated with both.” My job is to make sure that the technology in the Libraries serves the needs of everyone who uses it. Most of my time is spent on activities like strategic planning, technology evaluation, project management, advocacy, and consulting, but sometimes I still write code, configure servers, and troubleshoot broken stuff.
What do you like best about your job?
I like having new, unknown challenges come at me every day. Also, having the opportunity to help people with a wide variety of technology needs and issues is really fulfilling.
Are there any exciting projects on your plate right now?
There are a number of great projects going on. We are testing Windows 10 to roll out to all public and staff computers in the near future. We’re replacing the Libraries’ current main disk storage array, which is a monumental task. It’s in place, and we’re working to develop a method to safely transfer all of the data from the existing array with as little interruption as possible. We’re also gearing up to replace the Libraries’ streaming reserves platform with a solution that’s a little more seamless for patrons.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m very interested in the place where art and technology come together, so I have a number of technology-art projects going on, including building a 3D zoetrope, an RGB 8x8x8 LED cube, an SN76477-based analog synthesizer, and a fully lit, as-close-to-the-original-as-possible model of the starship Enterprise. I also love baking, working in my garden, and spending quality time with my husband, Court, and our five cats.
What are you reading now?
1) Motors for Makers: A Guide to Steppers, Servos, and Other Electrical Machines by Matthew Scarpino 2) Raspberry Pi LED Blueprints by Agus Kurniawan 3) Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Could the Empire Kick the Federation’s Ass? and Other Galaxy-Shaking Enigmas by Matt Forbeck