Profiles in IT: Sanam Arab—Community servant

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Sanam Arab is the manager of Technology Library for LSA Technology Services. She and her team provide access, development, and management of loanable technology equipment. She also oversees the use of several spaces that include collaboration rooms, audio visual editing suites, advance videocasting studio, and computer classrooms. Arab is deeply motivated by service, and strives to bring a positive impact to her communities, both through her work and in her volunteer activities. 

How did you get into this type of work?

I started working at the U-M Library as a student staff member while I was an undergraduate in the LSA History of Art department. After graduating in 2007, I became a full time employee at the Library and pursued an MSI degree with the U-M School of Information for Archives and Records Management and Rackham’s Museums Studies Program. After I earned my masters degree, I was promoted to a supervisor, and eventually became an access services librarian. I joined LSA in 2015 to oversee the Equipment Loan and Circulation Service, now called the Technology Library, which is part of LSA Technology Services. 

How does your work impact the university?

My work directly relates to the teaching and learning mission of the university. At the LSA Technology Library, we provide over 1,500 pieces of equipment for circulation to our faculty, students, and staff for their teaching, learning, work, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities and projects. We provide our services from three Central Campus locations: Mason Hall, MLB Media Center, and LSA Addition. In MLB Media Center, our patrons have access to not only equipment, but also collaboration rooms, audio visual editing suites, advance videocasting studio and computer classrooms. We also provide classroom information both physically in the rooms and through the Classroom Database making it easier for our patrons to better know the room they work, teach, and learn in before and during use. 

Tell us about something you’re proud of. 

I volunteered as an associate producer on the documentary Me the Other. Over 200 volunteers came together to make this documentary featuring the lives of 12 students from U-M, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College. It “set out to tell stories of prejudice, equality, and diversity and discovered that ‘otherness’ is never one thing.” After the success of the movie, the U-M Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has funded and made available the educational cut of the movie for free to the U-M Community to watch until August 2021 (watch the movie through MiVideo). 

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

Working with my team brings me to work and motivates every day. They are amazing experts in their field and the level of engagement, problem solving, and innovation is wonderful to watch and amazing to be a part of. Alongside my team, the dedicated colleagues and the work we do to meet the mission of the LSA bring joy to me every day.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your work?

My approach is finding opportunities rather than challenges. The great opportunity I saw when I joined LSA in 2015 was to bring best practices of library and museum collection management and access, and combine them with best practices of information and instructional technology. I still find that opportunity exciting every day. 

What do you do for fun?

I have a passion for connecting communities with the arts and museums. I was a member of and chaired Dexter’s Arts, Culture and Heritage committee, and currently serve on the Board of Directors of Michigan Museums Association and advocate at federal and state level for museums and cultural organizations. I also serve as a Council Member for the City of Dexter. Even though serving the community in various capacities is always fun, I also like to build with Legos, and experiment with new cooking techniques and baked goods. 

Related: LSA Technology Services InPerson: Meet Sanam Arab

Author: D. Stephanie Dascola, ITS Communications

Stephanie is a marketing and communications specialist senior on the ITS Communications team. Contact her at sdascola@umich.edu.